Any successful news website knows the importance of optimizing content for search. While their traffic is largely driven by digital subscriptions, the power of organic traffic cannot be discounted. This is especially true these days, as the coronavirus pandemic leaves people are hungry for real, reliable, and timely information.
But you don’t have to be a news website to use news SEO. Any company that wishes to publish coronavirus-related press releases and information can optimize news stories for Google. For example, you may want to publish a press release saying how the pandemic is affecting your business. Or you may want to blog about what measures your company is implementing going forward to protect your staff and your customers.
So how do you start?
It’s all in the headline
Back in 2006, Steve Lohr published a piece for The New York Time’s Ideas & Trends column. It was called, “This boring headline is written for Google,” and it talked about how news organizations—both large and small—have been experimenting with and tweaking their content to get better search engine placements.
The result? Headlines that sounded like they were written by a robot and human readers scratching their heads, trying to make sense of the words.
Thankfully, things these days aren’t as bad as they were. But when you’ve never done news SEO before, it’s easy to make this mistake.
When writing headlines, remember:
Search engines are logical and sequential left-brain readers while humans are right-brain readers. We aren’t governed by algorithms. And unlike search bots, we can actually recognize and appreciate irony, wit, humor, and style in writing.
So if you want to optimize your headlines, you have to cater to both Google bots and actual people.
Striking the right balance is key. Make your headline friendly to search engines without losing touch of your human audience—real people who are in search for every bit of information they can gather about the coronavirus crisis that’s been pounding on the world economy and life on earth as we know it.
Looking for keywords
According to Google, at least 15% of queries that users make daily are never-before-seen. Identifying these new search terms and incorporating them into your news content and stories is crucial—it’s the oldest trick in the SEO book and in the Google webmaster guidelines.
But how do you find these keywords?
News spoils quickly as new information comes along, so you need to move fast. Luckily, there are tools that will help you find the right words quickly.
One of the best ones out there is NewzDash, which enables publishers to track keyword rankings on Google News SERPs every 15, 30, or 60 minutes. It tracks thousands of publishers in Google News and generates reports on the different aspects of visibility of news text, images, rankings, etc.
Keep in mind that Google uses natural-language processing algorithms to scan headlines, titles, as well as the first hundred words (or so) of content. So if you want to cover the coronavirus pandemic in a blog or press release, this means you have to:
1. Conduct thorough keyword research to determine the most-searched words relating to virus, and
2. Include these keywords in your headline, titles, subtitles or subheads, as well as in the first few paragraphs.
Applying this SEO strategy will go a long way in reaching the very people you want your content to touch—whether they’re your customers, business partners and investors, or the general public. If you need doing this, contact us at SEOValley.