If you are a journalist or hoping to become one, you want to write stories that capture people’s attention. But here is the catch. Even if you write an engaging piece, your potential readers might have trouble finding it in the saturated internet space. Yet, knowing and applying the best SEO practices can change the situation completely.
If you doubt that SEO journalism is a thing, you should hear this – a news story among the top three Google results can get up to 54% more clicks. Search engine optimization makes your content rank higher, which gives it more visibility, and drives more traffic to the source. But when you first start, SEO seems like it’s too much. Where do you even begin? To help you with that, today we’ll see the essential parts of SEO for journalists and give you practical tips on how to learn it faster.
SEO for Journalists: Is it Important?
Imagine if you’re an artist performing in an empty hall. Sounds frustrating, doesn’t it? But the same happens with journalists who spend hours, days, or even months on a story and get no readers. It happens more often than you might think, as 75% of people will never click past the first search page. But how do you get to those top results? By using SEO for news sites.
Often, SEO gets neglected by journalists simply because it might get overwhelming. But as soon as you start applying optimization strategies, you’ll never go back to writing content the old way. Of course, when you just begin, you have no idea about the true cost of a powerful backlink or a guest post. You might not even know what it is. And it is fine. We’ve all been there. The only thing you should understand is that SEO is important in the digital world, and it isn’t as complicated as it might seem.
What’s Special About the SEO for News Sites?
SEO for news sites works differently from traditional SEO. One reason for this is that information they publish is constantly changing. What was news now can quickly become outdated in days or even hours, at least for most content. This incredibly short lifespan of stories makes SEO journalism more complex than regular optimization. Yet, when you take the time to understand the nuances and properly implement them, you can expect to see tangible, measurable results in the performance of your digital source.
A news website that has a high search rank also has more authority. People trust it more and see it as a credible source. This also translates to a growth in organic traffic for your page, bringing you more subscribers. Besides, the monetization potential of your site also increases. One of the ways to grow your revenue is by incorporating paywalls into your news platform.
How to Learn SEO Journalism Easier?
It can take months to learn SEO and even longer to see results if you do not fully understand how to implement its tactics. So, we compiled some tips to make it easier for you to master your SEO journalism.
Learn the Basics
Mastering any concept requires learning the basics first. At the heart of all SEO practices lays user experience. But how do you translate this goal or intention into actionable steps that the algorithm can understand? Let’s paint a picture. People are constantly searching for something on the internet. In fact, search engine usage makes up 93% of all web traffic. Search engines are continually crawling (i.e., scanning) the web for content that answers these searches. But thousands of similar content pieces are left floating around the internet without traffic.
To succeed in SEO journalism, you must understand how to craft content that search engines can crawl, index, and rank. For this, you need a combination of on-site and off-site optimization. You should start by discovering the following:
- Keyword research. First, you need to know what words your audience searches for on the internet. This is the process of keyword research. Knowing relevant keywords is crucial not only for articles but also for social media. Even for Instagram – which is primarily a visual network – SEO can offer many benefits.
- Comply with Google News policies. Ensure your content doesn’t violate Google News guidelines to have more chances of being featured in Google News. Besides, always keep in mind the EEAT (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) concept. It refers to the fact that Google prioritizes unique and valuable content.
- On-site optimization. Fix up your layout and architecture to make it easy for visitors and search engines to understand the content on your web pages. Use keywords in your title, subheadings, and H2/H3. Remember that images and charts can improve the readers’ engagement. And if you have many pages, be sure to categorize them and keep navigation simple.
Dive Into Technical SEO
Even a basic understanding of technical SEO can help improve your site’s rankings. For this part, your focus should be on your site architecture and improving the crawl speed. No one wants to hang around waiting for content to load, so keep an eye on your website speed. Ensure that your page is mobile-friendly. Besides, always check the Google technical policies to see what you should do for better search ranking. And don’t forget to keep up with Google algorithm updates to get the desired SEO views.
Try Testing SEO Tools
You can simplify SEO journalism by using professional software. How do you find the right fit? Think of it as taking on a new employee. You’d do your search, ask for personal and professional references, send out a test task, and set a trial period. You can do the same. Check reviews on different SEO tools, choose the one that suits your needs, and apply the trial-and-error approach.
You can also start by checking the most popular SEO software like Google Search Console, Moz, and Semrush. These tools can help you through different stages of your content creation journey. You can use them to check what people are searching for, plan your content, audit your site, and track your page’s performance.
How Can You Start Using SEO Journalism Practices Right Away?
Learning more about SEO journalism today can be as vital as following the news or mastering language skills for journalists. Some of the steps above can take as little as a day or two to get to it. In the meantime, here are some simple optimization techniques for SEO journalism that you can use now:
- Headline. You can tweak your headlines and make them not only descriptive but also SEO-friendly. A good headline should contain your primary keyword. Plus, it’s best to keep it brief and interesting, but, as a journalist, you know it for sure.
- Meta description. This is what pops up on the search results and summarizes the page. Again, include relevant keywords as you capture the essence of the news article.
- URL. Descriptive links perform better. Do not use numbers and odd symbols. Also, consider how to incorporate keywords while keeping it brief and to the point.
- Images. High-quality and relevant pictures are a must for news sites. Adding alt tags, URLs, and captions (hint: sprinkle a keyword or two) can help it pop up in Google image search and help your overall rank score.
- Optimization for Featured Snippets. This is where the algorithm takes a slice of your article that best fits a search query. You can format your content using paragraphs, numbers, or bullet lists so it appears in the featured snippets section.
Most new sites that incorporate SEO journalism get to appear on the first page of search results. This is why search engine optimization is vital for journalists today. If you want more people to see your story, start using the practices you’ve learned today. And the results will make you want to master your SEO skills even further.