The topic for the first session on Day 2, that our team covered, was on “News Search Optimization”. The agenda of the session was “How to make use of press releases and news content to tap into the power of news search”.
- Dana Todd, CMO, Newsforce
- Brent Payne, SEO Director, Tribune, @BrentDPayne
- Allison Fabella, SEO & Social Media Manager, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, @alli12
- Topher Kohan, SEO Manager, CNN, @TopherATL
- Eleanor Hong, Lead Editor, SEO, ABCNews.com, @eleanorhong
Eleanor Hong, kicked-off the session talking about, what ABC News does on a daily basis. She said, they identify trends of the day to target for SEO. They look at the trending on Google Trends, Yahoo! Trends, Facebook and Twitter. This gives them a fair idea about the trend on that particular day and more importantly, what might be interesting. Breaking news on a media site are a great source for related future stories and for potential next day coverage. For example, in case of missing persons, people try to find out who the missing person is, where they live and whether they have been found. People generally read further stories from there. She gave another example, where ABC News, used search terms trending on the day of the first story on Bill Clinton’s health scare, for the follow-up story and it worked.
For all media types these tactics work quite well. Alike news stories, videos too have trends. The trick is to follow the metrics and identify the keywords and their variations. Doing stories or videos on these topics will certainly be profitable.
Differences between Web search and News search
Next speaker Allison Fabella, talked about organic SERPs and News search. She spoke about how news stories are categorized at story level, cued by keywords (location, subject, language) to get into Google and Yahoo! news.
What is required to be done to be in the SERPs:
- City or State should be mentioned at the beginning of the story
- The stories must be put in the relevant categories
- Use of basic SEO keywords is the best practice
Ranking depends on:
- Localness of the source
- Freshness – latest update of the story
- Quality/trustworthiness of the source and percentage of original content
- Reader preference
- Citation – original source attribution
Links are not important for a story to get ranked.
Is there a need for a sitemap?
Not required, if the site has perfect URL, perfect code and perfect navigation. Otherwise, both Web and News XML sitemaps are needed.
Other News Sitemap Attributes
In news search, image counts:
- In-line non-clickable
- Alt text and Caption
- Large format
- Good ratio aspects
Google Webmaster Tools can be used to periodically check in order to find errors as well the Webmaster Forum can be used to ask questions as well.
Final Points from Allison:
- Request inclusion
- SEO Best Practices
- Use Sitemaps
- Images Count
- Use GWMT for feedback
Brent Payne was the next speaker, who spoke about how SEO is about popularity, authority and relevancy.
He said, though Tribune has a big site, it gets stiff competition from other big sites. So, Tribune too has to care about link building. According to Brent, one has to be personally on social media sites and for not being on Twitter/Facebook/Reddit/Digg, there cannot be any excuse.
Secondary benefits to being on social media:
- Blog/site modules
- increased awareness
One has to remember that the headlines for social media are different than SEO headlines.
The final speaker for the session was Topher Kohan from CNN. He shared his views on What’s Next for SEO and News:
- Video: Videos mean better user experience, major push to the index and working across all platforms. It is wise to play on-page while putting the content around those pages. Also, using video transcripts is better because they provide context as well.
- Video XML sitemaps: Video XML sitemaps get better ranked.
- UGC: It is important and search engines like it.
- HTML 5: This is going to change how search engines view the web, it is going to be important. Code will be more understandable and easier to crawl.
- Yahoo & Bing: Can potentially be around 10% of the traffic
- Testing: Testing is must. Do not tell anyone and do not use your main site.
Semantic mark-up and micro formats: Google and Yahoo! are working on an open source set to setup a new standard. Need to use them.
- Video is good
- Have a test site
- XML Sitemaps – News/Video/Standard
- Semantic mark up
- HTML 5 is the way to go