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BizReport : Blogs & Content archives : March 09, 2011

Newspaper finds success with keyword optimization

Newspapers should improve on their keyword campaigns and content optimization. That is the takeaway from a recent strategy between Optify and, the online home of the St. Petersburg Times and the Tampa Bay Times. Using Optify's solution the hub saw visitor increases of 33% from their target demographic area and search traffic increases of 22%.

by Kristina Knight

"We have been able to leverage [Things to Do and Hometeam sections] as well as previously existing pieces of our site by making big strides with SEO," said John Schlander, Senior Editor, Online Operations for "When people turn to a search engine for information, we newspapers often have the best, most informative answer - and we need to help people find that great content. And much of our content - articles, blogs, photo galleries, videos, multimedia special reports - will get lost in the online world unless we remain vigilant about SEO and link building."

They started by training their news staff on keyword use and placement in headlines and story text. Optimizing headlines was very important for their strategy because it also becomes part of the URL and shortcuts, but the paper also optimized specific pieces of text for meta descriptions. They immediately saw traffic increases to bigger-ticket stories, but wanted more return on other content. SEO strategies like this, Schlander says, are imperative for newspapers and other publishers to use.

"You can clearly see that on the best news sites," Schlander said. "But I'm often on news sites where it's apparent at least some key pages haven't been optimized in any significant way. I suspect there's still a disconnect in some newsrooms over the value of literal Web headlines for article pages."

It doesn't end with SEO, of course. Social has great potential for newspapers and other publishers, especially with recent data that Facebook has surpassed Google as the most-trafficked website.

"Currently links from social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon) are about one-tenth of our total link we have opportunities for growth there," said Schlander. "In these challenging times for newspapers, we need to let everyone, everywhere know that we're alive and kicking - and a great source of trustworthy news and information. As we build our social media strategy, we hope using tools such as Optify's Twitter for Business [will] both drive and measure our success."

Tags: content optimization, newspaper websites, newspapers, online content, Optify, search marketing, SEO,

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  • It's great to see that newspapers are incorporating SEO into their online stories. Newspapers usually produce quality, reliable content that people trust, so they deserve to rank well. It's not that complicated to take a story and just tweak it to make it SEO friendly, so it doesn't place any added burden on the journalists.



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