Search engine optimization isn't just for businesses. If you want your content to get found online (which would include news websites and online publications, then you do need to think about SEO practices. Although you won't be implementing the exact same tactics as a company website, there are ways you can do SEO as well so that your articles show up on Google News and in general search engine rankings. Here's how news websites and online publications can do SEO:
In the Title, Put the Keyword First
Search engines actually give preference to pages with a page title that starts with the keyword of phrase. For example, if you're writing an article about a cookie dough recipe, then you have more SEO potential if the title is something like, "Cookie Dough Recipe: 10 Easy Steps", or "Cookie Dough Recipe: A Christmas Must-Have".
It's also important to make sure that your article titles are clear and specific. This actually helps SEO, rather than hurting it, because you can then target a much more specific keyword (one that has less traffic, but could generate higher quality traffic). So, even though "cookie dough recipe" is search-engine friendly, it's not all that specific and isn't enough to generate interest in potential readers. Using an example like one of those above, or finding a way to expand it so that it is more specific, is much more beneficial.
Think About All Aspects of SEO
SEO is much more than keywords within the article or title, but it's also about the user experience and some of the technical aspects. This includes proper formatting, optimizing photos, including meta descriptions, and writing long, quality content (200-word posts don't quite cut it anymore, in case you didn't know). Those tend to be aspects that news websites and online publications can miss because the emphasis on creating content, but not thinking about proper formatting, or not optimizing pictures and photos, can hurt an article's chances for ranking. SEO best practices are changing regularly, so if you intend on using search engines and/or Google News as a way to bring traffic to your site, then keeping up with them would be wise.
Don't Forget Categories and Tags
This is something online publications and news websites sometimes forget about since they are too focused on creating content on a regular pace. That's a good thing, but you do want to label each article with appropriate and search-friendly categories and tags as well. There are a few reasons for this:
- Every time you create a new category or tag, a new page is created that indexes everything with that category or tag. So, if you create a category or tag that is a keyword or phrase, it's something that can rank on the search engines.
- Keeping these organized and fresh shows that you, as a news website or online publication, is paying attention and understands their value. This will set you apart from those that don't pay attention.
- Besides a search bar, categories and tags are the only other way for visitors to find articles on your site about a particular topic. Improve the user experience of your site by having clear and organized categories and tags.
Don't go overboard with these on an article either. We recommend no more than three categories per article, and no more than eight or 10 tags. Keep categories in check as well. There's no need to have hundreds