In a Google search of five keywords or phrases representing the top five news stories of 2007, weblogs will rank higher than the New York Times’ Web site.
Read/WriteWeb took a look at this and correctly hinted that the test isn’t an accurate conclusion of the popularity of blogs vs newspapers—it’s really a test on the SEO effectiveness of the two groups of sites. And the blogs in these results are more search engine-friendly than the newspaper websites. (Also, this test doesn’t measure how many people read the actual printed newspapers.)
This made me wonder. What would the newspaper (and magazine) websites have to do to increase their SEO?
- Use proper heading tags (H1, H2…) for article headlines and subtitles
- Improve the URLs by replacing those cryptic numbers they oftentimes use the article headline
- Don’t require user authentication, or create a non-signed-in blurb of the article, though that’s not as SEO-friendly
- Archive all previous articles publically, perhaps with a disclaimer that it’s an old article (some news sites delete old stories)
- Update the Google sitemap regularly (some do this already)
- Encourage links to the article by adding related content or features to important articles that add value
- Include a link back to the web article in the emailed version
- Use web standards markup so search engines have less code to crawl and index
- Create an RSS feed for all articles & articles by category (most do this already, though I’ve seen a few who don’t)