Posts Tagged ‘search’

(Originally posted on April 26, 2011)
An article from emarketer.com (Nicole McMullin of Richmond.com pointed it out) points up differences in the reading habits of two audiences: those who find content through searches, and those who find it through links in social media such as Facebook. Links from social media are far outnumbered by search, but social media is much more likely to link to news and entertainment stories, which happen to be an awful lot of what we do.

The issue is that people who come in via links in social media “have fewer page views per session and a higher bounce rate” — they are less engaged than people who come in from a search link.

It seems that the lesson in this simply is to pay attention to both your social media links and what you are doing to optimize your site for search engines to find your content. You can’t drop social media because that’s the forum where people are most likely to want to share what they find interesting, but you can’t ignore SEO because that’s how people who might be the most interested in a particular topic you are covering will find your story.

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(Originally posted April 5, 2011)
One piece of a Q&A interview with the editor of Slate hits on a topic that remains a fault line in the newsroom: writing with search engines in mind. I’m happy to read David Plotz’s response because it sounds like the right way to handle it — you don’t let your knowledge of what gets picked up by search engines affect what you choose to cover, but once you write about something you sure as heck make sure you’re doing what you can to be sure search engines will find it. The relevant Q and A:

How much are Slate writers and editors encouraged to think about stuff like SEO when crafting a piece?

If there’s a story that we want to do just because we want to, we go ahead and do it. But when we’ve done it, we look to figure out what people are searching around this topic, what they are going to be searching for, and how we can ensure our menu lines and the various things that search engines pay attention to reflect how readers are actually searching.

Sometimes we see that people are looking for such and such topic on the Web, and if someone has a great angle on it, we decide how to do the story. So of course we keep an eye on it – it would be a mistake not to keep an eye on it.

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(Originally posted on Sept. 13, 2010)

The good news: Americans are spending more time with the news. People say they spend 70 minutes getting news from various sources, the Pew Research Center says, the highest amount of time reported since the mid-1990s. From there, though, the news is a little murky except that news seen on digital platforms is taking off.

And there is unambiguous bad news for printed newspapers: While 26 percent of all Americans say they read a print newspaper yesterday, that figure falls to just 8 percent among adults younger than 30. And, as you can see in the chart above, people spend less time with the newspaper than with the other media options they have.

And an interesting note: 33 percent regularly use search engines to get news on topics of interest, up from 19 percent in 2008. That points up the growing importance of making sure you are writing online headlines with search engines in mind — and making sure you understand how search engines work.

UPDATE: Related to the search engine note above, during a conference call of news directors today Jason Clough of WNCN pointed out the importance of adding tags to videos posted to YouTube. During coverage of Hurricane Earl, the first videos the station loaded to YouTube weren’t getting much traffic, but once staffers started adding every tag they could think of that people might use to find Earl video, the viewer stats shot way up. (WNCN posts its video to YouTube, by the way, because linking to the YouTube video from Facebook makes the video viewable on mobile devices, while sometimes video posted directly to Facebook is not viewable on some mobile devices. Good tip to remember.)

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(Originally posted May 17, 2010)

For those of you who have any responsibility for writing headlines for the Web, the New York Times has a must-read column by David Carr on that subject. The basic problem being addressed: You can’t just take a headline that would work perfectly well in a newspaper and push it out to the Web and, by extension, your site’s RSS feed:

“Keep in mind that all of the things that make headlines meaningful in print — photographs, placement and context — are nowhere in sight on the Web. Headlines have become, as Gabriel Snyder, the recently appointed executive editor of Newsweek.com, ‘naked little creatures that have to go out into the world to stand and fight on their own.'”

Headlines for the Web have to be written with search engines in mind. That means short (the programs that search through headlines don’t even read as long as a Twitter post) and to the point, but ideally without taking too much life out of the headline.

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(Originally posted May 6, 2010)

Interesting if unsurprising fact from a report that says the non-YouTube sites seeing the most success with online video are those of the broadcast TV networks and Web-only media brands, followed by magazine sites and music labels, with newspaper sites lagging in both total video views and growth: Google drives nearly 40 percent of the views, so you need to be sure your videos are tagged with search engines in mind.

Another interesting fact: Although video on newspaper Web sites has the lowest rate of being viewed, the people who do click on those videos are much more likely than viewers on other sites to watch through to the end.

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