Ranking high in search engines is critical for news organisations during a crisis. The right rankings allow organisations to get their content in front of as many people as possible.
In addition, people require high-quality, trusted journalism in times of crisis most because it can help them make sense of what is happening, and potentially provide life-saving information.
However, with so many competitors all vying for the top spot, how can news organisations make sure their content ranks highly?
The right search engine optimisation (SEO) practices will ensure that a news organisations’ content is more likely to be seen by those who need it most.
With that in mind, in this article, we’ll discuss five ways news organisations can help their content to rank during a crisis. So the next time your newsroom is facing a breaking news story, you’ll be ready.
1. Use Google Trends to inform your content strategy
Google Trends is a tool that can be used to see how popular certain keywords are. This information can then be used to inform your content strategy.
If a particular keyword is trending, it means that people are searching for it a lot and this could be an opportunity for you to create content around this and rank higher in search results.
Also, check out this article about Google Trends from Simon Rogers to learn more about how to use the tool to your advantage.
You should also subscribe to the Google Trends alerts email notifications to get real-time updates on popular keywords.
Knowing when a search interest term is just right for the taking means that the interest in such a term has increased by more than 5000%, so always be on the lookout for these keywords.
For example, in the current Ukraine crisis, this search term was at an all time high at the beginning of March.
News organisations that were early to catch on to this trend, could have been the first to deliver this news to their audience.
2. Do the proper keyword research
Doing keyword research is the process of finding out which keywords your target audience is searching for. Once you know this, you can then optimize your content for these keywords.
There are various tools that you can use to do keyword research, such as your own site’s Google Search Console as well as third-party tools such as Ahrefs and Semrush. These tools will help you to find the right keywords to target.
After you’ve done your research, use the keywords you’ve found throughout your content in order to improve your search engine ranking.
Finally, don’t forget to link to other relevant articles on your website as this will help to improve your content’s ranking. Internal linking to other relevant articles on your site will show Google that your content is relevant and make it easy for both search engine bots and people to get to the right page.
3. Embed strong links
You’ll want to ensure you maximise your external linking to boost your SEO efforts even further. Linking to high authority sites will also help to improve your ranking as Google sees this as a sign of trustworthiness.
You can also use LOYAL to search your archives as you write to find the most relevant internal linking opportunities. LOYAL’s advanced search technology can help you explore your publication’s content archives quickly to find the most highly-relevant links to what you’re writing about.
This will enable those working in fast-paced news organisations to quickly add context to a piece and signpost to Google that articles are connected.
See how LOYAL could help you as you build out a news article:
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4. Create engaging social media content
Search engine optimisation should be first done with people in mind. This means that the content must be interesting and shareable. Understanding which content resonates well with readers is a skill. This can be difficult to establish without extensive experience.
However, content that is share-worthy on social media is often:
Newsworthiness is also a factor that will make content more likely to be shared. In other words, if your content is timely and relevant to current events, it’s more likely to be shared.
Social media monitoring tools can be used to monitor what content is being shared the most on social media. This data can then be used to inform future content strategy.
In addition, don’t forget that being quick to publish is key. The sooner your content is online, the more likely it is to be seen by people who are looking for information on the crisis.
5. Make sure your URL has keywords in it
The URL is one of the first places that a search engine will look for keywords. As such, it’s important to make sure that your URL includes your primary keywords.
If you’re writing about the coronavirus pandemic, you should include the word “coronavirus” in your URL. Doing so will help to ensure that your content ranks highly for searches related to the coronavirus.
For example, if your story is about how businesses can prepare for a potential pandemic, your URL and meta description might look something like this:
Furthermore, use the long-tail keywords in the meta description to help boost your content’s ranking. The meta description is the short summary that appears beneath the URL in the search engine results page.
Including relevant keywords in your meta description can help to improve your content’s ranking as people will click on your content more if it is relevant to their search.
All of these are part of the step by step process you need to take to ensure the best SEO practice in the newsroom.
6. Include videos in your posts
Including videos in your posts can also help to improve your content’s ranking. This is because videos are more likely to be clicked on than text-only posts.
In addition, videos can help to engage readers and keep them on your page for longer periods of time. This will help to improve your content’s ranking as Google takes into account the amount of time people spend on a page when determining its ranking.
In order to make the most of this, make sure that your videos are high quality and informative. Also, be sure to include keywords in the title and description of your video.
This also has the potential of getting double rankings, as videos will sometimes rank on Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPS) as well.
Bonus Tip: Use the right schemas for ranking
A schema is a code that you can add to your website to help search engines classify your content better.
As default, you should be using the NewsMediaOrganization schema to mark up your articles. This schema is designed for news organisations and will help to improve your content’s ranking when people search for news related to the crisis.
The NewsArticle schema is designed for articles that are published by news organisations. The Article schema is for general articles that are not necessarily published by these types of organisations, so depending on your content, you may want to use one or the other.
After each published story, don’t forget to measure your results using your search console and apply what you learned for the next story.
In a time where consistent, factual news is hard to come by, help people get to the main source of truth using these five ways to boost your content ranking in Google Searches.
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