Optimizing Content - SEO for Local Publishers

SEO is surprisingly easy for local publishers when you stop screwing things up

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's "natural" or un-paid ("organic") search results.

Of course, Google is the most well-known search engine so we often refer to this as "How to Rank on Google", so what does Google look for?

This playful and only slightly hyperbolic tweet from Michael Hartl lays out the core of SEO.

There is, indeed, a bit more you can do to rank on Google, get more pageviews from existing visitors, and grow traffic in general - we expand on a few important ideas below and, in a few lessons, we'll walk through the basics of improving your titles to maximize impact.

The graphic, to the left, from searchengineland.com expands on SEO and while interesting it's not terribly actionable.

Let us greatly simplify this down for you to so you can better think about your web-based content:

  • Context - Is it relevant?
  • Authority - Do people link to you often? Are you the expert?
  • Locality - Is your content location-specific so when locals search they will find specific local info?
  • Popularity - Do people share your content?
  • Readability - Is it written and formatted well?
  • Mobile Friendliness - Can I view this on my phone?

The good news is that most Content Management Systems (CMS)/Websites, like our Community Content Engine, handle a lot of the heavy lifting for you. This should include handling the structure of the code, ensuring the site loads quickly and can be viewed on mobile devices, includes social sharing buttons and handles keywords, sitemaps, and other technical optimization.

So, Where Can You Make an Impact?

With all the technical aspects handled for you, you may be thinking you are all set. That couldn't be further from the truth there are a few simple things can ensure you rank well in Google - we expand on the list below in upcoming chapters.

  1. Make sure you are creating useful/entertaining content. If you create crappy content, nothing else matters.
  2. Make sure you optimize titles and descriptions with local keywords. This, above anything else, will help you rank for local keywords when done consistently.
  3. Make articles scannable with short paragraphs and headers
  4. Make it visual and sharable by including an image
  5. Cross-link content
  6. Promote it

In this video, we analyze, Natural Awakenings Richmond to share easy-to-use-secrets that help you higher on Google.

You can take these ideas and apply them to your own publishing business to grow your reach and meet your consumers where they are at (or rather where they are searching). 

Use this checklist to make sure all your content is posted in an optimized way.

Next Lesson:  Featuring Print Content Online - Print-to-Web & In-This-Issue Approach & Digital Editions