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SEO Guide for News Journalists

With social media now integrating latest news, there’s an increasing need for journalists to make sure that they can continue to perform well online. The online world is changing continuously and journalists need to ensure their survival. In fact, journalists need to be obsessed to try to work out how their content can be featured on popular news portals, such as Google News and Yahoo News. But, with Google dominating about 90 percent of the online market, journalists need to focus on it. Today, journalists should think and act like a SEO-focused content provider. They need to make sure that their content is well-accepted by Google and ranks well. Journalists should be aware that Google isn’t human and its algorithm can’t understand human language.

Wordplay, jokes and funny puns don’t work well with search engines, no matter how witty and smart your content is. Regardless of increased sophistication, computer still works like old-fashioned machine system. It’s true that Google is implementing AI technology in search engine ranking to mimic human behaviors. But, these systems are still emotionless and if your content is written to evoke emotion, Google doesn’t that. So, journalists need to integrate content quality and SEO-friendly elements. As an example, a news article needs to contain an optimum keyword density, which is favoured by search engines. If keyword density is too low, search engines won’t know about the primary topic of your website. If keyword density is too high, even if it’s unintentional, Google may consider it as a spammy attempt. This could cause Google to penalize you.

In order to avoid penalization, journalists also need to work with synonyms, so they don’t use the same keyword over and over again. Search engines can understand the content, if you use the right keywords. As an example, you should a specific tone consistently and you shouldn’t change that. Headline or the title of the news article is the most critical element. The next thing to consider is to determine an ideal length for the article. Google News requires at least 80 words for a news article, but it’s a good idea to write at least 200 words for each article. Long articles may contain a lot of information, but it may not be a good thing. For regular webpages, it’s quite different. In this case, Google Web Search seems to favour content at about 1,500 or 2,000 words in length.

Although longer pieces may appear to be more authoritative, anything more than 1,000 words may not be listed by Google News. Adding links in news articles can be a tricky matter, because newspapers can be really stingy when they see just one link to an external website in the content. However, in many cases, it’s possible to do, if the external webpage provides valuable additional information to the reader. If content is well optimized with SEO elements, it will be accepted more easily by big established publishers. Journalists should know that SEO is common sense and it’s not really a tricky thing. Most of the methods are laid out in a straightforward manner. However, journalists can reap rewards of SEO over the long term, so they shouldn’t expect to get instant results.

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