SEO best practices

Keywords form the basis on your slug, give you guidance on what terms should be in your SEO title and story-level headline, and comprise your SEO Keyphrase (keywords) field in P2P.

Your content’s success in natural search and on Google News can hinge on how well you’ve identified and used keywords.

Background

To recap, your slug generally should include 2-4 keywords for breaking news, under 6 for longer stories. No articles, punctuation, wasted words. Front-load key nouns like names and geography.

Example: Was Mayor Rahm Enamuel attacked by eunuchs? chi-rahm-emanuel-eunuch-attack-20140813 seems like a viable slug, with Chicago mayor as a keyword.

This affects search and Google News.

In P2P, your SEO Keyphrase field can contain up to 10 comma-delimited terms. It is used by Google News only.

Three key areas to know

1. What has worked in the past?
2. How can I identify developing trends?
3. What tricks and tools can help be identify keywords?

Know what’s been successful before

You can crack the formula a bit by looking at what story slug/keywords have generally performed on Google News.

chi-robin-williams-dead
chi-missouri-police-shooting
chi-hurricane-julio-hawaii
chi-wisconsin-baby-kidnap
chi-philip-seymour-hoffman-dead
chi-purdue-university-shooting
chi-chicago-cta-train-derailment
chi-chris-christie-bridge-scandal
chi-roswell-school-shooting
chi-mega-millions-jackpot
chi-new-york-train-derailment
chi-paul-walker-dead
chi-illinois-tornadoes
chi-phillipines-typhoon
chi-obama-healthcare-website
chi-government-shutdown
chi-apple-ipad
chi-marcia-wallace-dead
chi-connecticut-school-shooting
chi-cleveland-kidnappings
chi-boston-marathon-bombing
chi-ariel-castro-dead
chi-powerball-winners
chi-nfl-concussion-settlement
chi-miley-cyrus-vma
chi-hurricane-sandy
chi-colorado-theater-shooting
chi-nevada-plane-crash
chi-texas-college-shooting
chi-jesse-jackson-jr-sentence
chi-diana-nyad-cuba-florida-swim
chi-cory-montieth-dead

Another valuable method is to run an Omniture referrals report on a topic you’ve used in the past.

First, find an applicable slug. Then log into Omniture SiteCatalyst and select Site Content/Pages Report/Pages. Then filter for your slug or a word in your slug.

Next, click on the “Break down” icon left of the slug and select Traffic Sources/Search Keywords – Natural. Although this no longer includes Google metadata, it still contains a statistically significant amount of information.

Example: The Notre Dame academic fraud scandal (chi-notre-dame-academic-fraud-investigation-20140815)

The top searches that got people to that piece of content were:

chicago tribune: 261, 0.4%
notre dame: 254, 0.4%
notre dame football: 155, 0.3%
notre dame football suspensions: 126, 0.2%
notre dame academic fraud: 54, 0.1%
notre dame investigation: 15, 0.0%
notre dame football news: 13, 0.0%
notre dame scandal: 12, 0.0%

Based on this data, chi-notre-dame-football-suspensions might be a more effective slug and keyword combination than academic fraud, although clearly that has some value as well.

Trending tools

1. Trendsmap (United States or Chicago)
2. Newswhip
3. Chartbeat Rising
4. Trendinalia: U.S.

Search tools

1. Use your browser to “view source” on story files. Search for keywords or keyphrase.
2. Google Trends Explore
3. Test natural searches. Did you get what you expect?
4. Twitter and Facebook trends are displayed in the browser
5. Google Keywords Planner

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