Online publishers have a unique set of search marketing challenges compared to most B2B or ecommerce sites, and in an increasingly competitive landscape. One major challenge is that as new content is produced daily, optimization efforts required become much more complex and need to be executed by the content producers themselves. Other challenges include the transition from print to online, revenue models and anticipating new keyword trends before they hit.
One topic that has largely been ignored in the industry is that of content lifespan. Timely news quickly becomes irrelevant; archived content is hard to find; and some news never even makes it online. In the online publishing industry, page views equate to dollar signs so anything that can be done to improve this metric, is money. Literally. So what to do? The answer is package, re-package and then package again. The goal is to leverage the hard work that has gone into creating older content to get back in front of the reader in a variety of forms.
Ways to Repackage and Repurpose
Related Content: drive readers to continue reading by linking to related articles, images, video, etc at the end of each article or blog post. Use reliable software to ensure that articles linked at the end of the article are truly relevant. CNET, for example uses both related topics and articles. Following the same train of thought, properly linking to related content within blog posts and articles will drive additional page views, extend the life of older content and of course provide valuable link juice beneficial for SEO purposes.
Archives & Aggregation: many publishers face the daunting challenge of housing archived content, even without search marketing in mind. There just isn’t an easy or cheap solution, however some publishers are taking the lead and doing this well. The New York Times for example, offers an easy to use Sitemap as well as comprehensive “Times Topics” pages that aggregate all types of content around a given topic. Huffington Post does this as well with their Big News Pages. Well executed archives will extend content life by enabling users to find content not only on the site, but through organic search as well as search engines will be better able to access these pages.
Premium Content: Crain’s New York Business is Turning Data into Revenue by offering their heavily researched lists and rankings reports in an online or excel format for purchase. The Portland Business Journal also applies this same concept to their Book of Lists offerings.
Article Packages: breaking down potentially massive articles into smaller, more manageable content pieces that live under one main “parent” article. PC World does this with many of their lists which ultimately makes them easier to optimize (categorized content allows for more granularity in descriptions) and better able to deliver more targeted and relevant ads.
Cross Channel Integration: make sure content is syndicated across all relevant platforms so readers don’t miss a beat. Simply providing content in a different place – whether that’s through a Facebook app or re-circulating on Twitter – will help to ensure new articles aren’t being overlooked.
Content Format: provide content in all format types. People get and read their news in a variety of ways so let them choose what suits them best. Through categorized RSS feeds (by author, topic, etc), video, video transcripts, podcasts, slideshows, etc.
And this isn’t just an issue that large publishers face – all content producers and bloggers could stand to benefit from repackaging older content. Online, we’re constantly bombarded with headlines and an overload of information. Repackaging valuable content so that it more effectively resonates with readers or at least catches their eye the second time around will ultimately help to increase the life of that content. So make the most of all your hard work and make sure your readers will find it one way or another.
Rachel Andersen works for the Portland based SEM agency Anvil Media, Inc. She has expertise in all aspects of search engine marketing and specializes in SEO for large sites. Andersen has been responsible for the development and execution of dozens of search and social marketing campaigns over her time spent with Anvil.