By Kimie Bunyasaranand
AWSM Intern / Sports Illustrated
CHICAGO—Jamie Mottram, the former director of blogs, social media and SEO at Yahoo!, and Kim McDaniel of the Salt Lake Tribune led an “Unlocking SEO” workshop on improving search engine results during the AWSM/APSE Convention. The two experts on online content development went over a list of 10 tips for writing headlines to increase site traffic.
Above all, Mottram emphasized quality content in the No. 1 rule: “Create content that people want to link to.”
He spoke of the importance of producing high quality content that is relevant, specific and unique—and not just getting a high volume out as fast as possible.
Mottram and McDaniel also suggested writers and editors use what they call the “mullet strategy”: business in the front, party in the back when writing web-friendly headlines.
According to Mottram, web-based enterprises such as Bleacher Report, the Huffington Post and SB Nation have strong SEO practices; McDaniel cited the LA Times and CBS Sports as examples of traditional outlets that generate high volumes of traffic thanks to good SEO headlines.
Another important piece of advice was to check sites like Twitter and Facebook to see what kind of keywords people are using. For example, the phrase “BCS playoff” produced over 28 million results compared to slightly more than 7 million results for “college football playoff.”
“You want people to discover you who don’t even know you exist,” said McDaniel.
McDaniel is the current web director of the Salt Lake Tribune and is responsible for oversight of the content, direction and implementation of technical advances on the publication’s digital platforms. She also leads training sessions on digital media and handles social media for the Tribune.
Mottram is the former director of blogs, social and SEO at Yahoo! and has extensive experience with the site’s online sports content. He created blogs such as Puck Daddy, Shutdown Corner and Ball Don’t Lie, and has also worked at AOL.
Expert SEO tips:
1. Create content that people want to link to
2. Include keywords in headlines
3. Include keywords in copy as well
-relevant keywords in the lead and seeded throughout copy in a natural way
4. Link form within (with keywords)
-links embedded within a story bring SEO value
-keywords in anchor text
-links to relevant content
5. Include keywords in image titles too
-helps users discover content via image search
6. Use keywords that people are using
-highlight keywords that are trending and also those that receive higher search volume over time (e.g., “BCS playoff” with 28,500,000 results vs. “college football playoff,” with 7,340,000 results)
7. Publish quickly and update often
-relevance is achieved by speed and timeliness
-the ideal scenario for breaking news is to publish quickly and then update as the story unfolds with additional information
8. Get out ahead of big events
-plan ahead and get your content into search engines early and linked up from both within your site and hopefully from outside as well
-don’t change URLs for big events year to year (e.g., “super-bowl” and not “super-bowl-2012”)
9. Publish and favor original content
-original content ranks better than partner or wire content
-produce your own version of the story and pay it favor via programming/links across site
10. Push social to help SEO
-get your content out via social channels quickly as part of the production process
-social signals impact search results
- Google Suggest
- Google Adwords Keywords
- Gogole News Top Stories
- Twitter Trends