Internal linking lessons from old media
Newspapers may have seen their advertising revenues and circulation figures tank as a result of the internet, but a number of big old media brands are setting an example online, earning great traffic and rankings thanks to their SEO strategy.
The websites of major newspapers provide new potential revenue streams and give them a chance to build and engage an audience that will hopefully be more likely to buy the print edition or subscribe to premium online content.
Some of the British newspapers covering the recent riots in London, Manchester and Birmingham have provided some excellent examples of how an agile content strategy can get a site ranking on a trending topic.
A quick Google.co.uk search for "London riots" is dominated by news articles right now, because the story is still unfolding and the QDF algorithm is trying to serve up fresh content as it gets published.
But if you ignore the results pulled in from the news index, the top web results are also from the likes of the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, two British newspapers that have enthusiastically embraced SEO.
Instead of news stories, the pages ranking for "London riots" are dedicated landing pages developed by the two broadsheet newspapers: UK Riots from the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph's London and UK Riots.
This strategy of quickly developing landing pages to host all the breaking news stories on a given topic and provide a central page that journalists can link to when writing new articles is helping the papers to rank for a trending topic in Google's search results and will also improve the reader experience by linking related content.
A Guardian or Telegraph reader might get alerted to a breaking news story on Twitter, follow the link and read the latest story on the respective paper's website. Links within that story will then push them through to deeper, reference pages that can provide background material and put the new developments in context.
It is these reference pages that Google will continue to rank over time, because the nature of the content and the inbound links will signal that it is an evergreen page with a longer shelf life (the Wikipedia effect).
You don't need to be a big newspaper to follow this content strategy. If you're a commercial organisation or a non-profit you can publish breaking news stories about developments in your niche that then link through to relevant reference pages deeper within your site.
This will pull people in from search and social media and will push them towards pages that can add value to their experience and drive your on-site conversion.