State of Digital Publishing
Creating Custom Digital Marketing SEO Services for Publishers that Bring More Readers
The publishing industry has evolved significantly over the last couple of years. Today, if you want your publishing company to thrive, you have to establish a strong online presence.
This means that you need to make your company easily discoverable by your target audience, and that is where SEO Services for Publishers comes in.
Devise strategies to attract new patrons
Build a community of loyal and repeat customers
Increase brand awareness throughout the community
Establish yourself as a community leader
Help to preserve and protect your reputation
What is SEO for Online Publishers?
Search engine optimization (SEO) improves your site, so that ranks better on search engine result pages (SERP) when a search on a certain keyword is performed.
SEO is divided into two main cataloes. They include:
- On-page SEO– This is the practice of optimizing your web pages to rank higher in the search engine and drive in relevant traffic. On-page SEO focus on HTML source code and content.
- Off-page SEO– Refers to optimizing action that you take outside your site to improve its ranking on the search engine. It includes things such as links, reviews, and much more.
A good SEO campaign should include both on-page and off-page SEO. With competition in the publishing industry becoming stiffer each day, publishers and publishing companies that have stacked in the old setting are struggling to stay afloat. On the other hand, those that have quilt changed and embraced digital marketing like SEO are thriving.
SEO can help to improve your website ranking, thus improving its visibility to your target audience. What makes SEO stand out from other marketing techniques is that it drives quality traffic to your site. People who are actively looking for searching that your company is offering). This means that the chances of visitors turning into long-term clients are high.
Our Services For Publishers
We understand how unique the monetization model is for publishers, and the effect organic traffic can have on a publisher’s bottom line. We kept all of this in mind when developing our SEO products, each designed to address specific SEO needs:
Publisher Technical and Forensic SEO Audit
Our technical SEO audits for bloggers are designed to conduct a complete inside-out “deep tissue” assessment and evaluation of your website. We audit everything from crawlability/accessibility problems, page speed, and information architecture, to schema and topic issues.
A prioritized list of findings along with itemized tasking and specific instructions for implementation. And, our SEO Publishing Guidelines for you to keep.
Crawl and technical review of the entire website, Google Analytics and Search Console review for errors and anomalies, laser-focused on-page SEO recommendations, content marketing paired with outreach to other publications to deliver a backlink.
We ask for 30 days to deliver the completed audit and tasking. But keep in mind, we don’t know what’s happening under the hood of your website until we actually dig into it, so from time to time, we may need a few extra days.
This is an ongoing, managed SEO product that’s billed on a monthly, recurring basis. Each month we will target a new set of pages on your website and optimize them for a new set of keywords.
When you work with us, you are assigned a dedicated SEO manager who is an actual, real-deal SEO with years of experience. They will be your guide through this entire process and will even get on the phone to review all of our findings, recommendations, tasking, and answer all of your questions.
This product is managed by our Enterprise SEO team. That means you are assigned a dedicated Senior SEO Lead to guide and manage your campaign. You have access to your Lead whenever you need them.
These audits are very popular, we typically have a two-week queue. But, it does change from time to time, get in touch with us, and will tell you.
This product is managed by our Enterprise SEO team and we do not have a waiting list for this service.
Implementation and Reporting:
Not a developer? Don’t have a developer you already work with? That’s cool, we can help you with the technical implementation of all of our SEO recommendations.
Your dedicated SEO Lead will provide you with access to our online reporting system. We also provide a detailed monthly report that we put together for you by hand covering everything that happened that month.
Results AKA Realistic Expectations:
SEO takes time, patience, and the willingness to implement all of our recommendations, follow our publishing guidelines, and the ability to stick to best practices. Those that do this regularly see measurable results over time. However, if you don’t implement and continue to make the same mistakes, you’re results will be lackluster.
You will start seeing measurable improvements in your keyword rankings within the first two months of our services. But keep in mind, this product optimizes a whole new set of pages on your blog every month for a new set of keywords, this means that some rankings will improve faster than others.
4 reasons Why Publishers and Publishing Houses should use SEO
It helps to boost their reputation and credibility
With increased competition in the publishing industry, having a good reputation has become more important than ever. One of the best ways to boost your reputation and credibility is by dominating search engines. The more your target audience comes across your website on search engines, the more they will develop interest. SEO helps to improve your website’s visibility by improving its ranking on search results. In addition to that, SEO help to improve other aspects of your website include content, page loading speed, site navigation, and much more, all of which help to improve the user experience, which in turn boosts reputation and credibility.
It helps to drive quality traffic to your site
Every publisher wants to attract new clients. Increased competition has made it very difficult for publishers to attract new clients to their businesses. One of the most effective ways of attracting new clients is by increasing your website ranking on the search engine. One thing that makes SEO stand out from the rest is the fact that it drives quality traffic to your website. This means that it only targeted people who are actively looking for publishing services that you offer will visit your site. If you invest in SEO, you are guaranteed that you will get a return on investment because it delivers quality and long-term results.
It is cheaper but more effective
Yes, there is the cost involved in running an SEO campaign, but they are much lower than other marketing techniques. Additionally, the level of brand awareness that SEO will build and the kind of laser targeted traffic it brings to your site is much better than other marketing techniques. SEO is a one-time investment strategy; once your site starts to rank on top of Google search results, your marketing cost will reduce to almost zero. SEO will lower your marketing cost and boost revenue.
Unlike other forms of advertising that cannot be measured, SEO can be tracked. This is important because it helps you know what is working, what is not, and what needs fine-tuning. SEO provides you with the information you need, such as traffic, page views, bounce rate, and much more. This is important because it helps you determine whether you need to start again, alter, or continue your existing marketing plan.
Key Marketing Trends for Digital Publishing You Need To Know
A renewed focus on serving their audience’s needs seems to be at the core of the main digital publishing trends we are seeing. This means serving the content audiences want, through the channels they want, and trying to monetize this thanks to improved reader loyalty and a more satisfying experience.
Every year State of Digital Publishing takes the pulse of the digital media industry through a survey addressed to a diverse set of participants: editors, audience development directors, startup founders, and martech professionals offering solutions to digital media publishers.
Audience loyalty through acquisitions
As mentioned in CJR, “Eighteen months ago, Facebook sent somewhere between 35 and 45 percent of many of our sites’ total visitation. In that period of time, it has gone from that to seven percent,” one publisher told them in early 2019. “It’s just, the bottom fell out.”
The solution, according to our survey’s respondents, is to focus on developing content that is more targeted to their audience’s needs. As Sarah Tolle, editor at Black & White Zebra stated, “focus less on how to snatch attention and more on how to deserve attention”.
To achieve that you need user research to better understand not just what your audience wants, but also how, where and when they want to access that content.
But that’s only the first step. There is the recognition that the way to win younger audiences is not through one but through multiple properties. Nine Networks takeover of Fairfax Media, McClatchy’s acquisition of Meredith, and the like demonstrate fears of cannibalizing audiences through acquisition is meaningless. Providing a wide range of content across the sites, since this dictates Millennial audience behavior is more beneficial. Expect audience growth through acquisitions.
2020 will be about building loyalty. Eyeballs for the sake of eyeballs are no longer important. Loyalty is what matters and finding ways to build habits in the lives of your consumers is the only path forward. 2020 will be focused on understanding the behaviors of the most loyal audiences and using those insights to build more of them. Melissa Chowning, CEO at Twenty-First Digital.
SEO again becomes a key driver of traffic growth
A consequence of pivoting to the reader’s needs is the resurgence of SEO as a key driver of traffic growth. Putting the user in the center means creating the content the user would search for. According to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2019, search engines are now the third most important traffic source to news sites after direct access and social media. 20% of people in the US accessed their news through search engines.
SEO is also a complex and evolving channel that requires time and investment. But even so, algorithm changes can throw a business off the balance if your strategy depends too much on just being first on Google instead of truly providing value to your audience.
In 2020 we will continue to build processes as well as provide training so that writers and editorial teams can be successful in scaling SEO-first content. There is a big emphasis on targeting specific queries, understanding the intent behind those queries, and building content from the ground up to be the best result in the SERP. Jim Robinson, Founder at Clickseed
The way to do SEO in 2020 is to focus on content quality more than on keywords or links. Google is becoming more adept at semantics and understanding the topics that your site covers. Using a cluster strategy, where you group topics in clusters through your website architecture gives Google a stronger signal around your topic modeling and helps Google understand and give you more authority on the topics you cover. This topic clustering strategy is becoming mainstream in 2020.
Another big impact in SEO is the changes in Google News SEO, which is favoring original reporting with high topical relevance and authority with higher positions and SERP features in Google search. Content freshness is also important. Google News also takes into account highlighting the latest news or even live coverage of time-sensitive events.
Creating a diversified monetization strategy
According to our survey, media companies are exploring new revenue channels this year. Most companies are exploring subscriptions and membership options as an alternative or to complement advertising revenue. Other companies are going beyond that, and are building out eCommerce portals or creating digital courses.
For Brian Morrissey, Editor-in-chief at Digiday, “In 2020, we’ll continue to focus on growing our subscription business. This is critical to our future as a sustainable media company. First and foremost, that means executing on the simple but hard task of creating content worth paying for. In addition, we need to continue building a new class of must-have content for members in the form of original research, guides, pitch decks.”
The objective is to not rely on a single revenue source like advertising. If that revenue source declines, that can put the business in a delicate position. Having a range of revenue sources can potentially offset any negative developments in your main revenue source.
To build a successful digital media company it’s important we continue to diversify our product portfolio and not rely on purely magazine subscription revenue and advertising. Nathan Chan, CEO, and Publisher at Foundr.
The Reuters Institute Digital News Report has already been documenting how digital media is shifting towards a sharper focus on user subscriptions (52%), followed by display/native advertising (35%) and donations (7%) beyond 2019.
Prioritization of content quality over quantity
Some of our respondents asked themselves what was the point of publishing yet more content if it didn’t make a difference. And they have a point. Why add to the noise if you’re not bringing value to your audience? How do you distinguish yourself from all the other outlets pushing content out there?
The public trust in media is still low. Just 41% of Americans trust mass media today. Political divisiveness, misinformation, and fake news are still eroding that confidence.
A strategy that focuses on high-quality content that actually serves their audience’s needs will be key to overcome that issue. Strategies that focused on the scale are becoming less attractive as well as their SEO effectiveness has been reduced in recent years as Google becomes better at identifying and surfacing quality content.
Improving content quality requires commitment. It’s demanding in terms of resources, time, engagement metrics, and manpower.
Quality audience and not chasing scale – engagement metrics and doing the best job for our loyal readers. Charlotte McEleny, Asia Editor, The Drum
Podcast, webinars & newsletters monetization is mainstream
Digital media publishers have more channels than ever at their reach. And this year they plan to take advantage of that to reach their existing and new audiences just where they are. Podcasts, webinars, newsletters, videos, Instagram TV, Snapchat, are just a few of the new channels media companies are now becoming mainstream. But to be effective, there are two things to consider.
As Nadya Khoja, Chief Growth Officer at Venngage said: “it’s common for people to just pour money into new channels for a while and claim they do or do not work without proper tracking in place, and without a repeatable process to follow.” To properly expand your brand into new channels, you need to set clear objectives beforehand and put tracking systems in place to help you reach your goals.
For Susan Dickenson, Editor-in-chief at Home Accents Today, maintaining a coherent brand voice is paramount: “As we’ve continued to expand into video, podcasting, and social media, one thing has become very clear: You can’t underestimate the importance of projecting a consistent, cohesive, authentic editorial voice. For 2020, we’ll focus on tailoring our content – both editorially and graphically – to effect a smoother, deeper, and broader integration across channels.”
Podcasts in particular are a growing medium. About a third of Americans listen to podcasts at least once a month, growing from 26% last year. Podcast creation is growing too. There are now 700.000 podcast shows on iTunes, a 27% growth from 2018. It’s worth remembering that 15 years ago when iTunes first added a podcast section, there were just 3.000 shows available.
Top media companies, celebrities, and brands are all developing podcasts and driving the podcast advertising market to reach 1 billion dollars in size in 2021, according to Forrester, IAB, and PwC.
A key driver is the acquisition of podcast networks like Gimlet and Anchor by Spotify, which is helping the audio company to quickly expand its share of the podcast market. One key thing to note is that Spotify’s advertising revenue is bigger than the whole podcast market today. Their experience and these acquisitions will be key to increase the advertising market in podcasting, and their size puts them in a key position to dominate this market.
Stories content format is becoming widely adopted
The story is a digital content format originally developed by Snapchat that has become an industry-standard and it’s been adopted by most social networks. Google AMP has its own stories format to support search. Even Twitter has developed their own version of stories, called Fleets. Stories are short, visual content (images or video), in vertical format, that in most cases is ephemeral and only available for 24 hours.
On the Facebook-owned social networks (Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp) 1 billion stories are being shared every day. A few among those are from respected media brands like The Economist. The Economist now has 4.6 million followers on Instagram, where they publish daily using the story format. They also use the highlights functionality, which allows you to group stories and make them permanently visible on your profile, to showcase stories around key topics.
The death of third party tracking
Apple and Mozilla made the first moves that signaled the death of third-party tracking when they developed smart cookie-blocking technology for their Safari and Firefox browsers. This functionality is now on by default on both browsers. Ad-blocking apps and browser extensions, and regulations like the GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act are also part of this same trend towards privacy and giving users more control over their data.
But what about Chrome? According to Statista, Chrome has almost 70% of the browser market share. But in January 2020 Google announced it will stop supporting third-party cookies over the next two years. This represents the death of third-party tracking and will force a major industry shift.
Online advertising without third-party cookies will most likely revert to contextual advertising, where ads are related to the content you’re seeing and not your online behavior elsewhere.
Audio distribution of Google News content
Audio interfaces continue to develop and expand their presence across new audience touchpoints. Google Assistant is now creating tailored playlists of audio segments from Google News when you ask it to play you the news. The playlist lasts about one hour and a half and selects news items based on your past reading behavior and locations you care about.
In the future, the length and the topics will become even more personalized. So if you usually listen to this news update during your commute, Google Assistant will learn to adjust the length of the playlist to your commuting time.
To build this playlist Google has released “an open specification for single topic audio stories” that lets Google manage brief, single-topic audio segments between 30 seconds and 3 minutes.
Tik Tok, voice interfaces, and chatbots on editorial strategies are still areas of uncertainty
On the other side of the spectrum, there are a few global digital trends that media companies are still unsure whether they should adopt or not.
TikTok, a Chinese social media app focused on short videos that have at least 500 million users worldwide and is consistently one of the top ten most downloaded apps in iOS and Android. It’s a massive hit with teens. Some digital publishers have started creating content for the platform. But it’s a quite new channel, with a very particular style of content, that most media companies still don’t really understand how they can fit their brand and their editorial approach. Some are concerned about whether they’ll find their target audience there. Others are conscious that developing a new channel takes time. Companies that invested time developing Vine profiles may be conscious of the risks involved.
Voice interfaces, like smart speakers or voice-activated search, are increasingly common. But the media companies that participated in our trends survey are not seeing the revenue potential to justify the investment in developing that channel. Others expressed concerns over the reach of audio interfaces, even though in the US alone 110 million people have access to them, and the lack of technical knowledge to properly develop this channel. All of this means that only big publishers will have the resources to invest in audio interfaces without a clear return on investment.
Chatbots and AI are two areas in which publishers are interested to explore. But while the results might be better than other direct marketing channels, like email marketing, there are risks involved. The main drawback is that publishers own their email lists, while the Facebook messenger contacts are owned by Facebook. If Facebook makes changes that affect the publisher’s ability to reach out to their contacts, the publisher doesn’t have many options but to accept it. In 2016, Quartz launched an app that had a conversational interface to access news. It was lauded for its innovative approach, but it was shut down this year.
What Can SalePilot Do for Your Publishing House
SalePilot has the SEO training experience to turn content creators into (more effective) traffic creators. Whether you operate a magazine website, digital publication, or industry-leading blog, how well your content is optimized for search engine rankings (and social media sharing) can make all the difference in the growth of your website traffic. SEO for publishers is a critical investment to growing traffic, readership, and niche brands.
Any online publishing model needs a framework for success. With SEO + Inbound Marketing, it’s no different. SalePilot has used the following framework to train editors on SEO, help online publishers grow traffic for the long term, and grow a healthy revenue stream.
Traffic & Revenue Growth Starts with Goals
Increased traffic is great. Increased revenue is better. With online publishers, knowing your traffic growth goals (and how to achieve them) is an important place to start with any SEO and inbound marketing efforts.
SalePilot can help you clarify your traffic growth goals in order to achieve your revenue goals.
Know Your Reader, Target Your Reader
Your readers are thirsty. They are continuously searching for answers to timeless questions within your industry that never go out of style.
Their also looking to keep their finger on the pulse of your industry. It’s your job to know who they are, what they’re looking for, and how they want it delivered. Developing detailed “audience personas” will ensure that the content you’re team is creating is in line with your target readers.
Educate Readers & Earn Their Trust
You want readers that come back, time and again, whether through search engine discovery, social media sharing, email marketing, other industry websites, or any other form of content consumption.
In order to do that, your content team needs to not only know what they are searching for, and what they’re interested in but also focus on capturing their attention (and email addresses) for continuous nurturing through ongoing content marketing. This is done through thorough keyword research, in-depth content, and compelling calls-to-action.
Train Editors, Optimize Content, Grow Traffic
Every editorial team can use some “brushing up” on their on-page optimization skills. When editors are empowered to know how to optimize metadata, H1 titles, body content and build a healthy internal linking structure…great things happen to your site’s traffic.
SalePilot has the SEO training experience to teach editorial teams how to research keywords and properly optimize web content in a manner that will leverage your site’s ranking potential to the max.
Technical Optimization & SEO Maintenance
Online publishers need technical SEO just like any other website. With such a large amount of content being pushed out on a regular basis, it’s critical to ensure that search engines can optimally crawl, index, and rank your content.
Thus, your robots commands, sitemap, indexation rules, and internal linking structure will play a very important role in how your site will maximize traffic, and increase revenue.
4 Questions to Ask When Hiring SEO Agency For Your Publishing House
Are My Expectations for the Campaign Realistic?
One of the biggest ways to set yourself up for failure is when you have expectations that are beyond realistic. Having goals is never a bad thing but it’s counter-productive if it’s unachievable. This issue can also go both ways when a prospective agency gives lofty promises to attract new clients.
If an agency promises things like the #1 position in Google or dubious ROI results, you should run the other way. A good agency will only outline the things that they can do for your small business and not promise anything until they’ve analyzed your marketing strategies.
Do You Provide Customized Digital Marketing Strategies?
Every business has unique needs so it doesn’t make sense to use a template approach to marketing. Although agencies must have refined methods and techniques to demonstrate repeatable outcomes, they should always formulate strategies that will work best for a certain business.
Once the agency analyzes your goals and current strategies, they should have no problem tailoring a marketing strategy from the ground up. If the agency offers cookie-cutter techniques before even knowing your goals and marketing strategies, stay away.
Do You Have Experience Working With Companies Like Us?
How Will You Measure Success?
When looking for a Publishing House SEO and Digital Marketing agency, ask all your prospective options about what you can expect for reporting and analytics. What sort of key performance indicators (KPIs) do they track? In the best-case scenario, the ideal agency will measure multiple KPIs. Digital marketing is never considered a cheap investment, so it’s only fair that you want to make the most out of your advertising budget.
Every report should be in-depth, accurate, and meaningful for your company. Good reporting is about ensuring that you get the results that you need from the campaign
Ready to Rise Up On the Internet?
Fill out the form to get started!