Writing online, optimising for search engines and marketing your digital content via social media isn’t rocket science. In fact, the basics of digital journalism, SEO and getting seen on Facebook or Twitter are really simple, but it’s the rigorous application of them that can prove problematic for a lot of people. But you can learn how to nail your blog posts, get ranked first on Google and become a social networking expert by learning from generic celebrity X.
Discovering, sourcing and verifying articles:
There are a number of ways for online journalists to discover promising new stories. In addition to building contacts the traditional way, it’s possible to use social networking tools such as Twitter Search or Google Trends to monitor for a sudden surge in traffic for a term or phrase. And social networks can also be incredibly useful for finding people to quote or interview, in addition to specific tools for journalists, such as Newsbasis or Help A Reporter Out.
Using data in this way can be a temptation to emulate a content farm, but can also be useful for quality, investigative journalism and great content.
Delivering online journalism and SEO content:
Make sure your articles are written for people first, but ensure that search engines are also included in your audience with a few basic steps, such as including your keyword early in your article, ideally with a link to a relevant part of your site and the desired anchor text. And don’t forget to put your keyword first in your short and relevant headline.
Research variations on your keyword or phrase to avoid repetition, and don’t be tempted to just stuff your content with the same keyword over and over again as it won’t increase your ranking, but will annoy your readers. If you’re looking for relevant keywords, you can use Google’s keywords tool to find which are the subject of popular searches, whether for global or local audiences. You can also use H1, H2 and H3 tags on your site to ensure the right sections are highlighted.
Social Media and inbound links
Social Media won’t necessarily help you rank higher in Google, but it can drive traffic to your site, and also help to get content indexed more quickly by the search engines. You can post links to your content to Twitter, Facebook and Google+, and you should find that it appears in search results faster, particularly if it is repeated by popular Twitter users.
You can also gain inbound links by posting comments on relevant blogs in the same subject area as your article, as long as you leave genuine and interesting comments and your article is relevant. You can also email the bloggers and website owners who run sites in your area of expertise and ask if they’d be interested in linking to your article, quoting from it, or even offering to guest post for them.
The important thing is not to spam either your social networks or fellow bloggers, and not to worry too much about whether links are DOFollow or NOFollow – a natural ratio of incoming links includes both, so you’ll look like a spammer if you only have one.