If you’re a magazine or newspaper publisher, you’ve likely been on the receiving end of an SEO (search engine optimization) reseller’s sales pitch. As we pointed out in our Expanding Into Marketing Services video series, publishers are increasingly positioning themselves to leverage their advantages versus ad agencies.
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of offering SEO to your advertisers, let’s get into why it makes sense. In this article, we’ll discuss SEO as it pertains to publishers—both in how it works and why it plays to your strengths.
Meaningful SEO Is More Than Just Keywords
Search keywords are a primary focus of SEO. However, the way that keywords factor into search engine performance has changed drastically in just a few years. Just five years ago, you might have been able to skate into the first page of search results with a straightforward keyword formula—you optimized a site’s titles, header, and body content with a few instances of the keyword you were trying to rank for. Voila, you were done!
Not anymore. Google and other search engines have become much smarter in the past few years, though. Now, search engines rely upon a variety of metrics to determine a page’s rank in search results. These days a page’s authority plays a huge part in the equation.
What is authority? In part, it’s determined by backlinks. When an outside website links to your page, you earn a backlink. As you grow your backlinks, your domain gains “authority.” More authority means a higher overall search ranking. Simply put, this is because search engines assume that your content must be quality if other sites are linking to it.
Publishers Can Leverage Their Authority
Charity Huff, CEO of digital agency January Spring, deals in digital advertising every day. And to her, the current SEO landscape is a boon for publishers. You have a built-in audience, and you can use that audience to propel your advertisers’ websites rankings upwards along with yours.
She says, “Publishers have brand recognition, and they have good domain authority. Now, let’s consider advertorial. It can be a part of an SEO content strategy for your advertiser. Your writing and photography can lend additional support to advertisers’ website efforts, while also benefiting your own site.”
In our Custom Publishing web video series, we argued that newspaper and magazine publishers have an upper hand over ad agencies as master storytellers. This is true with SEO, too. When you pair your writers with an SEO expert’s recommendations, you can create meaningful content that ranks well and reads well, too. Which leads us to the final piece of the puzzle—SEO recommendations.
How Do Publishers Make Skilled SEO recommendations?
When it comes to launching SEO as a service offering, publishers like you ultimately have two choices. You can outsource your SEO recommendations to an outside agency and resell the service to your advertisers. Or, you can hire a staff member who focuses on SEO and relays recommendations to your creative team.
Whichever method you choose, it pays to be all-in on the effort. Search rankings are based on hard reporting data that is shared with your clients. Charity says that a worthwhile SEO content strategy takes time, and you need to manage that expectation with your clients. But after three-to-six months, you need to be able to demonstrate an uptick that is attributable to your efforts. Otherwise, you risk burning the client relationship.
SEO for Publishers: Your Audience Makes the Difference
SEO is a complex and technical topic that takes more than just reading a blog article or two to understand. But as a publisher, we hope that this piece can put one thing into perspective: SEO as a service makes sense for publishers who want to capitalize on their two greatest strengths: their audience recognition and their capabilities as master storytellers.
For the full story, be sure to check out our Publishing Success series on SEO for Publishers with Charity Huff!