The primary goal of online publishers is to gain maximum engagement and views for their stories. Are publishers making the most of the search guidelines that are available online?
There are many factors that play a role in getting your story ranked on Google and on other search engines. Through the course of this article, we shall be identifying these factors, while breaking them down into technical and non-technical SEO parameters that your website would ideally need to adhere to:
Non-Technical SEO Parameters
1. Quality Content
As a content creator, your answer to should be a big YES for each of the below questions.
- Is your content in line with its title?
- Does your story have a catchy headline that would interest a potential reader? Would someone who stumbled upon the headline, be urged to open and read your story?
- Has your content been complemented with relevant sub-headings?
- Has your content been paragraphed for improved readability?
- Have you used engaging media like images, videos and GIFs to enhance the interest of your readers?
- Have you added relevant links and references to support your stories, to increase credibility?
1. Ensure that your text is not copied from another website. The last thing your readers (search bots included) wants to find online, is duplicate text.
2. Your content must not mismatch with the title. Specific and reliable headings add to your website’s assumed transparency.
2. Site Structure
- A structured site helps improve user experience. It is important to ensure that your content, multi-page articles in particular, are consistently paginated.
- A user who is interested in your article is often keen to read about content along similar lines. Adding sections and categories to your website helps users discover related stories.
- Interlinking your stories tends to increase the visibility of individual articles and appreciably increases the time on site.
- Avoid using NEXT and PREV in a multi-page article. As a practice, using arrows as opposed to page numbers helps readers skip and traverse pages in an effective manner.
- Do not miss out on Breadcrumb navigation which improves the discoverability of articles and their respective categories.
3. Social Outreach
Social Outreach is mostly a DO for all publishers. Predictably, your online presence is enhanced every time you share your content.
- Sharing your articles across Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter increases traction as most users spend 37% of their online time on these social media sites.
- Leverage social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Delicious and Reddit will further enhance your exposure
Technical SEO Parameters
- Your WWW resolve must be set to your most preferred domain. E.g. is always preferred over quintype.com
- Confirm that your website is SSL Secured
- If you are a publisher who caters to multiple languages, ensure that meta language is declared. This is a prescribed practice for local news and magazine websites.
- Add a robots.txt file that allows search engines to crawl your website
- Include sitemaps to allow Google and other search engines to identify content on your website.
- For news sites, include news sitemaps and update them frequently enough to match article updates.
- Additionally, add video sitemaps if you have videos on your website. This would help to index your videos in Video search.
- Likewise, an image sitemap for a gallery of images.
- Verify that your website is compatible across mobile devices and web browsers
- Display a custom 404 page if the URL is typed incorrectly. This would allow users to navigate across the site, rather than moving out of the site
To be a SEO compliant website, DO NOT include:
- a noindex, nofollow tag in the script
- multiple pages with same title and description tags
- special characters like ?, +, #,_ in the URL structure
2. On-page SEO Parameters
- Live pages should have an HTTP Status code: 200
- A clear and concise URL structure that describes the page works best to attract more clicks to the URL.
- Have a unique Title tag, which is ideally 55-70 characters long, on every page
- Have a unique Description tag, which is ideally 160-320 characters long, that describes the content in the page
- Ensure that there is only one H1 tag on every page
- Add Alt text (Alternate text) for Images
- Create OG (Open graph) tags to control the content when users share on social media channels like FB, G+ and LinkedIn
- Include Twitter Cards to control the content being displayed when users share it on Twitter
- Adding a Canonical URL to consolidate link signals to the original URL
- Having multiple pages with the same URL increases ambiguity
- Category pages with irrelevant titles are a not recommended for any page on your website
3. Page Speed Load Time
- Have an AMP version for the story to load instantly on mobiles
- Check for <link rel="canonical" href="yourdomain.com/story-name" /> in the AMP version of the page. The value of the page should go to the URL
- Use image sizes relevant to the user’s screen size
- Check with TestwithGoogle for the story’s load time on mobile and Google Pagespeed insights for desktop version of the story
- Do not add multiple scripts which will reduce page load speeds
4. Schema Markup
Schema, as a concept, was introduced to help the search engines return more informative results for users.
- Use JSON/LD format for Schema Markup
- Add News Article schema for the story
- Utilize standout and keyword tag for each news story
- For a story on your website, you can use Article Schema
- For recipe based webzine, you can utilize recipe Schema
- Add breadcrumb Schema for all stories and category sections
- Add Search Action and social schema for the homepage of the news / magazine website
- Webpage markup is optional and can be included
- Video markup if there is a video in the story
- Image markup if there is a gallery of photos in the story
- Microformats /RDF formats are not as effective for schema markup
Additionally, the below four tips are the one stop mantra to help you raise the bar for your online presence:
- Add a link to your homepage on every story. This is a good practice, as backlinks are built when users share your stories
- Mandatorily add a RSS feed to your website! Plagiarists who copy your feed indirectly increase backlinks to your website.
- Add targeted keywords at the beginning of the meta tags.
- Share your articles on news aggregator sites like Dailyhunt. Newsvine, etc.
In a nutshell, it is essential to make your website accessible for visitors, and easily navigable for them to reach the stories they would like to read. By doing so, you are optimizing your website for any search engine.
Are you on the lookout to further increase your SEO rankings? Jump on the Quintype bandwagon to enable your stories to be continuously accessible and discoverable online.
Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org for a free demo!