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December 22 2010


Presentations: SEO for B2B and specialist publishers

We’re sharing as many of the slides and presentations given by our speakers at news:rewired – beyond the story, 16 December 2010, as possible. They’ll be grouped by session or you can view them all by looking at the presentations category on this site.

You can view videos from this session at this link ADD LINK

Frank Gosch

James Lowery

Malcolm Coles

December 20 2010


How specialist publishers can compete with national news organsations for SEO

A guest post from news:rewired speaker and SEO and content strategy consultant Malcolm Coles

When national news organisations like the Mail or the BBC take an interest in your specialism, they can siphon off all your search traffic. All of a sudden, you go from being the number one result on Google for a given search term to being buried under a mass of news stories from the mainstream media.

In my last post here I talked about how you should make sure your site is put together in the right way for search engines – that’s a key first step in getting SEO traffic. In the SEO session on the day, I talked about three tactics that celebrity gossip site Holy Moly uses on a day to day basis to help it compete against all of the other sites offering news about celebs.

Know what people are searching for
The first key tactic is to understand how people are searching. There are lots of ways to work out what people are searching for right now – although Yahoo announced the death of one of those, Yahoo Buzz, on the day of news:rewired itself!

So by using Google Autocomplete to work out that people were searching for “Leslie Nielsen quotes” the day of the actor’s death, Holy Moly used that as the angle for its story. It was the number one result for three hours for that search, and got 5,000 viewers – all from just a few seconds’ digging about.

Work out when and how people search
Another key tactic is to work out when people search. If you know an event is coming, you can use your own analytics data and tools like Google Insight to understand how people search in the run up to an event, during it, and afterwards. Holy Moly looks at this data to work out when and what to write about reality TV shows, for instance.

This graph shows search engine traffic to the site for searches on Karen Gillan’s underwear. The searches coincide almost exactly with when Doctor Who was on TV. What’s more, the individual spikes are Saturdays and Sundays – when Doctor Who is broadcast. Data like this means Holy Moly understands it’s worth writing about Karen Gillan in the runup to weekends when Doctor Who is on, and not any other time. Which is probably why, with the Doctor Who Xmas special on its way next week, their latest Karen Gillan underwear story has just gone live…

Look after your searched for pages
Once you’ve got a page that gets you lots of search traffic, make sure you look after it. With news sites, it’s easy for stories to move deeper and deeper into date based archives until eventually search engines forget all about them.

So if you have a page that gets lots of search traffic, keep linking to it from new relevant news stories. That way you can keep reminding search engines that it exists and that it’s important.

Another problem can be search engines showing the “wrong” page. For instance, Holy Moly has an old page about Karen’s underwear that appears top of the search results. There are similar issues with Holy Moly’s stories from previous years’ reality TV shows turning up when people search as opposed to the current years’ pages (or Big Brother pages showing up when people search for Celebrity Big Brother).

When this happens, you should go to the “wrong” page and insert a link to what you think the “right” page is – and also make sure you find ways to link to the newer “right” page from other stories you write. The more you do this, the more you signal to the search engines that the newer page is a better result when people are searching.

If you need any advice about SEO and your own site, feel free to contact me on Twitter or at my content strategy and SEO blog.

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August 24 2010


March 04 2010


Is the BBC really falling out of love with blogging?

From reading recent media news you might think the the BBC’s passion for blogging was cooling.

First off, we learnt (via the Times initially, and then confirmed by the BBC) that the corporation is to significantly cut back its web content and reduce the number of online staff.

Then on Tuesday evening, BBC political editor Nick Robinson said he no longer read the comments on his own Newslog. Rather than widening the political debate, commenters were “people who have already made their minds up, to abuse me, to abuse each other or abuse a politician”, he said at an Election 2.0 debate at City University London.

Finally, as academic and blogger Alfred Hermida flagged up, the BBC Strategic Review labelled the blogosphere as “vast and unruly”. The report says:

Above the vast and unruly world of the blogosphere, professional media power may actually concentrate in fewer hands. Individual plurality may increase but collective, effective plurality decrease – with societies around the world left with fewer reliable sources of professionally validated news.

Professor Hermida, who specifically researches the BBC,  was surprised by the language and suggests reminding director general Mark Thompson that the BBC is part of the blogosphere itself:

Perhaps Forrester analyst Nick Thomas when he says that “Mark Thompson does not ‘get’ digital in the way that even his much-maligned predecessor John Birt did.”

But before we get carried away with the BBC’s blogging / web apathy, let’s take a step back. Malcolm Coles’ easy-read guide to the Strategic Review comes in handy here.

For one, as Coles notes on Econsultancy, halving the number of sections on the site is not quite the same as halving the size of the site. “The overall quality will be improved by closing lower-performing sites and consolidating the rest,” he reports.

And proactive web interaction will be developed. From Coles’ post:

The BBC also plans to open up its programme library (outside the areas with high commercial value) “over time” within BBC Online as a publicly accessible ‘permanent collection’.

The review says it will make programmes available on demand “alongside the component parts of those programmes (segmentation), programme information (full catalogue) and additional, complementary content (programme support”. And the site will look to deliver audiences through propositions like the BBC’s Wildlife Finder “which maximise the public value of archive programming”.

(…) It’s pledged to “turn the site into a window on the web” by providing at least one external link on every page and doubling monthly ‘click-throughs” to external sites: “making the best of what is available elsewhere online an integral part of the BBC’s offer to audiences”.

Anyway, read the report – or Coles’ summary – for yourself. PDF at this link.

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January 18 2010


Who are you calling Twitters?

It looks like an Express.co.uk story about the BBC and Twitter has been removed. Originally available at this link http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/152233/Is-the-BBC-run-by-a-bunch-of-Twitters-, it now shows as a missing story.

The story, ‘Is the BBC run by a bunch of Twitters?’ can, however, still be found via the cache. As Malcolm Coles noted on his blog yesterday, the Sunday Express claimed that some BBC Twitter accounts, such as Radio 5 Live’s Victoria Derbyshire, were being followed by only one or two people.

But does the Express understand how Twitter works? Coles first suspected that the journalists muddled the account names, and now claims they’ve mixed up ‘follower’ and ‘following’ numbers.

So Radio 5 Live’s @vicderbyshire actually has 3,692 followers but only follows 2 people (in fact, perhaps thanks to the story, her number of followers seem to be on the rise).

Oops. Journalism.co.uk tried to clarify the situation with Express.co.uk. But it’s no comment for now,  and we’re waiting a response from the legal department who deal with all enquiries about missing stories.

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January 08 2010


Top five UK journalism blogs and Tweeters in 2009 (and who to watch in 2010)

With the proviso that journalism blogs and bloggers come and go, we have selected our own personal favourite journalism bloggers and tweeters. These are our absolute must-reads. We realise this is a somewhat subjective exercise, so please add your own in the comments below, or via Twitter to @journalismnews.

Top five UK journalism blogs and Tweeters of 2009

As chosen by John Thompson, founder, Journalism.co.uk:

Best to follow on Twitter:
@GordonMacmillan, @malcolmcoles, @adamwestbrook, @paulbradshaw, @mbites, @marcreeves

Best blogs:
Malcolm ColesJon Slattery, Adam Tinworth, OJB, Adam Westbrook (pictured below, left to right)

As chosen by Laura Oliver, editor, Journalism.co.uk:

Best to follow on Twitter:
@georgehopkin, @nigelbarlow, @MrRickWaghorn, @gordonmacmillan, @psmith

Best blogs:
Sarah Hartley, Alison Gow, Adam Tinworth, Martin Belam, Jon Slattery (pictured below, left to right)

As chosen by Judith Townend, senior reporter, Journalism.co.uk:

Best to follow on Twitter:
@gingerelvis, @samshepherd, @badjournalism, @jowadsworth, @digidickinson

Best blogs:
Jon Slattery, Martin Moore, Charlie Beckett, The Media Blog, Sarah Hartley (pictured below, left to right)

As chosen by the Journalism.co.uk team:

Five blogs to watch in 2010

  • Marc Reeves: former Birmingham Post editor, with new projects on the go.

Five Tweeters to watch in 2010

  • @timesjoanna, for her excellent social media and online journalism links.
  • @michaelhaddon, former City student with an interest in political online media; now working at Dow Jones.
  • @joshhalliday, at the centre of the UK student journalist blogging conversation; lots to look at on his own blog.
  • @coneee, the NUJ’s first full-time blogger member, currently completing an MA at City University.
  • @marcreeves, for the latest on what the former regional editor is up to.

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November 12 2009


Malcolm Coles: Gordon Brown letter – Sun misjudges readers’ mood

This is a cross-post from Malcolm Coles’ website www.malcolmcoles.co.uk.

Update: There are suggestions on a Guardian story that the Sun moderators haven’t been putting through comments that are critical of the Sun’s position …

Is the Sun censoring pro-Brown comments?

Is the Sun censoring pro-Brown comments?

Original post
The Sun is running a campaign against Gordon Brown. But I’ve analysed the comments on its website – and readers disagree with its stance by a ratio of more than 3 to 2.

Gordon Brown letter story in the Sun

Gordon Brown letter story in the Sun

The paper has exploited the grief of Jacqui Janes over her son Jamie’s death in Afghanistan to attack the PM – because his handwritten letter of condolence was supposedly disrespectful due to sloppy writing and (disputed) spelling errors.

It’s loathsome journalism that ignores the effect of his disability (the PM is blind in one eye).

And it seems Sun readers are mostly on the Prime Minister’s side.

Of the 100+ comments on the story (don’t worry, I’ve nofollowed those links) when I checked, 111 expressed a view for or against Jacqui Janes or Gordon Brown (the rest commented on other issues or corrected people’s spelling errors). Of these:

  • 42 were anti Gordon or pro the Sun’s stance.
  • 69 were pro Gordon or anti the Sun’s stance.

So that’s more than 60 per cent who don’t agree with the Sun, and less than 40 per cent who do.

Sample comments from those who agree with the Sun’s stance:

Comments agreeing that Gordon Brown was wrong

Comments agreeing that Gordon Brown is “discusting”

Some comments from those opposing it:

Comments defending Gordon Brown

Comments defending Gordon Brown

The Sun is channeling this woman’s grief into a personal attack on the Prime Minister.

It’s refusing to make allowances for his disability (maybe we could next attack the war wounded for being workshy benefit scroungers?).

And it’s facilitating her breaking data protection laws by releasing a recording of a private phone call.

The whole thing is sickening – let’s hope that observing its readers’ reactions will lead to an end to this (not that this happened in the Jan Moir case) – and preferably prosecution of the Sun over the data protection offence.

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