How To Edit for Online & SEO

Written by Ryan Thornburg February 17, 2009 8:00 am EST No comments

One Pager Tip Sheet: Search Engine Optimization (PDF)

Lecture Slides

Editing Online News

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Newspapers & Movie Times: A Brief Case Study

Written by Ryan Thornburg May 23, 2008 12:37 pm EDT 2 comments

Being a dude and being a child of the ’80s requires me to go see the new Indiana Jones movie this weekend. I live  in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill region of North Carolina, one of the fastest growing regions in the country, and I wanted to find movie times.

Fifteen years ago I would have gone to the Chapel Hill News, the Durham Herald Sun, the Daily Tar Heel student paper, the Raleigh News & Observer, The Independent Weekly or The Spectator to get the times. Since movie times are commodity news, the paper I would have chosen would have been the one I found first — either at the bottom of my driveway or in a drop box on campus.

But here’s how I did it today:

  1. I searched for “southpoint durham movie times” on Google.
  2. My search returned 21,000 results, with 10 on the first page. Of those 10 choices, only one was to a newspaper site. I had six other choices before it.

What publisher of 165,000 daily circulation newspaper would have said, “It’s OK if every single one of our customers will walk by six other drop boxes before getting to ours”?

OK. The past is past. What should you do about it now?

  1. If you don’t have software that lets you easily see usage stats for your site, now is the time to get some. Many are free. Google Analytics is just one of many solutions. For the moneybags among you, Omniture is a popular (and I think good) choice.
  2. Look at your site usage statistics and determine at what percentage of referrers come from Google. See whether there are differences in behavior for different types of content on your site.
  3. Start getting serious about search engine optimization. And by “serious,” I mean this: Are you dedicating the same (or more) resources to search engine optimization and social network marketing as you are to your print circulation department? Until you are, you’re just hoping this Internet fad will soon pass.
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What I'm reading

  • Email… Not “E-mail”: Yahoo Creates Style Guide for Web Content 2010/06/28
  • Open Government Data | National Data Catalog 2010/06/27
  • Google And Twitter Ask Court To Reconsider 'Hot News' 2010/06/24
  • YouTube - Diller Sees Readers Adapting to Paid Online Content: Video 2010/06/22
  • From the "Dollars to Data: Online Financial Tools and Civic Media" workshop on Flickr - Photo Sharing! 2010/06/22

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