Objective – To get the site ranked on the first page of Google for “Goa News” within 3 months & drive organic traffic which could then be monetized.
Challenge – The biggest challenge was that it was a brand new website with zero backlinks and the site didn’t produce its original content. Google likes sites that produce their content as opposed to content aggregation sites.
Plus the news market was already a crowded market with established players that produced their content including powerful sites such as Times of India, Hindu, etc
Google also showed “Top Stories” results for news searches which would further push down normal organic results further below the fold.
Strategy – We needed to make sure that the technical elements of the site were right. Also unlike other websites, news sites derive most traffic from real-time news. Google News SEO is different from usual SEO and we aimed to optimize the site both for organic search as well as Google News.
- We started with the technical audit first- Redirected all the www version URLs to non-www versions, setting up Search Console, Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster, adding Canonical on all the pages, creation of XML news sitemap and adding robots.txt.
- We created different categories like location-based categories, education, politics, Covid, etc.
- Suggested the h1 tag, meta title, meta description and URL format for all those categories.
- Optimized the website design like allowing users to see the news on different pages, added social media sharing button, email subscribe option, a sidebar with different related news, etc.
Impact – Search engines started crawling the pages and indexing the news page as well as category pages.
- Added news article schema, organization schema, open graph and Twitter card tags on the website pages.
- Optimizing and adding h2 tags and showing different category news on the homepage.
- Submitted the site to Google News and got it approved. Optimized the Google News pages within Google publisher and added different categories to them.
- Add a menu on the website that has all the categories and added follow us on the google news button.
- Started with the link building activities to build site authority.
- Setup Google Adsense for the website for monetization once the site started driving decent traffic. This was instrumental in getting the site approved for AdSense.
- The same process was followed for 3 other similar news sites that the client had created.
- Pursued a more aggressive link building strategy by creating company profiles on high authority sites. Linking the news site from other sites of the client. This in turn increased the site’s reputation and trust in Google.
Result – From 0 organic sessions, we were able to drive 1500-2000 average sessions at the end of the 3rd month.
Keywords in the top 100 jumped from 14 to 451. The campaign started on 7th November 2021 and ended on 7th February 2022.
At the end of the 3 months, we were also able to achieve our objective of getting the site to rank on the 1st page of Google for “Goa News” in addition to several other important keywords.
The organic traffic has continued to grow even post pausing the campaign and at the time of writing (10th March 2022), according to 3rd party tool Ahrefs, the site has close to 1.2k keywords ranking in the top 100 of Google.