Keyword Match: Publishers and SEO, Says Hearst's Dan Roberts
The silent thought in many publishers' minds when the subject of search engine optimization (SEO) comes up may be "Sounds great -- in theory. But how do I do it?" Speaking from experience, Dan Roberts, a senior SEO analyst for Hearst Digital Media of New York, says achieving top rankings involves buy-in by all involved -- from the editors to the top brass.
Roberts, who will be a presenter during the Publishing Business Conference and Expo in March, should know. In 2006, he helped create a search-friendly proprietary content management system (CMS) that boosted Hearst's 2007 search traffic by 51 percent and accounted for most of network's unique visits and its overall traffic. He recently provided advice for publishers who would like to know SEO for themselves.
INBOX: What can publishing executives do to enhance their site traffic?
DAN ROBERTS: Ultimately that's what search is about … answering the questions that your audience is asking.
INBOX: Should publishers who don't understand SEO hire an outside expert, or is it better for them to learn on their own?
ROBERTS: A publishing executive wants somebody who actually knows both, ideally, the digital space (search engine optimization) and publishing, and to have them bring the publisher up to speed as best they can.
INBOX: What components should publishers look for in content management systems to ensure that they're search-friendly and support their SEO efforts?
ROBERTS: Flexibility, first and foremost. The more flexible your CMS is, the better your chances that you'll be able to be competitive in the search space. … With CMS, it all comes down to keywords, and how you use those keywords, and where those keywords appear. And there are a number of critical fields where you want them to appear. And if your CMS doesn't support, for instance, being able to use keywords in your file names, it's not the end of the world. But it's a missed opportunity and it's one less opportunity to reinforce what that page is about.