On-Page SEO

SEO  is a term that is well understood in most newsrooms.  Quite often it is understood as the death of journalism! But pragmatic journalists think of it as giving good headline, a well-worded caption for the photo in a page and so on. Sometimes, there are keywords and/or tags that need to be given as well.  That is SEO. On-page SEO. The elements that make up an article “on page” being “optimised” for search engines is on-page SEO.
A  digital newsroom would be in a good place if those (wo)mening it were comfortable with on-page SEO.  Even as journalists go about giving the right headline,  teaser text, caption, keywords,  knowing the right keywords to use in the help of members of the SEO team, would make for an efficient news operation. Indeed, recognising this need has resulted in many newsrooms requiring  journalists to double-up as SEOs as well.
What constitutes on-page SEO? What does it mean for us? Let’s discover:
Title Tag
The headline is quite often used as the title tag of the page.  It makes good SEO sense to retain the headline or article title as the Title Tag, but often the headline is long and appropriate for the article page but might be too long for the landing page, that is, the homepage of the category collection page. The desk will then spend time on giving a headline for the article page, then giving a short headline for the homepage that could go used as the headline in the homepage. For SEO purposes the long headline can be submitted as the headline for the article.
Maximum length: 60 characters or 575 pixels
Minimum length: 30 characters or 285 pixels
Organic Results:
Average title length: 50.19 characters
Average description length: 154.86 characters
The hardline format would be:
Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | News Org Name

The title tag is a very important element for search engines to rank the page. Thus it is quite evident that if the keywords that you associate the page with is closer to the start of the headline, it would carry a lot more weight. So the while giving the headline, one need not stifle the creative urges eager to give a smart headline, but that can often be left for the shorter headline. The headline for the article is best made up of keywords in order of importance, without affecting the meaning of the headline, of course.

Many content management systems (CMSs) make the URL for the article from the title. If  revisiting the headline after it is published is  required, it is necessary to disable change in URL even if the headline changes.

In a break news scenario it might not be required to fill in all the fields in the contentment management system before hitting the publish button.

The text that appears between the opening and closing title tags (<title>text</title>) place in the header of a web page showcases the content of the page or website on the search engine results page (SERP).
This element defines the title of the web page.
The text between thetag appears in the search engine results page as the “headline” of the webpage/website therefore it should be an “accurate and concise description of a page’s content”.
There are other factors to take care as well. Readability is one important consideration given that the title appears in the search engine results, while also being useful for a search engine bot.
Content King says, “don’t stuff your titles with keywords”. That’s easier said than done. Especially if you look at the title tags of some of the mainstream news website. They don’t seem to agree. Here are two news website that seem to have handover the homepage ‘headline’ purely at the hands of the SEO team.
NDTV’s title as on May 14, 2021 it does not use meta title tag. Some organisations have moved on to using microdata to help semantic search (We shall discuss it later.)

NDTV Title Tag

The Hindu on the other hand still uses the Meta Tag to submit the Title to search engines. Here’s how:
The Hindu Title Tag
While Indian Express also prefers to just make do with the Title tag and no meta title tag:

The Indian Express Title Tag

In case your title is too short, Google may use one of your headings instead.
Unique title tags throughout a website
your title is being overruled for desirable, high-volume searches
place your keywords in the beginning of the title tag, that improves the effectiveness of those tags much more
create a unique title for every page in the site,
descriptive as possible, and again, use the most important or effective keywords
the best title tags are those that contain targeted keywords, help develop the brand for the site, and are both concise and attention-grabbing.
really hard, therefore it’s important not to ponder too long about a specific title tag. Write the best one you can think of, publish it and see how it performs. Revisit your title tags periodically.
When OpenGraph, TwitterCards and Schema.org markup is missing, social media use the title tag

Meta Description
Meta description is often the teaser/intro of the article.  Search engines use this field too to understand what the page is about. Thus the use and hierarchy of keywords in the description helps in the indexing of the page. While writing a separate teaser for each news story is quite a challenge, often it is left out. The search engine uses the first approximately 150 characters of the lede to display on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). For lead articles that appear high on landing pages, such as homepage and section/category pages, having a distinct teaser that helps not only search engines but also user is common. For long form stories it isn’t with more time on hand, teasers with appropriate keywords and the right length helps the story perform well in search engines.

The Meta Keywords Tag
Body text
      — keywords: prominence, proximity, density and frequency
      — H1, H2…H6 tags
      — Bolding and italicizing

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