Tag Archives: daily mail

How newspapers SEOed Patrick Swayze’s death

When news breaks, if you want to do well in Google for relevant searches, publish early, publish often and put your keywords at the front.

The Guardian's Patrick-Swayze tag page

The Guardian's Patrick-Swayze tag page

From an SEO point of view, the more stories you can pump out targeting different (or even the same) keywords, the more chance you have of appearing at the top of Google’s search results – and scooping up the traffic.

Get it right, and you can appear twice in the web results – and twice in the news results that Google often shows above them for breaking-news-related searches.

Some of the newspapers may have taken this a little bit far with news of Patrick Swayze’s death

  • The Guardian published 15 stories today (Tuesday 15th), all available from its existing Patrick Swayze tag page. Do we really need 15 stories on this?!? About half had a title that began with ‘Patrick Swayze’.
  • The Telegraph published 10 pages, and while it doesn’t have as many tag pages as the Guardian, it did feature one of its two obituaries (here and here) as a link from its ‘hot topics’ list on its home page, giving it a boost in Google’s web-result rankings. The screenshot, below, shows that it may have run out of ideas to get to 10 pages – the two bottom ones shown are very similar. Also, nine out of 10 of these stories have a title beginning with ‘Patrick Swayze’. The other is just called ‘Dirty Dancing – time of your life’. Now that is front-loading keywords.
  • The Mirror pumped out 5 pages today, and also set up a tag page at some point during the day (they didn’t have one before lunch), hoping to target the searches for ‘patrick swayze’ (yes, they forgot to capitalise it in their haste to set it up). The titles of all 5 begin with ‘Patrick Swazye’.
  • The Independent published 4 pages.
  • The Times managed just 3 pages – maybe with a paywall coming they are less interested in SEO these days ..
  • The Sun published only 2 pages.
  • The Mail published just 1 massively long story – on top of its  existing tag page for the actor. Interestingly, the paper recently claimed it wasn’t interested in celeb stories to drive traffic (although I claimed Michael Jackson was behind its June ABCe success).

The papers weren’t all that successful in their SEO efforts.

The 4th and 5th most viewed stories seem a little bit similar ...

The 4th and 5th most viewed stories seem a little bit similar ...

US sites dominated Google’s results for a search on ‘Patrick Swayze’ and ‘Patrick Swayze death’. The Telegraph did though take the top two web search spots for a search on ‘Patrick Swayze obituary’.

Keith Floyd has also died – and it was a similar story in terms of volume of stories. The Telegraph, for instance, has published 8 stories and the Guardian, via its tag page, published 9. The Guardian pipped the Telegraph to win the results for a search on ‘Keith Floyd obituary’.

If you ever want to target what people are searching for around breaking news, I recently compared the different Google tools for a search on X-factor related terms. And if you want to see SEO taken to the dark side, check out this method of newspapers and paid links.

UK newspapers add 213,892 Twitter followers in a month

National UK newspapers had 1,471,936 Twitter followers at the start of September – up 213,892 or 17% on August 1 (when they had 1,258,044 followers).

You can see the September figures (orignally posted here) below or here.

I have more Twitter statistics here.

Guardian the most bookmarked newspaper on delicious

The Guardian has more URLs bookmarked on Delicious than any other UK newspaper, as I first revealed here (with the original video here)

There are 10,914 Guardian URLs bookmarked, with the Times coming 2nd (3,944) and the Independent in 3rd place (3,196).

Newspaper
website
Bookmarks on Delicious
Guardian 10,914
Times Online 3,944
The Independent 3,196
Telegraph 2,258
The Sun 1,409
FT 1,303
Daily Mail 785
Mirror 624
Express 197

Quarkbase must be using the Delicious API but it doesn’t say where it gets the number. Click the papers’ name to see the Quarkbase figures (and more).

The stickiness of UK newspaper sites compared

Visitors to UK newspaper sites look at an average of 2.5 pages a day, according to data from Alexa. But 62.8% of users look at just one page (figures originally posted here).

In terms of daily page views per user, the Sun (4 pages), Guardian (3.1) and Telegraph (2.9) are above average. Visitors to the Mail site look at just 2.4 pages a day – so while the Mail may have come top in the July ABCe figures, maybe its large number of overseas visitors aren’t staying to look round the site.

Stickiness of UK newspaper sites

Newspaper Daily page views
per user
Bounce
rate (%)
The Sun 4 48.5
Guardian 3.1 59.2
Telegraph 2.9 65.2
Daily Mail 2.4 60.7
Times Online 2.4 59.7
Independent 2.2 70.4
FT.com 1.9 66.8
Mirror 1.7 67.5
Express 1.7 66.7
Average 2.5 62.8
  • Better than average figures are in bold.
  • The bounce rate is the percentage of visits that consisted of just one page (so a low number is good).
  • These figures are 3-month averages. These change on a daily basis at Alexa – so they may have altered slightly by the time you check. Click the papers’ names to see the current data.
  • The overall average at the bottom is a simple average – it has not been weighted by traffic.

Page views vs bounce rate

The table is ranked by daily page views per user. The bounce rate is another measure of stickiness. It doesn’t exactly correlate with page views, as papers may have differing proportions of loyal, engaged users who visit lots of pages. The more pages that these users visit, the better the page view figure – but they won’t affect the bounce rate.

The Telegraph has a worse bounce rate than the sites near it in the table, perhaps because the great success with its Digg tool doesn’t always lead to multi-page visits?

Using Alexa data

There are issues with using Alexa data like this as it underrepresents UK users, who may have differing usage patterns to other visitors. However, as it seems to underrepresent them more or less equally, the rankings should be OK even if the absolute figures are all out by the same margin.

How US traffic is vital for UK newspaper sites

The latest figures for UK users  from the audited ABCes together with Compete‘s figures for American site usage show how USA traffic is vital for UK newspaper sites (figures originally posted here).

On average, US traffic is 36.8% of the UK traffic (ie there is just over one US visitor for every 3 UK visitors). The figure for the Telegraph is slightly higher (44.5%) and for the Mail it’s a massive 62.5%.

Newspaper
site
USA
visitors
(Compete)
UK
visitors
(ABCe)
US users
as % of UK
Daily Mail 5,199,078 8,316,083 62.5
Telegraph 4,087,769 9,184,082 44.5
Times Online 2,805,815 7,668,637 36.6
Guardian 3,676,498 10,211,385 36.0
Independent 1,317,298 3,781,320 34.8
The Sun 2,419,319 8,704,036 27.8
Mirror 748,098 4,907,540 15.2
FT.com 5,960,589 n/a n/a
Express 63,216 n/a n/a
Average 2,919,742 7,539,012 36.8

These figures are all for June 2009. The FT wasn’t audited in June’s ABCes. The Express isn’t in the ABCes. I had planned to use Alexa data but Compete seems a bit more robust.

The figures are further proof that the Mail’s success in the June ABCes was driven by American searches for Michael Jackson’s kids.

Did Michael Jackson’s kids make the Daily Mail the most visited UK newspaper site in June?

The Daily Mail surprisingly overtook the Telegraph and Guardian in the June ABCes – with more unique visitors than any other UK newspaper (this is a cross-post of my original June ABCe analysis on my blog).

However it was only 4th in terms of UK visitors. Figures from Compete.com, which tracks Americans’ internet use, show that, of the 4.7 million unique users the Mail added from May to June, 1.2 million were from the USA. American and other foreign visitors searching for Michael Jackson’s kids – the Mail tops google.com for a search on this – drove this overseas growth.

US traffic to UK newspaper sites

Of the big three UK newspaper sites this is what happened to their US traffic from May to June:

This dramatic increase in traffic, compared to its rivals, from May to June helps explains how the Mail leapfrogged the Guardian and Telegraph.

compete-mail-traffic

Google.com was the main referrer to the Mail – responsible for 22.7% of its traffic. More on this below. Next up was drudgereport.com (a large US news aggregation site), followed by Yahoo.com and Facebook.com.

What was behind this rise in US traffic?

So what led to this sudden increase for the Mail? Compete also shows you the main search terms that lead US visitors to sites. Continue reading

Guardian winning newspaper-URL tweet war

Other people have tweeted (or retweeted) the Guardian’s URLs 328,288 times over the last 4 months – way more than any other UK newspaper, according to my full analysis here.

The FT and Times have more followers on Twitter than the Telegraph and Mail – but they’re not tweeted about as often. The Telegraph is in second place: 120,731 tweets by other people (ie excluding the Telegraph’s own accounts) have included a link to one if its URLs. The Daily Mail is 3rd with 95,851.

How many times each newspaper has had a URL tweeted by someone else

  • Guardian: 328,288
  • Telegraph: 120,731
  • Daily Mail: 95,851
  • The Sun: 33,580
  • Independent: 24,423
  • Times Online: 23,329
  • Mirror: 13,881
  • Express: 2,818
  • FT.com: 691

Continue reading

Newspapers on Twitter – how the Guardian, FT and Times are winning

National newspapers have a total of 1,068,898 followers across their 120 official Twitter accounts – with the Guardian, Times and FT the only three papers in the top 10. That’s according to a massive count of newspaper’s twitter accounts I’ve done (there’s a table of all 120 at that link).

The Guardian’s the clear winner, as its place on the Twitter Suggested User List means that its @GuardianTech account has 831,935 followers – 78% of the total …

@GuardianNews is 2nd with 25,992 followers, @TimesFashion is 3rd with 24,762 and @FinancialTimes 4th with 19,923.

Screenshot of the data

Screenshot of the data

Other findings

  • Glorified RSS Out of 120 accounts, just 16 do something other than running as a glorified RSS feed. The other 114 do no retweeting, no replying to other tweets etc (you can see which are which on the full table).
  • No following. These newspaper accounts don’t do much following. Leaving GuardianTech out of it, there are 236,963 followers, but they follow just 59,797. They’re mostly pumping RSS feeds straight to Twitter, and  see no reason to engage with the community.
  • Rapid drop-off There are only 6 Twitter accounts with more than 10,000 followers. I suspect many of these accounts are invisible to most people as the newspapers aren’t engaging much – no RTing of other people’s tweets means those other people don’t have an obvious way to realise the newspaper accounts exist.
  • Sun and Mirror are laggards The Sun and Mirror have work to do – they don’t seem to have much talent at this so far and have few accounts with any followers. The Mail only seems to have one account but it is the 20th largest in terms of followers.

The full spreadsheet of data is here (and I’ll keep it up to date with any accounts the papers forgot to mention on their own sites)… It’s based on official Twitter accounts – not individual journalists’. I’ve rounded up some other Twitter statistics if you’re interested.

Newspapers: turn off your RSS feeds

Update, 2 days later: Paul lets me guest post here (ie I wrote this, not him). It was going fairly well until I wrote this post … You can read my climbdown here

The latest subscriber figures (see table below, and first published in my blog’s newspapers category) show that, apart from a couple of exceptions, it’s time for newspapers to turn off their RSS feeds – and hand over the server space, technical support and webpage real estate to an alternative, such as their Twitter accounts.

(You can read some of the defences of RSS here and here)

The table below shows that only 3 of the 9 national newspapers have an RSS feed with more than 10,000 subscribers in Google Reader.

And most newspaper RSS feeds have readerships in the 00s, if that.

melanie-phillips-rssDaily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips has just 11 subscribers to her RSS feed (maybe there’s hope for the UK population yet …).

Despite having virtually no users, the Mail churns out 160 RSS feeds and the Mirror 280. All so a couple of thousand people can look at them in total.

The other papers are just as bad. And while the Guardian has a couple of RSS readers with decent numbers (partly because Google recommends it in its news bundle), it has more feeds than there are people in the UK … Continue reading

Which news sites do and don’t get a ‘last updated’ time in Google

Some news sites get a last updated time stamp in Google – and some don’t. It’s a bit of information next to the URL that says XX minutes ago and shows when the most recent story was published.

Not all news sites get it – although I can’t see any rhyme or reason (originally posted here).

Sites that do have it

The sites that do have it are: Times, Telegraph, BBC News, Express, ITN, Guardian. (Click the picture for a bigger version).

News sites with a time stamp

News sites with a time stamp

The Express could probably live without it, as I recently showed that they don’t update their site after 8am on a Sunday. Continue reading