Magazines should be in the driver’s seats when it comes to cultivating unpaid Internet search. Still, most publishers believe their online products and Web sites aren’t getting nearly the number of hits they should be, says Mike Levin, vice president of interactive for Connors Communications. "Magazines are in the absolute, strongest position in ﾑnatural’ or ﾑorganic’ search. Google is super-sensitive to the rate that new content is released, and that’s perfect for magazines."
Although paid search is currently a $12.5 billion industry with the majority of the money being spent on display ads and keywords, Levin, speaking at the Magazine Publishers of America’s Magazine’s 24/7 conference at the Sheraton in New York, says free, "natural" search is the best way to go. Free search is "longer term," Levin says. "It doesn’t rise and fall with your (advertising) campaigns."
Levin offered the following advice to the attendees at the "Profiting in the Digital Age" conference:
Work together. IT, edit and advertising staffs need to work together to achieve "consensus, confidence and clarity," in their online content.
Write simple, keyword-focused headlines on edit copy. Headlines on online content should "get right to the point," says Levin, because search engines like Google, Yahoo! and MSN are tuned-in to the aspects of a page. "Once you set a search-friendly URL, a search-friendly headline and a search-friendly title tag, you can be as creative with your article and the rest of the page as you want to be," he says.
Offer blogs. Blogging allows readers and edit staff to continually update content on a Web site, pandering to search sensitivity to the realese of new content.
Stay branded. Search engines strive to bring users relevant and accurate content and magazines with solid reputations will rank higher on searches than their lesser-known counterparts.