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SEO Plugins for News Publishers

Top SEO Plugins for News Publishers

Start using the best SEO plugins for news publishers to increase your website traffic.

As more publishers switch their websites over to WordPress, there is greater interest in learning how plugins can extend the functionality of news websites. Plugins, which are pieces of software with groups of functions that can be added to WordPress websites, are written in PHP programming language.

One of the most popular plugin functions, for news publishers who are interested in growing their businesses, is search engine optimization, or SEO. Although WordPress is already a fairly search engine-friendly platform, plugins can help publishers extend their reach and ensure their articles receive high positions in Google and Bing search results.

Here are the top six SEO plugins for news publishers who want to ensure their websites show up in prominent positions in search results.

Top SEO Plugins for News Publishers

1. Yoast Plugin

Yoast is the most well-known of all the SEO plugins for news publishers. The plugin handles technical optimization and assists editors and writers in optimizing content before they hit “publish.” Although Yoast offers both a free and a premium version of its SEO plugin, the premium version is more popular—and more widely used—among news publishers.
With the Yoast SEO Premium plugin, publishers can optimize their content for keywords, keyphrases, synonyms, related keywords, and all word forms of those. Yoast can also keep an eye on a publisher’s most important pages and send out warnings when those pages haven’t been updated in six months. The Yoast plugin works both in WordPress’ classic editor and in Gutenberg.

2. SEOPress Plugin

News publishers who are invested in trying to improve their website rankings in popular search engines can use the SEOPress WordPress plugin to boost traffic and social sharing. The SEOPress plugin works incredibly quickly, and it can be used to build custom HTML and XML sitemaps, add schemas, and manage redirects of 301s. The plugin can be setup to remove both stopwords and /category/ in URLs, as well. SEOPress works on a freemium model. A number of features are available for free, however advanced features are reserved for publishers with Pro accounts.

3. SEMrush SEO Plugin

The SEMrush SEO plugin works a little differently than other SEO plugins favored by news publishers. The plugin actually offers up instant recommendations for content optimization, allowing reporters and editors to meet various content-quality requirements before they click “Publish.”

Publishers will need to connect or register their SEMrush accounts to use the WordPress plugin, and then set target keywords to get recommendations for content. SEMrush also lets writers set target locations and devices (like desktop or mobile), along with SEO content templates to promote cohesiveness among larger news teams. Although SEMrush’s SEO Writing Assistant plugin is free, users will need an SEMrush account to create an SEO content template.

4. All in One SEO Pack Plugin

All in One SEO Pack has positioned itself as a competitor to Yoast with its comprehensive WordPress plugin. The plugin works out-of-the-box for beginners, with advanced features like XML sitemap support, Google AMP support, Google Analytics support, and support for SEO on custom post types. The All in One SEO Pack plugin generates meta tags and automatically optimizes article titles for Google rankings. All in One SEO Pack is a free plugin for news publishers.

5. Broken Link Checker Plugin

The Broken Link Checker plugin does one main task, and it does it well. As you may have guessed from the name, the Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin monitors publishers’ websites and fixes broken links. It also fixes missing images. Both of these issues can derail a news publisher’s SEO, so Broken Link Checker fills a vital role. When Broken Link Checker detects links that don’t work, or missing images, the plugin notifies the publisher via the dashboard or by email. Optional features can be setup to make broken links display differently in articles and prevent search engines from following broken links. Broken Link Checker is a free plugin.

6. Rel Nofollow Plugin

Just like the Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin, the Rel Nofollow plugin fills a very narrow role in the SEO market. The Rel Nofollow WordPress plugin automatically adds the rel=”nofollow” attributes to post external links whenever posts are saved. The WordPress plugin also provides a checkbox that news publishers can check to exclude certain posts from the plugin’s action.

Have you tried any of these SEO plugins for news publishers? If not, now is the time to give these tools a try.

Launching a News Website

5 Steps to Launching a News Website

It all starts with a great idea. That’s the first step in launching a news website. But turning a great idea for a website into a viable business can get tricky.

Launching a news website doesn’t have to be expensive, and would-be entrepreneurs don’t necessarily need to be technically savvy to pull it off. As publishing tools have gotten easier to use, the number of independent news websites has grown. In the past two years alone, there’s been a 50% increase in publishers joining the Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, an organization that serves hyperlocal news operations.

What would-be publishers need in order to turn their ideas for niche publications into sustainable businesses is a strategic plan that encompasses editorial, business, and marketing.

5 steps to launching a news website

Step 1: Create a business plan

Launching a news website isn’t much different from launching a print newspaper or any other type of business. Everything begins with a business plan.

Come up with a mission for your publication—for example, “to educate members of the community about local politics”—and jot down some ideas about the topics you plan to cover. Once you’ve nailed down the editorial side of the operation, you’ll be better prepared to think objectively about how to generate revenue.

Use your business plan to outline your revenue strategies, which might include things like selling advertising, charging for subscriptions, or producing sponsored content. Looking at how much revenue you expect to generate can also help determine whether you’ll be hiring any writers or editors. A budget may also be necessary as a way to allocate resources.

Step 2: Select a platform

The most popular platform for local news websites is WordPress. In fact, more than one-quarter of the web—from bloggers to international media outlets—uses WordPress. Among independent publishers, specifically, WordPress has become popular because it’s low cost and easy-to-use. However, the specifics of your business plan will dictate which publishing platform is right for you.

When selecting a publishing platform, stick to those that offer flexibility and scalability. The last thing you want is to have to switch platforms right as your publication takes off. The best publishing platforms offer customizable designs, responsive sites, high security, and they’re SEO friendly.

Step 3: Choose the best plugins

Plugins will help expand the functionality of your WordPress website. Adding a plugin to a WordPress website is a way to gain access to a new feature without paying a developer to create that feature from scratch. For example, a publisher might use the Events Calendar by Modern Tribe plugin to add a fully responsive community calendar, or he might use the WooCommerce plugin to start selling physical and digital goods. Another popular plugin among online publishers is the Google Analytics plugin.

Check out this list of the top WordPress plugins for publishers for a more comprehensive look at how plugins can be used to improve the functionality of a local news site.

Step 4: Write valuable content

Once you’ve got a business plan in place and a website setup, it’s time to get going. Start putting together editorial content that aligns with your mission. Write articles, take photographs, and put together infographics or videos that will get readers excited about your publication.

Use the first few weeks as a testing period to determine whether you’re capable of putting together the content you envisioned on your own, or if you’ll need to hire outside writers and editors for help. Experienced writers will be able to write headlines with SEO in mind and put together content that impacts readers in a way that will drive traffic and boost readership.

Step 5: Start looking for advertisers

Advertisers will usually need to see a product before they agree to start advertising on your website, so hold off on looking for advertisers until you’ve started churning out editorial content at a regular pace. The specifics of your business plan will dictate where advertising revenue comes from. A few publishers will keep their websites as a personal hobby, and they can skip this step altogether. The vast majority of digital publishers will need to select an ad server before they can start accepting advertising. Many independent news publishers work with an ad serving solution like Broadstreet, while smaller bloggers tend to begin with Google AdSense before they branch out into more profitable avenues.

If you’d like to see examples of how others have gone about launching publications from scratch, check out publishers like Bklyner, Brentwood Home Page, and Baristanet. These publishers have all gone through the necessary steps to build thriving online businesses.

If you need help with any of the steps listed above, feel free to get in contact for a free video website evaluation.