SEO has become a critical part of digital journalism and has a decisive impact on the accessibility of news online. Ranking high in search engines increases the authority and credibility of the journalist or publisher, as well as reaching a wide readership. Therefore, competitor analysis is one of the first steps to develop an effective SEO strategy. Here is a detailed and SEO-friendly competitor analysis guide for journalists:
Identifying and categorizing competitors
The SEO competitor analysis process starts with identifying direct and indirect competitors. This includes other news sources that cover similar topics or cater to the same target audience. When categorizing your competitors, distinguish between publications that are leaders in your subject area and those that are strong in niche areas but lag behind in overall popularity. For example, if you’re covering tech news, compile a comprehensive list of major news sites and innovative startup blogs that focus on technology.
Keyword research and comparison
Once you have identified your competitors, move on to SEO keyword research. Utilize tools to determine which keywords your competitors are ranking high for, which terms are driving traffic, and which topics are lacking content. This can be done with tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMrush. For example, a health journalist might tend to focus on terms such as “global pandemic impacts”, “health reform” or “vaccine developments”.
Analyzing content quality and strategy
Take a deep dive into your competitor content to determine which headlines are attracting more readers and which content types (articles, videos, podcasts) are performing better. Also, assess the timeliness of your competitors’ content, whether they analyze it in depth, and their level of engagement with readers. For example, you may find that a competitor’s journalist’s long-form investigative articles or short, punchy newsletters resonate with followers.
Backlink profile and authority review
Analyze the quality and quantity of backlinks to your competitors’ websites to understand their authority in search engines. Tools such as Moz Link Explorer and Ahrefs Backlink Checker can provide detailed information about your competitors’ backlink profiles. For example, for a sports journalist, backlinks from the sites of major sports organizations such as FIFA or UEFA are of great value in terms of authority and credibility.
Social media performance and interactions
Analyze your competitors’ social media strategies, which platforms they are more active on and how they interact with their followers. Learn about engagement rates, frequency of posts and types of content on platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Specifically, for an arts and culture journalist, live discussions on Twitter or visual stories on Instagram can be important engagement opportunities.
In this guide, I’ve tried to compile key insights to help journalists go step-by-step through the competitor analysis process and make informed decisions when developing their SEO strategy. Each step is not just a technical exercise, but emphasizes the content-driven nature of journalism and the importance of connecting with readers. Remember that in addition to increasing the accessibility of quality content, SEO should be in line with the core values of journalism.
This article was automatically generated with GPT-4, an artificial intelligence model developed by OpenAI as part of an experimental project. GPT-4 is an advanced AI technology that focuses on language modeling and is capable of generating text. The aim of this project is to evaluate the quality, comprehensibility and ethical boundaries of AI-generated texts. The content of the text is automatically generated based on the model’s training data and initial information provided by the user. Readers are encouraged to critically evaluate the text and understand the potential and limitations of AI technology.