Ways to improve TidBITS traffic and SEO


#1

OK TidBITS Talkers, it’s time to start pitching in. Incoming links are are critical to search engine optimization. If you’ve got a blog, website, Twitter feed, Facebook page, etc. and you see something on TidBITS you find informative or interesting, then give it a shout out and a link. Google finds and ranks pages by crawling other pages. The more connections, the better the chances are a site will be found and the higher it can rise in rankings. It will really help to do this on an ongoing basis, and it doesn’t have to take up much of your time at all. Facebook friends and Twitterers also click on links, and that social media can really build traffic too. (I don’t have any of the above items, so I can’t help with this one).

Some suggestions for Adam & Co. and anyone else interested in search optimization:

A thumb up “Like” button at the bottom of articles (it’s different from the “F” thingy to that allows comments along with a link in Facebook). As much as I don’t like Facebook tracking me, I know that clicking the button will help the author and publisher. Content that gets thumbs up can get shared more, and it’s an opportunity for someone who read the article to easily “like” it.

Is the new site AMP optimized? Google is emphasizing AMP, especially for mobile - it is a huge big deal and the crawlers have been trained to scrutinize AMPed up sites and consider load speed:

https://www.ampproject.org/

There’s a good summary of the importance of AMP in this article from CIO:

AMP is not directly a search engine ranking factor, and sites that adopt AMP won’t “get a massive boost in search ranking,” according to Richard Gingras, senior director of news and social products at Google, who spoke to AdAge.com. “All of the other (search engine ranking) signals need to be satisfied as well,” he said.

However, “speed matters” in search engine ranking, according to Gingras. “If we had two articles that from a signaling perspective scored the same in all other characteristics but for speed, then yes, we will give an emphasis to the one with speed because that is what users find compelling.”

AMP can also indirectly influence where Google places pages in search results, according to Petty. If an AMP gets more clicks and fewer bounces because it’s faster to load, Google determines that the page is valuable to users, and it’s likely to get higher placement in search results.

“Google is constantly changing up the rules of what performs best in search,” says Miné Salkin, digital marketing manager of Absolute Mobile Solutions, a digital marketing agency. “Is your website mobile-friendly and does it pass the speed test? If not, your business might be adversely effected by the search engine page results.”

https://www.cio.com/article/3091071/search/8-things-you-need-to-know-about-google-amp.html

There are more, and larger graphics on the TidBITS site now, and crawlers do look at meta tags, and having concise and informative meta tags can help. But it’s also important to consider load times for graphics on mobile phones, as this is critical for Google, who is paying Apple $3 billion a year to be the search engine on iOS, and this price will probably be jacked up when Apple negotiates the next contract.

And think about promoting to the editors at Apple News.

Marilyn


Need a link to this forum's homepage on main site
#2

One more thing… LinkedIn. It’s a great way to reach a professional audience for TidBITS and the Content Network. Posting snippets from articles with links might be a good idea, maybe video clips too. I can help with Likes on this one.

Marilyn


(Adam Engst) #3

Thanks for the ideas, Marilyn!

We made the decision to eliminate all trackers because we’re just offended by them.

No, although it’s not inconceivable this could change in the future. AMP has some technical and philosophical tradeoffs associated with it, and we decided to avoid it to start and see how things evolve. This article addresses some of the evolution:

Just to note, the new site is vastly faster than the old one, despite running on less hardware. @elivz has done an amazing job of optimization on a site that has to be dynamic for members (it’s mostly cached if you’re not logged in).

I’m finding Apple News to be a black box so far. If I can figure this out, I’ll try. But they also seem to have requirements for a massive set of graphics that might be very hard for us to create quickly enough.

I have to look back to see what we’re doing on LinkedIn… I think something might have broken in the automated posting of new articles.


(Tommy Weir) #4

Interesting to consider the nature of TidBITS over other Apple news sites. There’s a well-informed readership presumed within an unruffled presentation of Apple news and updates.

I’m reminded of a different site I’m also a member of, Luminous Landscape. It too has a well informed readership spanning a mix of professionals and highly skilled enthusiasts. Articles there range from discussions of creative approaches, camera news and updates, as well as in depth technical explorations of lens MTF charts and printer profiles. Most articles are members only and membership is cheap, 12 bucks a year. They are active on FB, Twitter, as well as Instagram and Flickr. They have a big resource in their collection of historical pieces and video series. Might it be interesting to curate a series of good stuff from the past?

With the wide range of Apple sites TidBITS has a different set of challeges for eyeballs of course.


(Adam Engst) #5

That is a good idea, and in fact, is part of the reason we’re doing “ads” for older articles that are still valuable.

I’ll have to brainstorm about other ways to surface older content that’s still extremely valuable. Suggestions welcome!


(Josh Centers) #6

More members-only articles is a topic worthy of discussion. It’s easier in our new system than the old one, and it seems like a direction many media organizations are headed toward. But at the moment, we’re primarily focused on getting everything working smoothly for WWDC.


(@lbutlr) #7

One thing that I’ve noticed that makes sharing URLs more bothersome is that if I click on an article rom tidbit-talk, I get a redirect URL something like this:

https://talk.tidbits.com/clicks/track?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftidbits…(URL Encoded link)

t least one site I wanted to post a link to rejected the link because of “track?” in the URL, so I had to go back to the article, click the header to load the main site, then find the article and click it to get the real “clean” URL.


#8

One thing that I’ve noticed that makes sharing URLs more bothersome is that if I click on an article rom tidbit-talk, I get a redirect URL something like this:

https://talk.tidbits.com/clicks/track?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftidbits…(URL Encoded link)

t least one site I wanted to post a link to rejected the link because of “track?” in the URL, so I had to go back to the article, click the header to load the main site, then find the article and click it to get the real “clean” URL.

I’ve found this also. When I copy and past a headline into a response to a message, it often shows up formatted when I get the message in Mail although it was in plain text when I pasted it into the message.

Marilyn


(Adam Engst) #9

I’m having trouble reproducing this. Can you give me a specific example of a URL that’s formatted this way? Every URL I hover over, click, or Control-click and choose Copy Link Address shows just the URL.


(Adam Engst) #10

I think that’s just Discourse seeing that what you pasted as plain text actually maps properly to the internal Markdown that it uses, so it renders the Markdown appropriately. The Discourse editor is really quite sophisticated.

For instance, the bit of your post that I quoted above actually looks like this in the Discourse editor:

[quote="MMTalker, post:8, topic:4822"]
When I copy and past a headline into a response to a message, it often shows up formatted when I get the message in Mail although it was in plain text when I pasted it into the message.
[/quote]