Monday, September 30, 2013
SEO - What is the media value of SEO traffic for publishers?
How important is SEO, or search engine optimization, to a magazine website or info-publisher (today’s new buzzword)? Where is the ROI? Is it an essential skill that your team has to have? Effective SEO requires a team effort, from the writers in how they craft their words, to the marketing team when they broadcast the content on social media channels, to the web team when they tag articles and photos for search engine spiders.

Search engines favour quality content and this standard will ensure your content will rise to the top of the rankings. This emphasis on quality content by search engines has spawned content marketing services, and the creation of “Media Brands” by advertisers as part of their marketing mix.

Image via
Image via

OK then, we all know we need a SEO strategy. I am not an expert on SEO, so I asked Patrick Herman from the Search Engine People what a good strategy would be for today’s publisher.

“SEO is of paramount importance for information publishers and why shouldn't it be? You're spreading news across the Net! Think of SEO from even bigger terms, in ways that can really benefit the site. Use the Google Keyword Tool to source keywords you can write content around. You can quite literally create thousands of pages (of course, set up the standard on-page factors to help get found) of content that can be searched and found generating traffic from thousands of different keywords right to your site.

So, what would I do? I'd research keywords that people are looking for, questions that need answers, hot topics/current events. Write compelling content that people can AND will want to use and share via their social outlets. Your content can drive infinite visitors organically, through social traffic and by way of other sites wanting to pick up that great piece of content. Heck, you can even turn that great content into a video, tweets, an infographic and much more. And yes, this is all SEO, all about optimizing your content for search engines.

From an advertiser’s perspective you're adding more impressions, more targeted pages that an advertiser may want to be a part of and of course this all helps the bottom line in sales efforts.

You've got content and you need it to show up where people are searching. With an effective SEO strategy you can make sure all of this happens for your site.”

Wise words for sure from the SEO camp. Let’s see what the numbers tells us. I had a look at the COPA website stats on, a free public website monitoring web stats, and discovered what key words are driving search engine traffic to the COPA site.

TOP key words driving traffic to
1. copa awards 18.%
2. online publishers association 12%
3. worlds best online publishers 7%
4. hire a new grad in marketing canada copayment 6%
5. top canadian online magazines 6%
Source:, Sept 12, 2013

The traffic numbers are comprised of 18% brand, 25% subject and 6% unrelated searches. This tells me I am reaching a new reader through subject searches; but their true intent and search objectives when they typed these key words is still relatively unknown. Search engine traffic is a small percentage of the total at 3.7% at this point in time. We launched a COPA 2013 Judges blog on September 23 to help this grow.

Here is a funny Negative SEO movie satire on how to survive a hacker attack. Hopefully, it will scare off spammers. (Via
Here is a funny Negative SEO movie satire on how to survive a hacker attack. Hopefully, it will scare off spammers. (Via

Optimizing for search engine traffic can best be described as fishing for new readers. You need to have a rod (content) in the water. The more fishing lines (links) you have the more bites (visitors) you will have. Some fish may just nibble and go away and you may even catch a few (subscribers). You will never know what fish are biting at anytime (the anonymous world of the internet), but you need to be ready to catch them at a second’s notice (I want to buy now!).

- Martin Seto
About Me
Martin Seto

Martin Seto is the producer of the Canadian Online Publishing Awards (COPAS) with 30 years of life expereince in technology, advertising, media and creative exploration. He can be reached at marty(dot)seto(at) or 416-907-6562, and on LinkedIn.

Most Recent Blog Comment
Lorene Shyba says:
Full of terrific information, Thanks!...
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