The homepage of a website is not the end-all, be-all, but that’s how most companies and newsrooms think.
Others are concerned with driving traffic to the “join now” link on a page. That shouldn’t be the end goal either.
Vahe Arabian, founder of the State of Digital Publishing podcast and website, creates tools to help online publishers go beyond their superficial focus and dig deeper. He believes a good, strong practice of and expertise in search engine optimization is among the most important things a publisher should consider.
It’s also one of the most overlooked and misunderstood parts of the digital publishing world, he says.
Good SEO practices are “not widely disseminated,” he said. “Not even bigger publications like the Guardian, even if they have their own dedicated R&D department, it’s not being spread widely. I’ve seen other departments in the company not doing the same thing,” not applying the best practices used in one end of the building to another.
Based in Australia, Arabian said the United States and United Kingdom are more developed and more advanced than where he’s currently working.
“The main publishers here at the time were not really focusing on audience development and SEO. In the U.S. it was as big driver,” he said. “In Australia currently we have Fairfax and News Corp and a lot of publishers are working from there or are magazine publishers that are still starting to focus on digital first.”
Publishers are just starting to understand the need to transform and re-think old ways, embracing Google and Facebook as ways to drive traffic.
“Having a network is valuable,” he said. “Not having a dedicated online resource is what’s missing.”
It’s also what he’s working to build with his website and podcast.
“I like to focus on start-up potential and new ideas coming from there,” Arabian said. He also enjoys diving into the “martech” (marketing technology) platforms, talking with developers and solutions providers who are looking to focus on technology with enthusiasm as a way to move their audience forward.