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How to replace lost Google news traffic

     
6:59 pm on Sep 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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I have had success with being part of Google news. I was able to generate alot of traffic mostly because I timed the news articles to gain maximum traffic from the universal serps. For several months this traffic has fallen off ... alot.

Why has traffic fallen off? Maybe it is because there is more competition. Maybe it is because Google is showing news headlines less often in serps. Maybe my articles are using outdated headlines & keywords. Honestly it doesn't matter. I am now looking towards the future and trying to figure out how to replace my news traffic.

My news stories garnered me a good level of usage to my site, boosted brand exposure, added many white hat backlinks and a bunch of other benefits. Now I need to replace these items.

I am curious how would you do this?
Let's say you hit the jackpot in Las Vegas and now have $100k of extra cash.

Option 1 - Hire a professional publicist to get me interviewed on a regular basis with journalists and popular websites. This would get me backlinks and brand exposure but might be pricey.

Option 2 - Fire many of my writers and replace them with free guest bloggers who are qualified to cover my industry. I would save alot of money but would have to more closely monitor the content to protect the quality.

Option 3 - Launch a viral game that encourages people to visit the website on a regular basis to compete with others. This could be a great success getting me backlinks & boosting usage signals if it is popular or a huge waste if no one plays it.

Option 4 - Launch a video category. This would open up traffic from youtube & other sites but has the same achilles heel as running a news site that relies on Google universal serps.

What should be the next option?
How would you do this with a $100k budget?
(bonus points to the best ideas that use the least amount of cash)
8:02 pm on Sept 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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First off, make sure the writing is up to the quality you expect. If not, maybe you need to intervene to make sure it is.

Secondly, I'd suggest studying the issue of news headlines possibly being shown less. I observed some months ago that a page is not shown in the regular SERPs (or at least not highly) when they're included in News. However, I haven't done any formal studies on this to see how true it is. If it's the case that you're in News but headlines are being shown less, the problem could be exacerbated, and maybe you're better off leaving Google News and relying on the main SERPS.

Finally, video certainly can help, but don't put it on YouTube. If you have the budget, invest in a video hosting site and use a video sitemap that points to any story page with a video on it. That way you can get the benefits of video without being at YouTube's mercy. And I believe most of the big video hosting places have social sharing and embed options in their players, so all of the viral sharing options are covered.
9:32 pm on Sept 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I would like to chime in that game is probably not a good option. I do the most of my dealing in this arena. Lots of work and marketing needs to be done to have a semi decent successful web game. Unless you really have an awesome sticky idea that hooks people. But the web game space is pretty saturated and hard to break in. Lots of games go bust all the time. So unless you are already experienced with monetizing the games, it's probably not good and is a money losing endeavor.

With 100k expendable cash, I may look into purchasing other existing related sites to see if I can optimize them to bring about higher earning out of their own merit (without the marketing push from my main). I would purchase related sites and break into adjacent industries. Although getting good sites may be a hard and time consuming process.

I am iffy with video because it's double edged sword, great traffic source when google likes your vid, but once it stops ranking your vids, then it's completely wasted resource. When it's hosted on another video hosting place, then you are competing with youtube which loses in most cases as google ranks its youtube vid above all others the majority of the time. (I have not seen a secondary video site ranked higher than youtube in a long time myself).

Option 5: How about hire an editor and have him edit the content that you get from free post bloggers? That may be a possible option in terms of content generation.
1:14 pm on Sept 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Just to clarify, I meant hosting on a non-social white label video hosting service. Not sure how much I can name drop here, but there are a few good ones out there. The goal in this case is to get your own site ranking, not somebody else's.
11:05 pm on Sept 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I would take the 100K and do market / demographic research to better figure out what people wanted.

I would spend the rest enhancing my core competencies to better meet those demands.
5:52 am on Sept 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

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FYI this is the reason you have lost your GNews traffic: [productforums.google.com...]

Basically many big media publishers in the past few months have started gaming Google News. They refresh old articles to make it look like it's new, they do this so much that if you look on GNews you'll find the same 2 or 3 sources now dominate everything. This makes it impossible for anyone who isn't doing the same thing, faking publish dates to make everything look like it's ALWAYS new, to get any visibility on Google News now.

This was widely reported back in July. It has been reported to Google. Google has done nothing at all about it, which suggests that this is what they want to happen. When asked about it by journalists they gave vague answers which said nothing.
 

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