August 31, 2012, 5:16 PM

U.K. news site modifies its content to increase traffic

The site’s strategy to get picked up by Google News could help e-retailers.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Lead Photo

Pluggedin.co.uk, a U.K.-based electronics and technology news site, wants tech enthusiasts to find its site and past visitors to keep coming back to it. And so it’s posting content that the Google News search algorithm likes. The strategy is helping Pluggedin get picked up by Google News, allowing it to expand its audience and attract more traffic.

Pluggedin worked with vendor Search News Media to create news content that would inform and educate readers and that would likely be picked up by Google News. The two companies analyzed popular technology-focused web content and topics using Google Analytics. They then developed a strategy to publish several news articles each day related to developments in the tech world.

As a technology blog, Pluggedin has a lot of daily news to cover as well as an active interest within the online community for any related news, says Dale Lovell, publishing director of Search News Media. Up until about June 2011 the web site focused mainly on buying-guides and had little focus related industry news. Search News Media reviewed this strategy with the team at Pluggedin and after analyzing search volumes for competitors and for specific keywords and news articles, the two companies decided to cover more trending news.

“Now any announcement related to new product launches and big announcements by the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and HTC is covered,” Lovell says. “We also increased the volume of the content created—from two pieces per day to four to five posts per day.”

The developers at Pluggedin also made sure that the web site was coded correctly for Google News to pick up its stories. For example, they created a Google News site map–which effectively tells Google which stories are meant to be picked up by Google News and indexed as part of its news searches.

As the traffic levels increased and the web site was included more often in Google News, Pluggedin was able to capitalize on that position by publishing more trending content that it knew would generate significant interest among readers.

For example, in the run-up to Christmas 2011, if Pluggedin ran any stories with the phrase ‘iPad’ included, it knew that story would generate between 5,000 and 8,000 views, Lovell says.

Pluggedin launched the new strategy in July 2011 and Google News began picking up the site’s news in September. Since implementing the new strategy, the site’s unique monthly visitors have increased from 25,000 in June 2011 to an average of 200,000 per month one year later, Pluggedin says.

Andy Cooke, web site editor of Pluggedin.co.uk, says any web site, such as an e-retail web site, can benefit from getting picked up by Google News and covering hot, timely topics that likely interest its target market. "The addition of Pluggedin.co.uk as a Google News publisher has not only made a positive impact on traffic but also helped to build brand awareness,” Cooke says. “Search engines, particularly Google in the wake of their recent algorithm updates,  continue to add significant weight in their results to content-rich web sites—so the value of creating content for practically any organization is now apparent.”

The news on Pluggedin covers technology products and consumer devices, and includes buying guides and other information. Current articles on the site cover fresh topics including leaked details on an upcoming version of the Nintendo Wii gaming system and the Nokia Lumia 820 and Nokia Lumia 920 Pureview Windows Phone 8 handsets. Site contributors include experts from online electronics retailer Comet.co.uk as well as an in-house team of editors.

"Google News inclusion has a major impact on web sites when it comes to traffic levels, brand awareness and engagement,” Lovell says. “The Pluggedin.co.uk figures show this clearly. Content not only grabs a visitor's attention, it can educate, entertain and enthrall people to a brand too, as well as acting as a conduit to opening up a means of communication between brands and customers via social networks. The message to brands is this: Get the content right and you can succeed online." 

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