If you have a new site that you’re trying to build organic search traffic for, targeting popular keywords can be a very difficult task to bring to fruition. Instead of focusing on these highly competitive keywords, you can grow your traffic and domain authority by researching and targeting trending topics. This process is called newsjacking, where your goal is to get ahead of the rest of the content creators out there and be ready before a topic or story peaks.
Keep in mind that when doing this kind of targeting, there is a caveat: the traffic from these users may not be particularly strong for lead generation and closing sales, and the bounce rates may be high. The purpose of targeting topics is to build your exposure and brand recognition, and improve the authority of your website to help you later rank on your target, money-making keywords. You are targeting people searching for specific information, whose questions you will answer or interests you will address. Don’t be surprised when they close the browser after they get what they’re looking for.
When building organic search traffic for new trends and topics, the first step is research. In fact, this will likely take up most of your time when doing a topic targeting project. You will need to understand the industry you are targeting, and identify trending topics that relate to it. For example, we started as a digital marketing agency based in Krakow, Poland. As a result, we are very active in following news and topics related to Krakow and Poland, especially when it comes to digital marketing and business in general. When the Radisson RED hotel chain decided to build a new hotel on the site of a long-standing and famous eyesore in the city, we created an article that was a great source of organic traffic for us. In the wrong language, at that!
We are also active on Twitter, Reddit and the Polish-focused Wykop, retweeting and sharing relevant content. Not only are we actively monitoring the trending topics that are relevant to us, but we’re also sharing content that our followers are interested in. Research combined with building trust in one, not a bad deal. Keep your finger on the pulse of Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ groups in your industry, and identify what is trending and being talked about. Instagram and Snapchat are the darlings at the moment, as these are the hottest and most hip social media platforms. There are many different social media platforms out there however, including some you may be overlooking.
Newsjacking vs Keyword Planing
Keyword planning is in and of itself a dated game, because the information you are getting is by definition old. When targeting trending topics, you want to identify which keywords and phrases will be showing up on keyword planners in the future. The purpose of this kind of topical targeting is to get ahead of the game, and predict the searches that will be happening. We want to be the first content marketers to produce content to get a jumpstart against everyone else. That’s not to say keyword planning isn’t important, it is! A properly SEO optimized website will use keyword planning, and continue to review and analyze their keyword positions. It’s just less relevant for newsjacking.
In the video above, Ryan Stewart explains how he was able to create a website from scratch that got hundreds of organic search visits per day in the first month using the newsjacking technique. In his example, the website in question is one related to sneakers. He follows the major sneaker influencers like Nike, Reebok, Adidas and the like. When some news comes out on Instagram or Twitter, like a new sneaker, he searches in Google to see who is ranking and for what terms.
Of course, ranking on the make and model of the sneaker isn’t going to be possible, as the major sites like Foot Locker will have this locked down. However, after searching for the main keywords he will use the “related searches” feature that shows up at the bottom of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) to determine which topics he can target. His familiarity with the industry further helps identify which keywords and phrases people will be searching for, and which are the most relevant to his own site’s identity.
Newsjacking and SEO Optimized Content
Once you’ve identified some trending topics, it’s time to build content around it and beat those who are doing the same. Ryan knows that people will search for sneakers as well as price, release date, and colors of shoes. He then built pages for every single combination, added relevant images with citations, and optimized header tags. Once that was all done, he also did the same for the women’s versions of these sneakers. Hundreds of organic search clicks per day, on a new website for a single topic? Yes, please. Fighting to rank for hyper-competitive keywords like “sneakers” would have accomplished very little, but with a little extra research and time, results can be had.
Newsjacking Overview and Conclusion
You may not be in an industry with so much news content as sneakers, but the lessons learned can apply to any of your marketing projects. Newsjacking, getting ahead of trending topics before the competition, is one of the current hot areas of SEO and it’s one that you should be engaging in, especially if you have a newer site. And remember, as time goes on and searches change, it’s important to update your content and keep it fresh and relevant.