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#Tip: Some background reading on SEO for mobile

February 24th, 2014 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists, Traffic

If your news outlet is thinking about ways to tailor its search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy for mobile, this post on Search Engine Watch on six top tips for producing successful SEO for mobile is a good place to start. The content is geared towards the retail sector, but the lessons are still valid for others to consider.

If you want to look into the subject in more depth it’s also worth taking a look at this post by mobile marketing experts mobiThinking‘s on the best mobile SEO practices to drive traffic to your mobile site. It gives special focus to considering how mobile SEO is different, before giving tips on making it local, social and fast.

If you’re more of a visual learner there’s also a handy video from Hubshout on how to conquer mobile SEO.

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#Podcast – Homepage analytics: A look at ‘front door’ traffic to news sites

October 4th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Podcast, Traffic
Image by paraflyer on Flickr. Some rights reserved

‘Front door’ and ‘side door’ traffic
Image by paraflyer on Flickr. Some rights reserved

This podcast looks at what percentage of readers of a news site land on the homepage.

Homepage traffic varies hugely, with big international outlets generally receiving a greater percentage of homepage traffic than many smaller titles with lesser-known brands.

Andrew Montalenti from describes news sites with large numbers of people coming to the homepage as “front door” sites, and those with low homepage traffic but a large proportion hits from social as “side door” publishers.

We also hear from Quartz, which last week celebrated its first anniversary. In the podcast, senior editor of Quartz Zach Seward says “homepages as traditionally conceived by news organisations will have diminishing value”.

We speak to:

  • Zach Seward, senior editor at business news site Quartz
  • Andrew Montalenti, co-founder and chief technology officer at analytics platform
  • Josh Schwartz, head of data science at real-time analytics platform Chartbeat

You can hear future podcasts by signing up to the podcast feed.


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#Tip: Check headline lengths with this character counter

Earlier this week we published a link to research on headline length.

A study by content recommendation service Outbrain found headlines with between 60 and 100 characters performed best.

We explained that the BBC opts for 55 character headlines.

If you want to check headline length then here’s a handy tool you can use to count characters.

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#Tip: Study finds headlines with 60 to 100 characters perform best

August 12th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists, Traffic


Outbrain, a content recommendation service, has analysed how headline length impacts engagement and has found that headlines with between 60 and 100 characters get the most click throughs. (It is worth noting that this study looks at paid links.)

Outbrain, which acquired analytics platform Visual Revenue earlier this year, analysed eight months worth of click through data on more than 100,000 English headlines for paid links that ran in Outbrain’s network.

The post explains the findings:

We found that moderate length performs best, with engagement declining as headlines approach either the shorter or longer end of the spectrum. As you can see in the graph below, headlines with 60-100 characters earn the highest click-through rates and these rates decline as headlines decrease below 60 characters or increase beyond 100 characters.

These headlines are longer that the BBC-recommended lengths, which was 55 characters when this post with tips on headline writing was published in September. Back in 2011 Econsultancy proposed a 65 character rule.

The Outbrain research found that 16 to 18 word headlines perform best.

When measuring headline length by the number of words, rather than characters, we found the same pattern of results. The highest click-through rates were again achieved at moderate headline lengths, with 16-18 word headlines performing better than headlines of any other word length.

It is also interesting to note this research by Outbrain on positive superlatives, and how ‘best’ and ‘worst’ do not appear to be compelling to readers.

On a related note, Visual Revenue, the analytics tool which is now part of Outbrain, provides news outlets with a tool for A/B headline testing. Half of the readers see one headline, half an alternative headline and then the one that proves to be the most engaging is then adopted and displayed to all readers.

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#Tip: Three handy Twitter tools

An article by the Guardian last week sparked a discussion on Twitter about the difference between the numbers shown on a ‘tweet’ share count button and the number of retweets.


Official Twitter RTs have been around since 2009. When a tweet is retweeted in this way Twitter does not treat it as a separate tweet so the RT does not have a separate URL. Twitter measures RTs by the number of times the original tweet was RTed.

Share count buttons

The share count buttons on a news story show the number of times the story URL has been tweeted out. It includes RTs as the they carry the URL. This number will therefore be greater than the number of RTs.


For example, this story on 100 Twitter accounts every journalism student should follow received 131 RTs, according to My Top Tweets (see below).

The URL of the story was shared 1,735 times on Twitter, according to LinkTally (see below).

Three handy Twitter tools

Online tools for analysing your top tweets, the number of times and article has been shared and how many people your tweet has reached.

My Top Tweets

This shows the most RTed tweets from a particular Twitter account.



This measures how many times a URL has been shared. It shows share numbers for Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.



This measures how many people each tweet reaches.



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#Tip: Become a Google Analytics Real-Time addict

If you use Google Analytics to track traffic to your news site, make sure you use Google Analytics Real-Time, which tells you the number of people on your site right now.

It shows referrals (such as those coming via Twitter) and you can also see how many people are reading on a desktop, tablet or smartphone device.

You can access ‘real-time’ via the main dashboard in Google Analytics.



The content breakdown, which shows the percentage of visitors reading on desktop, tablet and mobile, is accessed by clicking on the ‘content’ tab (below ‘real-time’). It is a relatively new feature which was announced at the end of March.


Have a go – but be aware that it is rather addictive…


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#Tip: Add the ‘send to Kindle’ button to your site or blog

March 21st, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists, Traffic

Image by kodomut on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Yesterday we reported that Amazon has created a ‘send to Kindle’ button that news sites and bloggers can add to their sites to allow readers to save the article for reading later.

Websites can get the button here and a WordPress plugin is at this link.



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#Tip: Driving traffic to your big interactive project

Image by ullrich.c on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by ullrich.c on Flickr. Some rights reserved

If you have invested a great deal of time in an interactive project, how do you ensure it gets seen by as many people as possible?

Danny Sanchez has written a tips post on his blog Journalistopia answering just that question.

His 13 pointers are at this link.

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#Tip of the day from – building communities and traffic

August 22nd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists, Traffic

On the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism site Maria Perez outlines some of the key takeaways from s session at the BlogWorld & New Media Expo about “strategies for creating and building a community people will participate in”.

In a post she gathers together some of the pointers shared on growing a community and building up traffic.

Tipster: Rachel McAthy

If you have a tip you would like to submit to us at email us using this link.

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Olympic figures: BBC reports 12m video views via mobile

August 13th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Broadcasting, Traffic

The BBC has revealed the figures showing the number of people consuming Olympics news across four platforms: desktop, tablet, mobile and television.

The BBC Internet blog reports that the broadcaster saw 9.2 million browsers to its mobile site and iPhone and Android Olympics app over the course of the Games.

The post also reveals the BBC clocked up more than 2.3 million browsers using tablets.

Writing on the blog, Cait O’Riorda, head of product, BBC Sport and London 2012, said:

Consumption of video content on mobile has been perhaps the key takeaway from the two weeks: we saw 12 million requests for video on mobile across the whole of the Games.

Overall the broadcaster had “106 million requests for BBC Olympic video content across all online platforms”.

The blog post has several interesting graphics, including one to demonstrate how people used each of the four platforms at different times of the day.

The key findings are:

  • PC usage maxes out during the week at lunchtime and during mid-afternoon peak Team GB moments
  • Mobile takes over around 6pm as people leave the office but still want to keep up to date with the latest action
  • Tablet usage reaches a peak at around 9pm: people using them as a second screen experience as they watch the Games on their TVs, and also as they continue to watch in bed

The blog also reports that the video “chapter-marking feature, enabling audiences to go back to key event moments instantly, received an average 1.5 million clicks per day. The chapter marker for Bolt’s 100m final win was clicked on more than 13,000 times”.

The most-watched livestream of the Games was the tennis singles finals. There were 820,000 requests for live video of the matches that saw Serena Williams and Andy Murray take gold.

O’Riorda states in the post:

The peak audiences for Team GB’s medal moments were bigger than anything we’ve ever seen. Over a 24 hour period on the busiest Olympic days, Olympic traffic to exceeded that for the entire BBC coverage of FIFA World Cup 2010 games. On the busiest day, the BBC delivered 2.8 petabytes, with the peak traffic moment occurring when Bradley Wiggins won gold and we shifted 700 Gb/s.

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