SODP Dispatch - 26 October 2023

How To Measure Content Engagement, Google Trends – Getting Around Its Limitations, How To Optimize The News Tech Stack, and more tips and news for digital publishers

Hello, SODP readers!

Shakespeare famously wrote that "brevity is the soul of wit". When it comes to digital publishing, our managing editor Andrew Kemp argues that it might also be the soul of engagement.

In today’s issue:

  • Editor’s note: How should publishers prepare to engage future audiences?

  • From SODP: Content engagement – how to measure it

  • Resources: A guide to setting up your news tech stack + high-potential keywords identification tool (free)

  • Tip of the week: Cost-effective ways to get around Google Trends limitations for non-English speaking countries

  • News: What’s happening with SGE, data providers on the Google October 2023 updates, downward trend in Americans following the news


Engagement: Keeping It Short and Simple

By Andrew Kemp

Engagement - Editor's Note

Between information abundance and falling attention spans, how should publishers prepare to engage future audiences?

This is a pressing question as technologically driven changes in media habits become increasingly apparent.

Social media and mobile devices now deliver an endless buffet of bite-sized content, leading users to compulsively scroll through their feeds for hours.

Many publishers simply don't have a plan to cater to "grazers", who are challenging long-held industry notions of what readers want from content. And the tools publishers have relied on to identify website performance issues can’t pinpoint engagement issues at a foundational level.

Two US academics' study on engaged journalism — a decades-old concept that advocates for news outlets to consult with audiences on story coverage to foster greater engagement — underscores this challenge.


How to Measure Content Engagement

By Leo Maurer

How to measure content engagement

Publisher success boils down to attracting, keeping and growing audience numbers. And that depends on producing killer content.

Successful content must be visible, memorable and shareable to stand a chance in an increasingly crowded content arena. Every new piece needs a catchy headline, stellar SEO, eye-grabbing visuals and compelling storytelling.

This makes content engagement a critical metric to understand, given that it defines how effective publishers are connecting with their audiences.

Let’s take a closer look at the vital elements of content engagement, dissecting what it means, the best ways to measure it and techniques to enhance it.


By Vahe Arabian

Is Google Trends equal across all countries despite having the majority share of search? Unfortunately, not...

Even taking out real-time trends from the picture, for primarily non-English speaking countries outside of North America, APAC and Europe I've seen:

  • Limited search results filtering

  • Having to revert back to inputting English queries for 'topic' results or benchmarks to show localized news, even after spending a lot of time finding translations

  • Lack of real-time.

What are some cost-effective tips to get around this?

  • Google Search Console - go to your source of truth and let success breed success of new ideas and queries you might not have heard of

  • Use real-time or 1hr fast update tools like Advanced Web Ranking on top stories feature ranking across your and competitors' ranking terms

  • Realtime traffic from other sources – i.e., social – to indicate stickiness - just make sure there are some evergreen-natured aspects

  • Use Glimpse freemium for related searches overlay in Google Trends - more often than not it will show you news aspects that are evergreen in nature i.e. [name] biography, explainers etc.

  • Look at US / global trends and see if they apply locally. Subscribe to the daily Google Trends newsletters (US & UK editions) to see if anything applies

  • Topic/keyword research - rely on historical searches and trends particularly if it's event/holiday driven and develop your news clusters.


📖 Optimizing the News Tech Stack – A guide by News Product Alliance

As you are determining what your tech stack for 2024 should look like – what you need, whether you should build it in-house or purchase from a third-party vendor, etc. – check out this framework developed by Felicitas Carrique to help you in the decision-making stage.

🛠️ High potential keywords

Check out this free tool by Lino Uruñuela that lets you easily identify high potential keywords opportunities using GSC data.