During the 2009 fall semester College Media Network quietly re-launched CollegeMediaNetwork.com.
For years this destination (and its predecessors: collegepublisher.com and y2m.com) had been a brochure site describing our business for a limited audience: potential partners and advertisers. No transactions or dynamic content from the network were available and it was a huge missed opportunity...until now.
CollegeMediaNetwork.com now collects content from across the country and organizes it in ways that are highly index-able to search engines. Research shows that more than 50 percent of traffic originates from search engines - meaning most people discover what they are looking for by a search versus a direct link to a news site.
The site's design was implemented to funnel visitors into category/topic/tag-based results of the college perspective from across the country. As an example of our initial success, we were able to increase the profile in search results around breaking news.
However, the benefits of the tagging system are not limited to breaking news. By clicking on a tag or performing a search, CollegeMediaNetwork.com visitors can get answers to questions like...
What do college students think about new movies? Find out
What about the college response to H1N1? Find out
By design, CollegeMediaNetwork.com does not host any content from CMN newspapers. Instead, the site routes clicks and traffic to the individual sites where the content was originally published.
CMN designers and programmers are actively working to increase traffic to this site by creating pre-populated search pages that cover a topic with highly relevant content – an on-going process that requires daily attention and tweaking.
As newspapers migrate to CP5, the relevancy of the site will increase – more catalogued content means more opportunities to be indexed in searches. The site also can buoy individual newspaper's page rage as the site serves as a network page (meaning a resource that each newspaper shares and receives credit for) and indirectly facilitates peer-to-peer references as far as spiders/search bots are concerned.
The CMN hat puts the value of the network into practice so that each newspaper benefits from being part of the whole. As a result of the network hat, CollegeMediaNetwork.com is linked to from more than 600 credible news sites. The sites' collective reputation is slowly building and creating more referral traffic for CMN partners.
Because of the information that is being indexed (headline and summary), individual newspapers must begin to adhere to better practices and make sure their headlines include clear and concise keywords that are relevant to the content of their articles.
The link structure of content is important as this serves as built-in tagging for content.
Articles should be uploaded to the proper sections so the link is www.domain.com/section/article-title.
When publishing multimedia content also consider categorization best practices. While seemingly practical, sections labeled "multimedia" and "video" are not helpful descriptors, whereas a video placed in a "sports" section provides contextual clues to search bots as to the content's subject.
We're Not the Only Ones Saying It...
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is buzz term that describes the attempt to "game" the algorithms Google and other search engines use in order to get higher on search results. Provided newspaper staffers publish with the right protocols, CollegeMediaNetwork.com can serve as a vehicle for search traffic to articles that would otherwise remain undiscovered.
College newspapers are sitting on a goldmine of content; www.collegemedianetwork.com aims to broaden the discovery of this rich content.