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Newspapers will become a lucrative niche for SEO. There are signs of print newspaper slowly fading away – two Detroit daily papers are refocusing on digital, as the old model had become “unsustainable”. Circulation and advertising revenues are falling for newspapers around the world.

People are reading digital media much more and news is reported often up to the minute (e.g. Twitter journalism, Qik, Google News) rather than with a day’s lag. Since newspapers are under pressure to build their online presence, around the world (with the partial exception of Belgium) they are trying to optimise the content to appear better in search engines.

SEOs noticed when New York Times put its SEO strategy in place. It made its archives accessible (with a few old school SEO “tricks”) to build traffic and incease ad revenue.

There has also been talk of reporters getting trained in basic SEO tactics regarding usage of keywords. The Times Online editor-in-chief said search and SEO were completely interwoven – reporters learned SEO techniques and monitored site searches to better gauge reader interest. Sub editors, who usually make up catchy headlines, are being pushed out by SEO requirements.

Respected Dutch SEO Joost de Valk put forward his ideas for newspaper SEO based on work he did for Dutch papers: fix templates (tags, code) and URLs (include keywords, as well as some numbers with at least three digits to meet Google News requirements) and a bunch of other useful tips.

At Pizza SEO we had the privilege of working with SME Online in 2006, the online edition of one of Slovakia’s main broadsheets. They have been lauded as some of the most innovative online newspapers in Europe and had introduced blogging into the press. We have also worked with Euractiv, a news server on EU affairs both in Slovakia and in Brussels.

Media clients are usually refreshing in that they do not have a shortage of content, which many other clients suffer from. Rather they have an abundance and there are numerous challenges in presenting the rich content to visitors in a usable and accessible format.

Lookout for more and more traditional media outlets around you looking for SEO staff and consultants. There are likely to be opportunities for SEOs both in-house and outsourced in many geographic an linguistic news markets.