The Daily Mail Embraces SEO

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Internet marketing research firm, comScore, has reported that the Daily Mail has become the most visited newspaper website in the world, surpassing the New York Times.

Visitor growth in the last year has come mostly from abroad with the site popular in English-speaking countries around the world. Mail Online, as the site is branded, is currently the 80th most visited website in the United States, according to Alexa, and in the top 100 most visited in another 8 countries.

The site brought in £19m of online advertising revenue in 2011, up a massive 65% on the previous year. Though, even with this rapid growth, digital advertising revenues won’t be overtaking the £340m a year they earn from print ads anytime soon.

The Mail is clearly web-savvy with the BBC citing long keyword rich headlines, the separation of print and web journalism and its mix of news and celebrity gossip as key to its success. Those working within SEO may also recall that a couple of years ago the sites robots.txt file, normally used to ask search engines to exclude certain pages from their index, contained a job advert for an SEO Manager at the paper.

All this helped scoop up 16.26% of all UK visits to print-based News and Media websites in December 2011, according to Hitwise.

Whilst some traditional media like the Mail and Guardian have embraced SEO and social media for driving traffic to their advertising monetised sites, others have rejected this openness in favour of paywalls.

The effect of a paywall on traffic levels is predictable, though on revenues less so. As a result of their £2 a week paywall, The Times commands only a 0.03% greater share of visits to print media websites than the regional Manchester Evening News or mobile version of the Mirror website. Though, with 100,000 subscribers, overall revenues would be more than half that of the Mail.

UK Newspaper Alexa Traffic Ranks

It’s easy to see when the paywall went live

With online advertising spend continuing to grow at a rate that outperforms other media channels; in a truly global market that is the Internet, I know which channel I prefer.

Photo credit: Newspapers B&W (5) by NS Newsflash (CC BY 2.0)