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19.07.2021 rustybrick

Richard Nazarewicz On SEO For The Wall Street Journal - #129

In part one of my interview with Richard Nazarewicz with spoke more about his career and approach to SEO for a global news organization. In part two we got into a huge array of SEO topics. Here is the break down:

0:25 - Typical Day of an SEO at the Wall Street Journal:

Richard Naz said he first looks at numbers, he looks at traffic, metrics, outages, log files, his custom dashboards, and other metrics. He technically is not a data scientist but he does do a lot of that work because he has to mash a lot of data. He said the typical day is some routine with some emergencies that come up like any other job he said.

1:16 - Big SEO Wins For the Wall Street Journal:

One of the big wins the Wall Street Journal had with SEO were around stock quote pages. They migrated a lot of the subdomains for stock quotes, did a ton of fixes around those templates and they saw tremendous uplift for these pages. They saw an 80% growth in Google referrals because of some of these changes. This growth was much bigger over a two year period, he said. He mentioned live coverage, and even Google Discover. Google Discover can account for 20-40% of the traffic from Google for any news organization, he said. Back when he joined the WSJ, Google referrals were around 14% of its traffic, now it is in the 30% range.

4:26 - Live Coverage, Indexing & Bing:

He said they used live coverage for some news events and he told a story about how Google has an API to submit content to Google in real time for job posting and live coverage, it is their indexing API. He now uses live blog schema, you need to get whitelisted for that, but there can be a huge benefit in terms of Google traffic to have this set up. Richard said he is also working with Microsoft Bing to use their indexing API also.

Microsoft Bing is not as big as a part of WSJ’s traffic as he would like it would be. He said he will focus on it more and we all should.

6:55 - Evergreen Content:

Evergreen content is extremely important he said. They have done a lot of work thus far, but there is a lot more work to be done here. He said the WSJ tech stack is old and it is complex to manage but they have made a lot of progress.

We then spoke about duplicate content and how the WSJ handles it. WSJ use to have topic pages to manage this but now they are reinventing that to be done by topic and by “guide.” Duplicate content is being managed as well, I tried to dig into how they handle these pages, do they noindex it, redirect it, etc.

9:53 - Algorithm Updates:

I asked Richard about how the WSJ manages Google algorithm updates and core updates. Richard said the WSJ does not panic about it as much as he did ages ago. But occasionally the WSJ has been hit by some updates, just like other publishers have. There is a group of people that get together to discuss big SEO topics amongst big publishers. So they all talk about these updates and how it may or may not impact. The WSJ often sees uplifts with E-A-T focused updates and that makes sense since the WSJ has a lot of authority. So WSJ has a ton of authority with its content, and also the WSJ has an amazing engineering team and they all have great knowledge in SEO.

12:40 - Everyone Is an SEO:

The engineers aren’t the old only people that know SEO, the content team does as well. There is a lot of collaboration amongst all the teams. He said everyone at the WSJ is an SEO, in some shape or form. He spoke a lot of about his dashboards, the metrics he looks at, and how excited he gets by looking at that data. We ended by discussing a bit of the SEO training that is done. SEO is a second language in the Wall Street Journal.

You can learn more about Richard Nazarewicz on Twitter @richardnaz.

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