Stezx7aQMmY, In-House SEO at CNN.com : Topher Kohan of CNN shares SEO tips for News Sites, Traditionally, companies outsourced all of their SEO activities to external agencies but over the past few years an increasing number of well known companies have added SEO experts as part of their workforce. One of those well known companies is CNN. And managing CNN’s SEO initiatives in-house is none other than Topher Kohan. I met Topher many years back at Search Engine Strategies in San Jose and my first question to him was what was the biggest SEO challenge he faces at CNN. I still remember his answer was “to get CNN at the top of the search results as soon as the news is published.” Well, looks like he has cracked that code and is now onto much bigger things at CNN. So, without further ado I am very pleased to have Topher Kohan with us sharing his game plan on what it takes to succeed at in-house SEO for CNN.
Bob Tripathi: So tell me how different it is to be working for CNN that has a PageRank of 10?
Topher Kohan: So obviously I have to do no link building. I mean not really as lot of people link to our content so that part is easy. The tough part is about keyword management, coz we gotta have keywords that are evergreen like the generic news terms that we have manage them well, then we have our branded key terms for which we better rank # 1 or close to #1 for those. Then we have the set of terms that could change daily, weekly, monthly terms like the breaking news key terms. We have no idea what is going to happen to them tomorrow so we have to be really flexible to be able to get those terms, track those terms, and use those terms effectively.
Bob Tripathi: So, it’s really interesting with your branded terms that if CNN don’t rank at number 1 for their branded terms then Google would look bad?
Topher Kohan: Right. Because if someone types in CNN and we don’t show up there then there is a question as to what is going on there.
Bob Tripathi: The question I am getting at is how easy it is for you to sell your SEO ideas inside CNN and do people get it?
Topher Kohan: About 90% of my job, day to day job I should say, is about evangelizing. You gotta get the buy in and for me that is at multiple levels. I gotta get the editorial staff really buying in; the editors buy in, the middle management, then the editorial management and all the way up to the executive producer of digital news for CNN. Luckily for me, I have got my buy in through lot of training, evangelizing, and working together with them. So if it is a run of the mill kind of a day and there is something breaking but not earth shattering then through the evangelizing and working with the other teams in training them that is something they can handle on their own so it is great because that leaves me time to see what’s next as really all my competitors are putting out great content and they all their SEO’s on staff like me. So I have got to make sure that I do the little tiny things and the tiny things are tweaked all along so I can get the little rankings so I can get higher traffic.
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