AntiochTenn.com has learned they’ve been approved for inclusion in Google News.
Google News is a vertical that is designed to help readers find credible news stories on various topics.
“It’s exciting,” Publisher and Founder Clay Morgan said. “In some little way, it is just recognition of the work we’re trying to do in Antioch.”
Sites need to fill several requirements for inclusion into Google News. These include:
- The site must contain content of general interest to the area covered.
- Traditional rules of journalism should apply.
- Ease of readability.
“Those three were the easy part,” Morgan said. “Far more difficult were some of the technical requirements, which we sorted out. However, without a bona fide tech person, it took some time.”
Morgan said there has been a measurable spike in readership since inclusion in Google News.
“February was our biggest traffic month ever,” Morgan said. “As of March 22, we’d already surpassed February. I can’t swear it is due to inclusion in Google news, but we’re measuring our traffic in thousands per day now.”
He added, “It’s not a magic bullet. Many other local media sites are included in Google News. However, where Antioch is concerned, it gets us into the same game with the big media like The Tennessean, or the TV stations. It helps level the competitive playing field.”
According to Morgan, this is part of an overall readership growth strategy.
“We’re looking at readership from various angles, and using multiple approaches to reach Antioch,” he said. “We have had for some time a strong Facebook presence, both on our page and in terms of activity in various Facebook groups.”
Morgan, however, added that’s not enough.
“We have been pursuing more in terms of Twitter and Google+ and our newsletter is now up to a couple thousand subscribers with a 60 percent open rate,” he said.
The current stage, according to Morgan, has been an intense focus on search engine optimization and improving Google search results.
“We’ve invested in SEO and are focused on optimizing our original content,” Morgan said. “Google News is the next piece of the puzzle in terms of getting us a strong presence in Google search results.”
AntiochTenn.com is a general interest news site focused on Antioch, TN and the surrounding area. Heavy coverage includes schools & education, public safety, community events, and government. The locally owned independent news site was established in November, 2014. In 2015, the site published more than 2,200 pieces of local content.