Perils of Importing News Content

Importing news content on a radio station website looks good to viewers, but it can provide a reason for the visitor to leave your site and your advertisers.

There no doubt that these days content is king.  As you look around the world at some radio station websites, you’ll notice that many have RSS content feeds on their homepages.  They might be importing news from the corporate office, from a paid news service like the Associated Press, or a format news/celebrity feed like CMT, Rolling Stone, TMZ, etc.  While this may make your website appear full of exciting content, there are several downsides to this.  Here are two forms of importing news content and their downsides…

Embedded RSS Feeds

RSS stands for”Really Simple Syndication“.  RSS feeds enable publishers to syndicate their content automatically.  Subscribing to an RSS feed removes the need for the user to manually check the website for new content.  Instead, their browser constantly monitors the site and informs the user of any updates.  When an RSS feed is embedded into a webpage, the page is updated each time the provider publishes a new entry.

Importing news

The above image was pulled from a station homepage.  So what’s the problem?  Nearly all stories in an RSS feed link back to the original site where it originated. RSS feeds are so popular with content authors because they create back links that aid the search engine optimization (SEO) ranking of the original content.

This content does nothing to help your website.  It is not indexed by search engines as your content, so it does not help your SEO.  The worst part comes when the website reader clicks the story and they are immediately taken away from your website, your content and your advertisers.  Basically, each article provides a reason for the visitor to leave your site.

Imported News Articles

Unlike RSS feed links, importing news articles actually appear on your site as news pages.  Most of the time there will be a short “article courtesy of” above or below the article.  This is much better than RSS feeds because it keeps the listener on your website rather than taking them elsewhere.  Here’s an example of an imported news story…

Importing news

While these imported news pages are indexed by search engines, unfortunately they do very little to help your website SEO ranking.  These articles are syndicated to several hundred websites so all of these sites have the same content.  Google ranks content on originality and relevancy so having the same content on your website as hundreds of others can actually harm your SEO efforts in some cases.

In the case above, if someone in your town did a search for “Obama Christmas Hawaii Cost”, the original location of the article would most likely show first.  Your website might not show within the first 5-10 pages of search results due to the large network of sites with the same content.

Alternatives to Importing News

Embedding an RSS feed on your station homepage is the probably the worst thing you can do so remove them right away.  It’s better to have next to nothing on your homepage than a bunch of links encouraging visitors to go elsewhere.

Importing news content is better, but it’s best to rewrite the articles in your wording and make them relevant to your listeners/market.  With most news services, this simply isn’t possible.

The best content you can have on your station website is content that your news department and/or personalities write themselves.  This can be local news, opinions, blogs, etc.  If you want to include a national news story on your site, it’s better to rewrite an article and re-publish it as original content on your site.  Just be careful not to plagiarize and use proper attributions.

Content that originates from your radio station website will get indexed by search engines and help to bring new listeners and advertisers.  The extra steps involved in this creative process are well worth it.  In return you can expect more website visitors and more advertisers wanting to be on your pages.

Jim Sherwood serves as the chief creative, brand strategist, lead developer, meticulous project manager, and station collaborator for all Skyrocket Radio sites and projects. Jim is a 30+ year radio veteran with a resume spanning several small, medium, and large markets including roles as Digital Content Manager, Program Director, Production Manager, and Morning Show Host.