News Aggregation: Why You Should be Doing it

Whether it’s through email, on a webinar or at a tradeshow, the most common question I get from clients is:

“What can I do to keep bringing visitors back to my site”?

For any site owner, let alone a directory site owner, it’s not an easy task to keep getting new traffic to your site. Most of the people come to a directory site to find specific information about a business, browse through the listings and find all the details they need to make an informed decision. This is largely what brings people to your site. The ‘long tail search terms’ that are either geared toward business categories or specific businesses. For instance, if I’m running a local search site, search terms are probably going to look something like this:

“Annandale Virginia Restaurants”
“Annandale Restaurants”
“Evergreen restaurant Annandale”
“Korean restaurant in Annandale”

These folks come in, find the restaurant they’re looking for and they’re off your site. With static data like listings, what can you do to bring people back? What content can you offer that promises to be different from one visit to the next? Start with aggregating news in your industry or area. In any town there are at least 4-5 news sources covering the area, each of which are largely reporting on the same stories. By aggregating the stories across multiple media outlets, you provide your visitor with tight, consolidated news headlines. Reddit, Digg, and other sites are run on this concept and it can work at the hyper local level, too.

Two Examples:
1.) A hockey blog that aggregates league wide news: http://blogs.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/empty-netters/30066-empty-netter-assists-10-02-11

2.) An online news aggregator for different verticals/industries:
http://www.marketingdive.com/

Let’s say, for instance, I want to aggregate news in Fairfax:

A reward is being offered for anyone with information on farm animals that were recently slayed in the Herndon area. [Fairfax Times]

Two people were killed in a car crash on Lee Highway last night. [Fairfax City Patch]

The airport board has backed down on their union preference for the Metro silver line. [Fairfax News]

Winery at Bull Run will be opening in Centreville. [Washington Post]

By aggregating the best news stories in your area, you offer a valuable, convenient resource to visitor, produces fresh, new content on your blog and will help increase search traffic and returning visitors to your site.

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