WSJ Digital Network gets aggressive with search: SES NY Keynote

Share this content:
Gordon McLeod
Gordon McLeod

Gordon McLeod, president of the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, spoke at Wednesday morning's keynote session at the Search Engine Strategies conference in New York, sharing insights about the network's efforts to grow its site traffic and search presence.

Before last year, content from the Wall Street Journal and its sister publications like Barron's just weren't getting found online, according to McLeod.

“We suffer mostly in search because of the earlier start,” McLeod said. The Wall Street Journal's online edition first launched in 1996, which was before Google came on the scene; now, the “old content companies” like the Journal are doing better in search, but are still catching up, he continued.

However, starting in 2007, the Wall Street Journal Digital Network (formerly known as Dow Jones online) stepped up its organic search efforts, McLeod said. The company started by implementing the “basics” of search engine optimization, such as modifying its URL structure, using proper redirects, and adding dynamic site maps, he said. The company uses paid search primarily to attract new subscribers.

Another key to being found online was to offer more content for free. For a number of years the online edition of the Wall Street Journal was only accessible to paid subscribers. But now, the paper's personal finance and business of life sections — among others — are free, McLeod said. And, users coming from Digg.com or Google now get “one-click free access” to all of the Journal's content, he said.

Similarly, beginning in August of 2007, content published on Barron's Web site every Saturday morning became free after 3pm the following Monday, whereas it had previously been available only to paid subscribers. That change has significantly increased traffic on the site, McLeod added.

The company is also allowing its content to appear on other sites such as Yahoo Finance and MSN Money, as well as social networking sites like Facebook (with the goal of attracting younger readers), he said. “It's a great way to distribute our brand,” McLeod said. 

Referrals from search engines have more than doubled since October 2006, he said. The media company plans to continue its aggressive search tactics in 2008.

Looking ahead, the network plans to expand its free content offerings, but is not ready to abandon the hybrid model, McLeod said. The Wall Street Journal currently has 1.1 million paid subscribers and 14.7 million people who access free content on the site every month, he said.

close

Next Article in Marketing Strategy

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Brightcove is the world's leading video platform. The most innovative and respected brands confidently rely on Brightcove to solve their most demanding communication challenges because of the unmatched performance and flexibility of our platform, our global scale and reliability, and our award-winning service. With thousands of customers and an industry-leading suite of cloud video products, Brightcove enables customers to drive compelling business results.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above