Turning News Stories Into Search Traffic

  |  July 19, 2010   |  Comments

How can you benefit from spikes in search volume due to the latest popular topic?

Nothing gets more people to flock to Google than a juicy news story.

Take the recent news story for Miami Heat - that star forward LeBron James would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade for the upcoming NBA season. There was a clear spike in traffic when this news was released.

Figure 1 - Google Trends Data (U.S.) for Last 30 Days

click to enlarge

But who benefitted from this spike in search volume? Did any "stakeholders" in the sports industry actually take advantage of this surge of interest in Miami Heat and LeBron James?

We used comScore Marketer to determine which sites are the top destinations for some terms that are relevant to this juicy piece of news. Specifically, we set out to find the top destinations capturing search traffic on the following keyword list:

  • lebron james
  • chris bosh
  • miami heat
  • miami nba
  • cleveland cavaliers

The comScore data is shown in a chart below, with the top destinations ranked in order of traffic share.

Figure 2 - comScore Data for Top Destinations ("LeBron James" and 4 Other Keywords)

click to enlarge

We see nothing surprising in the top ranking properties:

  1. The Turner Network, which owns both CNN.com and NBA.com
  2. CBS Interactive, driven largely by its CBS Sports franchise
  3. Google, driven largely via YouTube visits
  4. TheHuffingtonPost.com
  5. Yahoo, including Yahoo Sports
  6. Wikipedia
  7. ESPN

But let's look beyond the usual suspects, like the major news outlets and search engines, to see if we can find any evidence of a small business exploiting this news to its fullest potential.

As we troll further down the list, we see that the number 14 destination is FantasySportsVentures.com, owner of many sports entertainment sites with what appears to be a focus on basketball. As we drill down, we can see that the majority of traffic is coming from one of its sites called FansEdge.com.

Figure 3 - comScore Drilldown for Destination: Fantasy Sports Ventures

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In fact, this site alone is capturing over 10 percent of all paid clicks from our target keyword list!

After a quick visit, I found out that FansEdge.com is a professional sports team merchandise site.

Out of curiosity, I typed "lebron james" into Google, and there at the top of the sponsored listings was an ad for FansEdge!

Figure 4 - Google Sponsored Listings for "lebron james"

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This site is a perfect example of how a "little guy" can capitalize on a big news story. They know that there's an upswing of interest in LeBron James, which is relevant to the products they offer, so they make sure their site is front and center when users are searching on the topic.

When I navigated directly to the site, the home page featured top searches, of which "NBA youth jerseys" was number one. When clicking to this page, which NBA team do you think dominated the page (ordered by Most Popular)? The Miami Heat, of course!

Figure 5 - NBA Youth Jerseys Page on FansEdge.com

click to enlarge

Now, unfortunately I don't have access to the trended sales for FansEdge.com, but I would venture a guess that it is currently experiencing a period of sales growth as a result of its highly targeted and timely search marketing.

Let this serve as a lesson to all you advertisers out there...be aware of what's happening in your industry - you may be able to use the next big news story to benefit your business!

When an upswing in searches relevant to your category, product, or service takes place, think about how you might be able to exploit it, much like FansEdge.com.


Julie Batten

Julie is a member of the senior strategy team at Klick Health, focused on online media and digital. Julie initially established and led the media practice at Klick for several years, relinquishing leadership to expand beyond media into additional digital tactics. She brings a wealth of experience in search marketing, digital media, and all facets of digital strategy to bear, helping Klick's clients develop innovative digital solutions. As her role has evolved, so have her contributions to ClickZ, which she has been writing for since 2007.

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