Local news outlets, should avoid national or international “click bait” stories
So click bait stories are ones which entice you in with an eye catching image or overly salacious headlines. Think of BuzzFeed and the Daily Mail’s right column of shame. The idea behind these links is to up the number of page views the website gets, which is often directly linked to advertising revenues online.
These stories typically jump on the back of a big news story which is being covered globally, often about a celebrity or a large popular brand.
Since the rise of these two publications has been well documented, the management of other news outlets at every level have sought to up their page views via these means.
This isn’t too much of a problem for national and international press, as they sell their advertising based on page views, to large brands looking to reach as many eyeballs as possible. Usually with some geo targeting, to ensure they are hitting the correct countries and languages.
However this might not be a great idea for local media websites which sell local adverts, not by geo targeting, but by the simple fact that their publication is about a specific region or city.
Publishing news stories about areas far beyond your local patch or with a very tenuous link, might seem like something your local readers will want to read and they probably will. You will also attract a lot of page views from further afield too.
Whilst this might sound good, these are going to be people who are highly unlikely to want to visit the clothing shop, local mechanic or restaurant in your town that are advertising on your website. So going to add impressions but not click throughs to your adverts, resulting in lower click through rates for your local adverts.
If you end up with low click through rates, you are likely to become less attractive to savvy advertisers.
Publishing too many non-local stories on your site could also have a knock on affect of diluting the SEO authority of your website, away from your local patch.
I’ve also seen many comments by readers on such sites, bemoaning the non local stories. After all they choose to read your local publication over the national press for a reason.