Wehaa has released a “native directory” platform designed to turn special sections into recurring revenue by capitalizing on local newspapers’ natural search authority.
The first directory, a Senior Housing Guide, went live at the Chicago Tribune in conjunction with sales of its bi-annual Senior sections.
The idea to create a vertical SEO product started when some newspaper clients using the Agent & Broker Promotions platform saw their real estate clients pop-up on the first page of Google in just a few days.
“Combining the page rank and authority of a newspaper domain with best practice and some Wehaa wizardry will help move advertisers ahead of competitors in an incredibly crowded search marketplace” said Kevin Collins, VP of Sales and Marketing for Wehaa.
“Newspapers have not yet understood how to fully monetise this super-power. Google loves newspapers.”
A walk through Chicago’s new Senior Housing Guide platform starts with the home page, branded as the Chicago Tribune with a big search bar and eight categories of senior housing:
Mini-capsules on each facilities link to a larger profile page.
The profile page includes a map, description, hours and phone number. The advertisers benefit from the halo effect of association with the Chicago Tribune website as well as the newspaper’s search authority. Wehaa develops all of their digital solutions with mobile-first technology and the directories include Google street view and GPS driving directions for the enhanced advertisers.
Like other real estate categories, senior housing is a lucrative category with numerous search competitors that include aPlaceforMom, senioradvisor.com, seniorliving and caring.com to say nothing about Yelp. The Chicago Tribune is betting this addition to the biannual special section on senior housing will pay off long-term.
Another newspaper group is using a slightly different approach and is launching a medical directory to support an annual medical special section.
A services directory is also ready to deploy.
Kevin Collins says that the directories are designed to launch in a few days. The business model is based on a free listing, with an upsell for enhanced listings.
The profiles are created using automation to redeploy information and images from the client's website, keeping costs at affordable levels.
In the long run, Collins said, the SEO value of the content will make these programs sticky and create a recurring revenue stream from special sections.
"We have just begun to scratch the surface of newspapers as valuable search partners," he said.