Observer Media

All eyes on Observer

Commercial Observer

Observer Media is a diversified media, information, and services company that approached us to design and create a paywall experience, and to improve the online visibility of its digital media companies Observer and Commercial Observer.

Task

Paywall Development + SEO and Analytics Strategy

On the development side, our team was tasked with helping Observer Media pursue a new revenue stream by developing a paywall for Commercial Observer, its industry-leading commercial real estate publication. Our Digital Marketing team was brought on to improve organic presence for both Observer.com and CommercialObserver.com. We were also entrusted to develop a data model and Google Analytics implementation to allow for advanced analysis of which types of stories were driving the most highly qualified traffic.

Objective

Increased Revenue and Organic Traffic

The intention was for Observer Media to bring in a new revenue stream with the paywall implementation. From a marketing perspective, the main objective for both Observer.com and CommercialObserver.com was to increase organic search traffic.

Execution

System Integration and Keyword Optimization

Once we designed the paywall experience, our developers implemented Piano article paywalls into Observer’s WordPress site, introducing cross-interactivity between the two systems to work with all of their various content formats. We also built out a middleware system to integrate Piano, Sailthru, and WordPress, with the intention to expand it to other third-party platforms as needed by the client.

During this process, we built out a comprehensive launch procedure document that went a long way toward ensuring a smooth, successful launch. In the weeks prior to the official launch date, our team outlined and organized a step-by-step document that detailed the exact steps to take and in what order. This document also touched upon any risks that could have come up during launch and what steps we would take should those circumstances arise.

19_0618-CommercialObserver-Article

Basic membership coverup encouraging users to sign up

On the search front, in order to identify issues preventing full crawl and indexation, we conducted comprehensive SEO technical audits. The next step in the SEO process was keyword research. We identified 500+ specific keyword phrases to target based on volume and “fit” for each site’s audience. We implemented these keywords into the metadata and developed templates for metadata optimization across both websites. This helps increase the visibility of both websites in the search engine results pages when users search for these terms. We also identified opportunities to build out completely new sections of both websites to drive in additional traffic by expanding the breadth of keyword focus. We wrapped up our official SEO scope with a training session at the Observer offices on SEO content writing best practices.

To develop an analytics strategy, we conducted stakeholder interviews to understand the business needs for data. Our work was a combination of Google Analytics implementation and reporting. We built out a roll-up view of Observer.com analytics combining data from the main site, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Facebook Instant Articles. We integrated many new custom dimensions and conducted a complete overhaul of Google Tag Manager (GTM) configuration and naming conventions.

Observer-Stats

Results

Improved Search Visibility

There has been a significant improvement in search visibility on both websites as a result of our work.