FAZ.NET: 50% more SEO Visibility through Smart Topic Management


With a paid circulation of more than 220,000 copies, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is one of the most important national daily newspapers in Germany. Just like the print edition of the FAZ, its online news portal FAZ.NET has become an integral part of the German media landscape.

However, in the course of the far-reaching changes in the media industry, the FAZ’s online offering now faced the challenge of tapping new potential through efficient automation of digital marketing. The overriding strategic goal was to increase the organic visibility in search engines and thus the market share among online news offerings.

Customised technology for individual needs

Both the detailed conception and later the concrete implementation of the measures were carried out in close coordination between Retresco and the decision-makers from marketing and product development at FAZ. The involvement of all relevant stakeholders ensured a deep understanding of internal processes and was the basis for a tailor-made solution. A clearly defined set of requirements were solidified during the process:

  • Data-driven development of customer-oriented products
  • Optimisation of the process for curating content
  • Quickly identify relevant topics of defined target groups on the basis of search trends
  • Make data-based decisions on the creation of topic pages
  • Increase online reach, especially in new target groups

Efficient processes through smart topic management

The classification and structuring of the existing content was identified as one of the most important prerequisites for achieving the defined requirements. Retresco’s Topic Management System (TMS) provides the technological basis for implementation and thus the foundation for all further measures to individualise and optimise the user experience.

The concrete application uses natural language processing (NLP) as well as machine learning algorithms to extract structured data from unstructured content. Semantic processes identify central terms such as persons, events, products or companies from a single text and weigh the content according to relevant factors.

At the same time, statistical dashboards integrated into the TMS provide information about highly topical trends in search behaviour. This data from sources such as Google or Facebook forms a comprehensible basis for deciding which new content offers the greatest potential for enhancing user experience and reach.

In the practice of content creation, an editor curates existing news articles to a topic page fully automatically with just a few clicks after the topic selection. With the TMS, content which is high quality and extremely topical is created in seconds, generating organic traffic almost immediately. Beyond the short-term effects, the long-term analysis also shows how the relevant KPIs for SEO visibility and website traffic have developed in a significantly positive way.

Training & workshops: How users and technology come together

The implementation was accompanied by a phase of intensive training and workshops for the stakeholders. As a result, the TMS was met with a high level of acceptance when it was launched – all users were familiar with the intuitive options across the board and knew how to use the topic management system in a targeted manner as part of the overall strategy.

Since its implementation, the TMS has undergone continuous development. The approach is to continuously keep up with the dynamics of user behaviour through the implementation of new features. One example of the further development of the TMS is the in-text linking feature, with which authors of an article link to topic pages and thus offer the user additional added value. The introduction of the TMS was of course also reflected in measurable figures: according to the Sistrix Toolbox, online visibility increased by around 50 percent (comparison 2014 vs. 2019) and organic access by 15 percent.

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