Announcing the News and Editorial SEO Summit

John Shehata and I have teamed up to deliver the first online event dedicated exclusively to SEO for news publishers, taking place on October 26th & 27th this year.

I didn’t intend to use this newsletter for any promotional guff (in fact I’ve turned down a few sponsorship offers already) but this one is close to my heart so I’m making an exception.

For the past few years, John Shehata and I have had regular calls where we talked about all kinds of different aspects of SEO for news publishers. John has a wealth of experience in audience growth for publishers and is currently the Global VP of Audience Development Strategy at Condé Nast, one of the world’s largest and most prominent publishers.

In one of our conversations we talked about conferences, specifically events aimed at SEO, and lamented the fact that the publishing niche was massively underserviced by these events.

At best we could hope for a single session at a larger event that tackled the unique challenges that news publishers face in Google’s ecosystem. I figured that we’d just have to accept that situation, as news was one of many industries where SEO was an important part of the marketing mix and big events need to cater to a broad spectrum of attendees.

John had different ideas, as it turns out. One thing I’ve learned about John is that when he sees a situation that needs fixing, he’s not going to sit around and wait for someone else to fix it. He’ll go out there and do something about it himself.

It’s that attitude that made him create the NewzDash.com tool specifically to provide Google News ranking data to publishers. It’s that attitude that got him to build the GDdash.com tool to analyse Google Discover traffic.

And that same attitude led him to schedule another call with me not to long after that earlier call, where he asked me to help him organise an online event dedicated to SEO for news publishers.

So that’s exactly what we did.

NESS - News and Editorial SEO Summit 2021

The News and Editorial SEO Summit (NESS) is the first event of its kind, dedicated to all the things news publishers need to know to help them grow their organic search traffic.

Taking place online in two half-day sessions on October 26 and 27 this year, the NESS is the first event dedicated exclusively to all things SEO for news publishers.

Visibility in Google’s ecosystem is a crucial source of readers for all online publishers, and information about how to maximize this can be hard to find. So, we decided to bring together the smartest minds in publishing and SEO and ask them to share their insights and expertise.

We had a shortlist of speakers we wanted to get for this event, and almost all of them said yes straight away! Our first event will feature:

  • Nicholas Thompson @nxthompson, CEO of The Atlantic

  • Christine Liang @csmliang, SEO Director at The New York Times

  • Valentin Cornez @cornezvalentin, Global Lead & Co-founder of Google Insights tool at Google

  • Dan Smullen @dansmull, Head of SEO at Mediahuis Ireland

  • Lily Ray @lilyraynyc, Senior Director, SEO & Head of Organic Research at Amsive Digital

  • Jessie Willms @jessiewillms, Co-founder/writer at WTF is SEO and Audience Editor at The Globe and Mail

  • Shelby Blackley @shelbyblackley, Co-founder/writer at WTF is SEO and SEO Manager at Mashable

And both John and myself will also give a talk each and serve as MCs.

The NESS presents a unique opportunity to learn from the biggest brands and smartest minds in publishing and SEO. After attending this event, you’ll be able to apply what you’ve learned to your own websites to boost your organic traffic.

From Google News to Discover, from Top Stories to news apps, you will learn what it takes to grow your presence in all organic locations where news is shown.

Who should attend?

  • Journalists and editors involved with the day to day writing and publishing of news content, who want to make sure their stories get the best chance of ranking in Top Stories and Google News.

  • Web developers who want to make sure their websites adhere to Google’s latest technical requirements and follow best SEO practices for crawling and indexing.

  • SEO professionals working with publishers who want to upgrade their knowledge and learn from experts in the field.

  • Audience growth strategists looking for ways to maximise traffic and find new avenues for organic search visits.

What will you learn?

  • The most effective strategies for news content and evergreen SEO

  • What drives Google’s quality-based algorithms in News and Discover

  • The latest on AMP and technical SEO for publishers

  • Using analytics data to empower your digital growth

Read more about the event and get your tickets at our dedicated website: NewsSEO.io

With a single ticket, you will get full access to all talks and recordings and get the chance to ask your questions directly to our speaker panel at the closing of the event.

There’s a limited Early Bird offer available, so claim your space and buy a ticket to the inaugural NESS summit today.

If this event is a success, we aim to make it a regular feature. Our long term plan is to have in-person events as well, ideally one in the USA and one in the UK. Can’t say we’re not ambitious!

For now, all I’m hoping for is that this first NESS will not fail spectacularly. Because we want to get it right, John and I decided to partner with professional event organisers and use proper software for online events (Airmeet). That means it’s costing us money to run the event, hence why we’re charging for entry and hope to get a few sponsors on board to help cover the costs.

The plan is for any profits we make (if any) to go into future events. Neither myself or John see the NESS as a moneymaker. We just want to create an event that tickles that specific itch we both have, and allow specialists in SEO for news to share their expertise with the wider community.

We hope to welcome you to the inaugural NESS later this year, and please help spread the word so that this can be the start of a great series of events where our specialism can take center stage!


My next newsletter will be back to normal, and I’ll probably be tackling that long overdue topic of syndicated & duplicate content. As always, thanks for reading and subscribing.