Back to Basics: Why and How Taxonomy Can Boost Revenue

March 10, 2014

As a digital publisher, you’ve probably focused a lot on Deep Data of late. It’s a big piece of the puzzle for effective content marketing and there are great examples emerging for how it can drive revenue. But let’s step back for a moment and talk about the “little data”— better known as metadata or taxonomy.  Chances are, you’re familiar with it and you know that using it can help you present your content effectively — but are you leveraging it to its greatest potential? Well, that depends on what kind of taxonomy system you have.  

First, let’s refresh our memory: In the context of digital publishing, taxonomy is a classification scheme and vocabulary for identifying your content, so that you can present it in a logical manner, to your audience. 

Using your taxonomy system effectively allows you to relate your product and service offerings to offer a comprehensive resource to readers, based on what they are viewing on your website. 

You can: 

  • Display related content and resources - events, products, listings - next to articles.
  • Create topic pages with articles and products that share a common taxonomy term, to assist in search for both visitors and search engines. 
  • Display search terms that encourage readers to explore content more deeply.
  • Sell taxonomy-driven ads that target specific segments of your readership or content on the page.
  • Provide more targeted sponsorship opportunities through related content and categories. 

Essentially, with platform technology, you can use your taxonomy system to tie your audience data to your content management and create a solid foundation for building multiple revenue streams that tailor content and offer it, in context, to targeted segments of your audience. 

When you successfully present contextual, targeted content, you generate more pages views, engage your audience more deeply and keep them on site longer, which translates to more revenue from eCommerce and advertising.

Let's Look at a Simple Example:

NutraSolutions provides solutions for the development and marketing of nutritional products. If a visitor is viewing an article about nutrients for eye health, they could be presented with links to other articles that relate to that topic, but also videos that expand on a subject mentioned in the article, like Carotenoids, for example, as well as books and other hard products that enhance the information they’ve just read.

The Taxononmy Trifecta

A taxonomy system should function on several levels, to provide the most contextual content to readers. As an editor or administrative user of your EPS, you should be able to tag articles and other content with multiple terms or categories, that include: industry, company, subject or topic—and you should be able to modify that taxonomy quickly and easily. You should also be able to  present and relate your content across articles, blogs, directories, polls, events and more. 

Semantic tagging enables you to associate ALL of your content on the site, so that it appears as links to topic pages and you can determine what content is presented automatically on an article page and in search results. 

A separate taxonomy should be available to put certain content, like featured articles, in specific places on your site.

A third taxonomy should enable you to determine the delivery channel for your content—whether through feeds, blog rolls, subscriptions, social media, etc. 

But a strong taxonomy system doesn’t stop there. It folds your audience data into your EPS, so that you can identify certain segments of your audience and target content specifically to them. You can create a tag for the portion of your audience that is particularly interested in mineral supplements, for example, and tag content that relates to that, so that it will surface to those readers, when they visit your site.

How are Publishers Using Thier Taxonomy Effectively?

Housing Wire uses 100,000 semantic tags to relate and present products and services from their three primary revenue streams:

  • Paid Subscriptions
  • Company Listings 
  • Advertising

Since their 2012 website relaunch, they’ve seen excellent returns from their buyers guide. 

NGI (Natural Gas Intel) publishes Shale Daily to deliver news and data sorted by region, with an overview, maps, news, charts and graphs, automatically assembled, using a sophisticated taxonomy system.  Each page, such as Bakken Shale, is a complete resource, automatically presenting background data and maps with developing news, in context.

Similarly, GPI Daily organizes site content by topic.   Industry professionals no longer have to go to one section for news, another page for data and yet another website for maps; NGI brings it all together on full-featured topic pages.  And NGI staff deliver this premium resource efficiently, simply tagging articles and other relevant content to automatically associate new material with the relevant page.

Grandview Outdoors uses site placement taxonomy to deliver brand content from eight distinct publications AND enable GVO staff the ability to change and add brands on the fly.

When you look at these success stories, it’s easy to see how taxonomy is the skeletal framework that all your data (big and small) clings to—and shapes up to be more revenue for you.