How we broke into the Google news box with live blogs

How a custom live blog boosted Black Friday traffic

By , UI developer

How a custom live blog boosted Black Friday traffic

The Challenge

The audience development team noticed that more publishers were using a relatively new ‘Live Blog Posting’ schema to report live during key events like Black Friday, taking a larger portion of search traffic – and advertising and affiliate revenue. Seeing an opportunity, we pivoted our development roadmap to launch a new Live Blogs feature. But with just 10 weeks until Black Friday, the clock was ticking...

The Solution

Fabric is Immediate’s technology stack. It has the industry standard Wordpress CMS at its core and delivers a mix of legacy PHP pages and newer headless data APIs, consumed by headless JavaScript services.

A new custom live blog template was created, including hidden schema data that would announce when a post had gone live, driving various style changes to the template, adding new editorial content directly into the page and, most importantly, providing key information for Google.

The template was built with components from our design system, Patchwork, and utilised React hooks to poll for new editorial content at a set interval.

We cache our content to CDNs to help users get the best possible performance, but for live blogs we had to set custom cache headers to ensure the latest content was available immediately for everyone.

The Impact

Development was finished in just eight weeks, leaving time to iterate and add more features. Our first test was a roaring success: the live blog was indexed more frequently, appearing in top stories. In the run up to Black Friday, Immediate’s live blogs received 724k impressions from organic search alone.

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