digital media and data journalism api dataforseo

How APIs Foster Data-Driven Journalism and News SEO

APIs play a transformative role in journalism and media. Enabling quick access to vast amounts of data, they illuminate news stories, enhance long-term SEO, and facilitate real-time reporting. Let’s explore what stands behind this three-letter abbreviation and how you can harness its power in your media organization.

Understanding APIs: the cornerstone for media innovation
APIs for data-driven journalism – the key to enhanced reporting
Long-term SEO with APIs – the basis for success in digital media
Using APIs for real-time reporting – a must-have for publishers

Understanding APIs: the cornerstone for media innovation

In the realm of media and journalism, using an API (application programming interface) is like asking questions and getting answers. Making an API request is akin to starting a conversation with vast repositories of information, automating processes that would otherwise require manual data mining. For instance, a journalist investigating transportation equality could use Google Maps Distance Matrix API to gather vast travel data and analyze commuting times across different neighborhoods quickly and efficiently.

The magic of using an API happens through making an HTTP request to an endpoint (URL) defined by the provider or data source, often passing an API key for access, and then receiving a response with the requested data. If you want to learn more about APIs, such as how they function or what an endpoint and an API key are, see our Kickstart Guide to Using DataForSEO APIs.

Some news websites develop their own APIs to allow other media or apps to request their stories and related details, like when the story was published. For example, The Guardian has The Guardian Open Platform, which offers Content API for accessing over 2 million content pieces, such as articles, images, audio, and videos dating back to 1999.

Beyond digging into data and distributing content, media outlets leverage APIs to enhance their content and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. For example, Google Search Console API allows publishers to analyze their website’s performance in search results and identify keywords that are driving traffic. Commercial APIs, like DataForSEO Google SERP API, provide media outlets with additional insights into their competitors’ search performance.

Overall, APIs play a fundamental role in shaping the media landscape, offering opportunities for innovation, efficiency, and enhanced audience engagement.

In the parts that follow, we’ll delve deeper into various aspects of API usage in the media industry, ranging from data-driven journalism to optimizing content, and implementing real-time SEO reporting.

APIs for data-driven journalism – the key to enhanced reporting

Journalists are always in pursuit of innovative ways to enhance their reporting and captivate readers with compelling stories. Thanks to APIs, a wealth of data sources that can enrich news pieces has become much more accessible. APIs enable reporters to gather real-time information, track trends, compile statistics, and uncover newsworthy stories.

Take Microsoft’s Azure AI Vision API, for example. It provides access to advanced image-processing algorithms that can offer a unique perspective on political events and public figures. Periscopic used this API to produce an analysis of Donald Trump’s facial expressions during major speeches.

donald trump facial expressions

Another great example is the Spotify API offering access to Spotify’s content metadata and catalog information, including albums, playlists, artists, and more. Leveraging this API, Paul Bradshaw, a data journalist at the BBC England Data Unit, obtained data on genre, popularity, and related artists, and created a report on gender balance at music festivals.

festival females report

Using Google Maps Distance Matrix API, Paul also collected data on train route distances and gathered insights for a story on the most expensive train tickets in the UK.

Most expensive rail season tickets

DataForSEO’s APIs open up even more possibilities for informing your reporting and storytelling approach. For example:

The DataForSEO Trends API can help journalists identify environmental issues that are gaining traction. Combined with Reviews API insights from platforms like Yelp and Trustpilot, you can gather public sentiment toward the sustainability efforts of certain local businesses.

Content Analysis API can help to add public perception insights on these businesses from across the web by delivering data on brand mentions in the context of sustainability and climate change.

DataForSEO Labs API and Keyword Data API offer access to vast data on search queries and search results for multiple locations. Journalists could analyze consumer interests and behavior shifts by examining keyword search volumes related to online shopping, remote work, and mental health, for instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The potential use cases for APIs in data-driven journalism can only be limited by our imagination. Providing quick access to diverse datasets and advanced features, APIs are the perfect tool for journalists seeking to enrich their reports and deliver more comprehensive coverage. Besides that, APIs can help news outlets ensure their impactful stories reach a wider audience, but this topic is worth a separate part.

Long-term SEO with APIs – the basis for success in digital media

In the digital media landscape, publishers get a large chunk of their traffic from search engine results. To ensure lasting success in search and attract more readers, both editorial and technical teams at media organizations need to stay sharp in SEO.

As we’ve explored in the previous article on news SEO, Google’s initial indexing largely determines whether an article shows up in a coveted Top Stories (aka News Box) feature, which drives the largest amount of traffic for news sites. That is why articles must be maximally optimized at the time of publication. Besides that, since Google’s 2018 E-A-T update, building authority on specific topics is vital to rank well for keywords relevant to those topics. In 2023, Google also shared that a special “topic authority” search system is involved in Google Search and Google News ranking, helping to surface more relevant, expert content.

All of this underscores the importance of having a solid long-term SEO strategy for sustainable search visibility, which requires reliable tools to build upon. APIs in this context provide an efficient and flexible way to access the data needed to optimize and analyze a website’s performance. In this part, we’ll delve into how APIs deliver insights and instruments for:

➤ Technical SEO.
➤ Keyword research and content optimization.
➤ Building and tracking backlinks and brand mentions.

Leveraging APIs in technical SEO for news websites

Let’s face it: Google’s multiple technical requirements and guidelines for news websites make technical SEO a crucial part of the optimization strategy. The goal here is to simplify site navigation for readers and ensure search engines can easily crawl, index, and rank your content. This is done by improving site architecture, page speed, and other technical aspects of a website.

To supercharge these optimization efforts, publishers can use DataForSEO’s On-Page API. This customizable crawling engine allows you to run comprehensive technical SEO audits on demand. Here’s what you can do with it:

  • Analyze technical aspects of a site like page loading times, mobile-friendliness, and accessibility.
  • Discover broken links, duplicate content, and server errors.
  • Audit URL structures, XML sitemaps, canonical tags, <h1> headlines, and more.

Here’s an example of the API response with Summary data on a website’s performance.

  "version": "0.1.20221214",
  "status_code": 20000,
  "status_message": "Ok.",
  "time": "1.0297 sec.",
  "cost": 0,
  "tasks_count": 1,
  "tasks_error": 0,
  "tasks": [
      "id": "05021654-1535-0216-0000-bb170c8efb5b",
      "status_code": 20000,
      "status_message": "Ok.",
      "time": "1.0125 sec.",
      "cost": 0,
      "result_count": 1,
      "path": [
      "data": {
        "api": "on_page",
        "function": "summary",
        "target": "",
        "max_crawl_pages": 1000,
        "enable_www_redirect_check": "true"
      "result": [
          "crawl_progress": "in_progress",
          "crawl_status": {
            "max_crawl_pages": 1000,
            "pages_in_queue": 142,
            "pages_crawled": 15
          "crawl_gateway_address": "",
          "crawl_stop_reason": null,
          "domain_info": {
            "name": "",
            "cms": "powered by wpbakery page builder - drag and drop page builder for wordpress.",
            "ip": "",
            "server": "cloudflare",
            "crawl_start": "2023-05-02 13:54:55 +00:00",
            "crawl_end": null,
            "extended_crawl_status": "no_errors",
            "ssl_info": {
              "valid_certificate": true,
              "certificate_issuer": "CN=GTS CA 1P5, O=Google Trust Services LLC, C=US",
              "certificate_subject": "",
              "certificate_version": 3,
              "certificate_hash": "sha256RSA",
              "certificate_expiration_date": "2023-07-23 14:16:19 +00:00"
            "checks": {
              "sitemap": true,
              "robots_txt": true,
              "start_page_deny_flag": false,
              "ssl": true,
              "http2": true,
              "test_canonicalization": false,
              "test_www_redirect": true,
              "test_hidden_server_signature": true,
              "test_page_not_found": true,
              "test_directory_browsing": true,
              "test_https_redirect": true
            "total_pages": 15,
            "page_not_found_status_code": 404,
            "canonicalization_status_code": 403,
            "directory_browsing_status_code": 301,
            "www_redirect_status_code": 301,
            "main_domain": ""
          "page_metrics": {
            "links_external": 386,
            "links_internal": 1407,
            "duplicate_title": 0,
            "duplicate_description": 0,
            "duplicate_content": 4,
            "broken_links": 0,
            "broken_resources": 0,
            "links_relation_conflict": 0,
            "redirect_loop": 0,
            "onpage_score": 96.93,
            "non_indexable": 45,
            "checks": {
              "canonical": 15,
              "duplicate_meta_tags": 15,
              "no_description": 1,
              "frame": 0,
              "large_page_size": 0,
              "irrelevant_description": 0,
              "irrelevant_meta_keywords": 15,
              "is_https": 15,
              "is_http": 0,
              "title_too_long": 1,
              "low_content_rate": 15,
              "small_page_size": 0,
              "no_h1_tag": 0,
              "recursive_canonical": 0,
              "no_favicon": 0,
              "no_image_alt": 0,
              "no_image_title": 0,
              "seo_friendly_url": 15,
              "seo_friendly_url_characters_check": 15,
              "seo_friendly_url_dynamic_check": 15,
              "seo_friendly_url_keywords_check": 15,
              "seo_friendly_url_relative_length_check": 15,
              "title_too_short": 2,
              "no_content_encoding": 0,
              "high_waiting_time": 0,
              "high_loading_time": 0,
              "is_redirect": 0,
              "is_broken": 0,
              "is_4xx_code": 0,
              "is_5xx_code": 0,
              "is_www": 0,
              "no_doctype": 0,
              "no_encoding_meta_tag": 0,
              "high_content_rate": 0,
              "low_character_count": 0,
              "high_character_count": 0,
              "low_readability_rate": 0,
              "irrelevant_title": 0,
              "deprecated_html_tags": 0,
              "duplicate_title_tag": 0,
              "no_title": 0,
              "flash": 0,
              "lorem_ipsum": 0,
              "has_misspelling": null,
              "canonical_to_broken": 0,
              "canonical_to_redirect": 0,
              "has_links_to_redirects": 0,
              "is_orphan_page": 0,
              "has_meta_refresh_redirect": 0,
              "meta_charset_consistency": 15,
              "size_greater_than_3mb": 0,
              "has_html_doctype": 15,
              "https_to_http_links": 1,
              "has_render_blocking_resources": 15,
              "redirect_chain": 0,
              "canonical_chain": 0,
              "is_link_relation_conflict": 0

By monitoring website health with On-Page API, SEO teams at media outlets can implement technical enhancements more efficiently, ultimately boosting website search visibility and user experience. By the way, don’t hesitate to read our earlier article on measuring Core Web Vitals and other user experience metrics with On-Page API.

Streamlining keyword research and content optimization with APIs

Keyword research is another key part of an effective SEO strategy for journalistic content. This process involves identifying and analyzing terms and phrases people use to discover news and articles through search engines, like Google and Bing. To rank well in Google’s Top Stories feature in particular, it’s essential to use proper keywords in <h1> headlines.

With APIs, news SEOs and media outlets can tap into vast keyword datasets and compile lists of high-value terms for relevant pieces. Let’s explore a few things you can do with DataForSEO APIs for keyword research.

  • Generate relevant keyword suggestions with accurate and up-to-date metrics using Keyword Data API (search volume, CPC, competition) and DataForSEO Labs API (search volume, CPC, competition, keyword difficulty, search intent, and more).
  • Compile a list of less competitive long-tail keywords using Google Autocomplete API.
  • Explore keyword popularity by subregion, age, and gender with DataForSEO Trends API to tailor content to specific locations and demographics.
  • Understand keyword competition and analyze competitors’ visibility using DataForSEO Labs API.

To maximize the performance of your articles, it’s also crucial to optimize the content itself. SEO-friendly content tends to rank higher and drive more traffic from search, while also delivering better experience for readers. Instead of manually proofreading and optimizing every article, which can be time-consuming, you can automate key editorial and content optimization tasks by relying on APIs as well.

DataForSEO Content Generation API offers a range of powerful functionalities tailored to content optimization. For instance, you can use it to:

By relying on these API solutions, your media can enhance and scale keyword research efforts, while also improving content discoverability and readability.

Building authority with backlinks and brand mentions using APIs

Prominence and authoritativeness are crucial Google News ranking factors. According to Google, their system “looks at how original reporting (for example the publisher that first broke a story) is cited by other publishers to understand how a publication is influential and authoritative on a topic.” This makes backlinks (citations or mentions with hyperlinks to your articles) one of the cornerstones of a long-term SEO strategy for news publishers.

Yet, when it comes to building a solid backlink profile, it’s not enough to create content that naturally attracts backlinks from authoritative websites and relevant sources. You also need reliable backlink data to scale and improve link-building efforts.

DataForSEO’s Backlinks API can provide media outlets with access to high-quality data from our vast index of over 2.9 trillion live backlinks. In particular, Backlinks API can help publishers in several key areas:

  • Analyzing backlink profiles, anchor text distribution, and domain authority of referring websites.
  • Identifying low-quality and spam backlinks to remove.
  • Detecting content duplicates and identifying backlink competitors.
  • Discovering new link-building opportunities and authoritative sites to reach out to.
  • Exploring historical data and monitoring current backlink acquisition progress.
  • Conducting bulk analyses and more.

With Backlinks API, publishers can strengthen their authority and presence in Google News and Search. If you’d like to explore our API’s capabilities further, don’t hesitate to register for a free 14-day trial.

Another powerful yet often overlooked way to build authority and discover valuable link-building opportunities is by tracking brand mentions. Every time your publisher brand is mentioned, there’s a possibility of converting that mention into a backlink. Besides that, mentions can help measure your publication’s influence and reach and learn how your articles resonate with your audience.

To streamline the process of collecting and analyzing brand mentions, DataForSEO offers Content Analysis API. On top of delivering mentions of any keyword or brand from across the web, it also provides data on the volume of those mentions, insights into the sources, and target audiences. Our API tracks keyword mentions in over 70 languages and conducts sentiment analysis employing natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML). These algorithms programmatically determine the emotional context in which a mention appears and score the positive, negative, and neutral polarity of the text.

This makes Content Analysis API a perfect and unique tool that allows publishers to find mentions on high-authority sites and create personalized outreach messages based on the emotional context of a mention. For more information about sentiment analysis and utilizing our APIs for brand management projects, take a look at this blog post.

To sum up, APIs make many aspects of news website optimization much easier, from technical SEO to keyword research and link-building. The insights gained with APIs help media organizations establish lasting SEO success. Moreover, APIs are an indispensable tool for measuring the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. To learn more about using API to track progress in search, keep reading.

Using APIs for real-time reporting – a must-have for publishers

Nobody wants yesterday’s news, right? This means that, unlike evergreen content that builds value over time, news articles have a fleeting opportunity to shine in search and drive traffic. For instance, appearing in the Top Stories carousel lasts for less than 48 hours. This is a big challenge, making real-time reporting vital for publishers to make quick adjustments.

The basic tool journalists can turn to for live data is Google’s Realtime Content Insights (for Google Analytics users). It shows article performance in real-time, including:

  • Current number of article readers.
  • Pageviews in the last 30 minutes.
  • Top five traffic sources.

Additionally, the tool has a Realtime Search Trends section with data from Google Trends. It highlights search interest in various topics, top news stories, and videos from the last 24 hours.

Overall, Realtime Content Insights is a useful solution for tracking news performance. However, it lacks ranking data from Google Search, keyword information, and customization options. For more comprehensive and meaningful analytics, some news organizations build custom dashboards tailored to their specific needs.

One standout example here is The Guardian’s in-house analytics engine, Ophan. It tracks a quarter of a billion events daily, reflecting data on its dashboard within three to five seconds. After the launch of its improved version, Ophan was opened to the whole company, reaching over 950 active monthly users within the organization. “You don’t get 950 people by buying in a tool and going through some massive training process,” explains Chris Moran, the digital audience editor, at The Guardian. “The way you get that is by making the tool useful to the individuals within this building.”

Ophan’s features present timely and important information tailored for The Guardian’s journalists and editors. The tool shows how each piece has been promoted through channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Google Search, and the impact each channel has on content views. The dashboard also displays the search terms people used to discover that piece of content via Google.

the guardian ophan

Leveraging APIs, you can build a custom real-time analytics dashboard with comprehensive insights tailored to your media’s needs.

You can pull data on current readers, page views, and traffic sources with Google Analytics API. If you want to have detailed overviews of a news site’s performance in Top Stories and other SERP features, or the Google News Tab, use DataForSEO SERP API. It will help you build reports with real-time data similar to the ones offered in news-focusing tools like NewzDash and Trisolute’s NewsDashboard.

Using Live Google Organic SERP Advanced and Live Google News Tab SERP API, you can collect and track daily industry trends in any country, and monitor your media’s live performance and rank changes. Best of all, you can make API calls to refresh data anytime instead of tracking it every 15-30 minutes, as offered in NewzDash.

NewzDash top stories

Using the data from the same DataForSEO SERP API endpoints, you can also add a comparison of a site’s or article’s search performance on mobile and desktop, similar to this NewsDashboard report.

NewsDashboard desktop vs mobile

Taking this a step further, you can leverage DataForSEO Trends API to pull in keyword popularity trends across various regions and demographics. With Keyword Data API, you can obtain keyword metrics like search volume and competition.

To wrap it up, live search performance data is essential for publishers. Google’s Realtime Content Insights offers a good starting point, but in-house analytics tools like The Guardian’s Ophan can provide much more detailed and actionable insights. By leveraging APIs from DataForSEO and Google Analytics or other tools, you can create a robust custom dashboard tailored to your unique requirements. With live data on traffic and search rankings, your newsrooms will have the power not only to monitor immediate news performance but also to proactively enhance it.


APIs are revolutionizing the media industry, giving publishers the tools they need to innovate, streamline operations, and maintain a competitive edge. With APIs, reporters turn raw data into meaningful stories, and SEO teams obtain efficient tools for optimizing news content, tracking progress, and making timely adjustments. Some media outlets even leverage APIs to gain tailored insights in real-time via in-house reporting tools.

DataForSEO brings a wide range of valuable APIs to the table, offering live data, flexibility, and cost-efficiency. Whether you want to elevate your reporting or build a custom rank-tracking dashboard, DataForSEO’s APIs have got you covered. Don’t hesitate to register for a free trial and experience the transformative power of APIs firsthand.

Irene T.

Content Writer at DataForSEO. Irene’s linguistic background and hands-on customer support experience help her brilliantly interpret the most intricate tech topics for any audience. Together with the DataForSEO Content Team, Irene also conducts in-depth researches of the martech industry. Sign up for our newsletter to never miss the latest pieces.

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