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Upcoming books, millions of page views and more

Ballpark DigestComing attractions at Ballpark Digest: several new baseball books in coming weeks, including a Southern League history, as we look to the second million-page-view month in a row.

Site updates this week have been slow for one simple reason: we’re prepping a whole slew of new-book titles for the winter and spring, and there are only so many hours in a day. Our spring-training guides, which ended up on the Amazon best-seller lists last spring, have been updated for 2014 and will be available next week. Mark McCarter, veteran Huntsville Times columnist who’s been covering pro baseball since the days of Engel Stadium as an MiLB venue, has written a simply outstanding history of the modern Southern League that will be available by the end of the year. The Baseball Thesaurus by Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is due for a second edition; the first edition was an Amazon best-seller. Mark Cryan is updating Cradle of the Game, his entertaining look at baseball in North Carolina, for a second edition. And we’re bringing back The Complete Guide to Big League Ballparks for a spring release. Before the end of the year you’ll see a really cool project done in conjunction with an MiLB circuit.

And we’re on pace for another million-page-view month: 850K so far in October. A big reason for the growth in page views: Google’s Hummingbird update. If you work in SEO or any sort of marketing, you know that Google overhauled its search engine in August (we started seeing the results on Aug. 22) and fashioned its listings based on more complex criteria designed to reward original, high-quality content and less so on SEO tricks like keyword stuffing and short snippets comprising a “story.” (No surprise our top stories this month were all original pieces; that’s what Google likes!) Our page views and unique visitors are both up some 25 percent since the Hummingbird update; the same trend happened to our Spring Training Online, Arena Digest and Yellowstone Insider websites. We’ve been chatting with a few folks about some custom publishing efforts in terms of content marketing (helping companies tell their stories with custom writing and positioning), and we will be expanding those efforts in the future. Thanks to all of you for your patronage and support; we truly appreciate it.

And, of course, we’ll be at the Winter Meetings in Orlando the first week of December. You’ll find us in Booth 1320, near the front of back hall. Think we’ll spring for a couch this year. Kevin Reichard


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