Breaking News: Some Papers Actually Seem To Like Google

from the who'da-thunk-it dept

It would almost be amusing, if it weren’t so sad, to see the once-proud newspaper industry flounder as it tries to figure out the internet. It’s been dragged kicking and screaming into the online age, and it’s made misstep after misstep thanks to a largely defensive strategy of trying to protect its core product with useless schemes like registration barriers, rather than evolving to determine and maintain its relevance in a digital world. Google has been one particular point of contention for newspapers round the world, apparently unable to comprehend that it sends them traffic, which, you’d imagine, is something they’d regard as a good thing. Given this aversion, it’s a bit surprising to see a story in the WSJ this morning about how several British newspapers are actively buying Google AdWords like “North Korea nuclear test” to drive traffic to their sites, and — in a real shocker — changing their sites and content so as to improve their Google rankings. It’s nice to see that these papers have grasped the concept that’s eluded so many of their compatriots: that Google is an asset, not an enemy. They realize it’s a wonderful tool to grow their audience, rather than imagining it’s trying to steal it. If papers continue down their closed-shop path and ignore and actively resist sites like Google and continue to make it difficult for readers to access their content, they’ll become more and more irrelevant. By embracing Google, and figuring out how to use it to their advantage, newspapers might actually find some growth in this whole internet thing.

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Comments on “Breaking News: Some Papers Actually Seem To Like Google”

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Mark Warner says:

Newspapers will last forever

In one form or another, be it on paper or on some electronic paper (in the future, obviously!), newspapers will always exist, I live in London and read the free Lite newspaper and occasionally the Evening Standard. There is nothing quite like reading a paper, reading a computer screen just doesn’t seem as desirable somehow.

Eyes wide shut? says:

And thus Google becomes a news agency?

Quote: “Given this aversion, it’s a bit surprising to see a story in the WSJ this morning about how several British newspapers are actively buying Google AdWords like “North Korea nuclear test” to drive traffic to their sites, and — in a real shocker — changing their sites and content so as to improve their Google rankings.”

News papers change their content to fit google rankings?! That sure sounds like a healthy evolution. Now we don’t need to censor news anymore, the papers are doing it for us. And all that just to be popular enough to be read. This sounds like things getting worse instead of better. Strange to see that the Britisch aren’t just US lapdogs in politics, but even bowing down like grass in the wind for American companies. Even stranger to see the over critical TechDirt people write such stupid things just to maintain a view they started some time ago. It’s OK to change your views if you bump in to information that is relevant enough to be taken into consideration. Just don’t forget to keep your brains open boyz…

Probably just my wrong view on things, let’s all hail Economy. Heil Ekonomie!

Are you Surprised? says:

Re: And thus Google becomes a news agency?

Sorry, but newspapers have always catered to what the audience wants to hear. I’m not saying all of them do, and thank God for those who don’t. But this is not a new problem. Some people would argue that democracy rules, but if the majority of us are stupid, then maybe those of us who aren’t should do something about it. I will always be a fan of a fair and balanced report no matter where it appears. And you’re right… capitalism sucks in a lot of ways.

Eyes Wide Shut says:

Re: Re: And thus Google becomes a news agency?

Quote: “Sorry, but newspapers have always catered to what the audience wants to hear. I’m not saying all of them do, and thank God for those who don’t.”

Perfectly agreed, but i thought the audience were the people reading the newspaper, not the company indexing its information…

There will allways be crap reading, that i know to, but let’s just make sure the quality reading maintains its standards. Which reminds me that i still have to check exactly which papers are reported doing these idiotic things. My bad!

Environment anyone? says:

I would honestly like to see newspapers go by the wayside and more e-newspapers being used because of one thing: newspapers are made out of….paper! Getting rid of anything that uses trees and replacing it with a substitue would be one step in the right direction in regards to the environment (given that the substitue doesn’t harm the environment more than before).

Recycling can only do so much.

viewfromthenorth (user link) says:

Re: enviroment

the replacement for trees…as far as newsprint oriented strandboard, cellulose, etc, is available right now.
but somehow the big lumber and chemical giants got hold of the us government and had them lump Hemp in with marijuhana.. a distant relative.

fyi 5 acres of hemp produses the same amount of hi quality paper as 5 acres of trees, without the use of chemical bleatching etc.. as well it takes only one season to get a hemp crop off..the trees need 10 – 15 years of growth.

hemp will save the world..the oils are usable as foods or fuels

be smart and look past the false claims about hemp..our forefathers and their contemporaries wouldn’t have even considered crossing the ocean to a new land without a barrel of hemp seeds, there with all the other essentials needed for survival.

Verse says:

Who Reads a Newspaper

There are many benefits of the world becoming digital. Digital data is in real time… No newspaper is going to be able to match this simple fact… The internet can tell you what’s going on RIGHT NOW!

also, newspapers use tree’s, digital data does not, I agree with the application of technology and those who are too afraid or set in their ways to take a step forward in saving our environment, well enough said really.

The newspaper is dying!

Dancho Danchev (user link) says:

The old media still doesn't know how the new one w

Whereas newspapers are still content generators, ones Google cannot exist without, in the today’s instant news syndication world, it’s what you actually write about and its feasibility that get to harness potential traffic, not the idea of writing an article by itself. Google is absolutely not to blame, going at you see the clustered result of what the world is writing about, all Google does is eating your site for breakfast and making it appear whereas given key words are searched for. So if you’re writing for global warming in times when the whole world is watching North Korea’s future developments on their nuclear program, you have a problem, you’re not even going to appear in the clusted results. Even worse, you will blame Google for not showing your articles, they’re there, but no one is searching for them.

The old media has a problem with its “exclusiveness” mentality, news appear much faster then they used to be, you no longer have to wait for next morning’s newspaper to know what’s tomorrow’s news, you google, or open up your RSS reader given you know where and what to look for. Whenever newspapers realize that taking advantage of the momentum of a temporarily opened “event window” and respond as soon as they can, they’ll benefit, or cease to exist.

Moreover, the old media is still believing that restricting articles behind registered portals in times when the online ad industry is reaching yet another billion $ milestone per yearly basis, is a rather shortsighted strategy. If their story is in-depth people will read it, will reference it, will delicious, blog and digg it, Google will pick it up in 5 minutes and it will be among the top 10 sites to appear, their advertisers will be astonished by the amount of traffic they manage the generate and would be interested in long-term relationships. No one is going to bother registering to read an article whose story is a commodity by itself, it wastes time, and time is opportunities. From a marketing perspective, the information a newspaper can gather about its visitors can still provide them with relevant informatin for future campaigns, compared to actually knowing someone’s ZIP, news are not as online services, they’re a commodity, same story told in different words where the ones with the most visionary perspective make it up as the default news items for the story in question. Momentum is everything, if North Korea conducts their second test and it’s only the NYtimes who come up with a 3 pages in-depth coverage with satellite imagery from DigiGlobe in the first five hours, they’ll harness the traffic due to their timely coverage, and yes, get clusted too.

Quality web design, SEO, and relevant articles go hand in hand. The rest is meeting deadlines and per-word commisioned news items or articles. Old media – wake up and embrace the new media, or you’ll end up in a blogger’s news item excerpt one day 🙂

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