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Old 04-09-2006   #1
sheseltine
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SEO & Newspapers

There's a NY Times article today on SEO, and how newspapers have begun to change the way they write in order to satisfy their 3rd audience - SE bots (readers & editors being the first 2)

This Boring Headline Is Written for Google

It talks about newspapers renaming entire sections of the paper in order to assist their ranking efforts (i.e. renaming 'Scene' to 'Lifestyles', as well as the difference between online and offline headline writing.

Quote:
In the print version of The New York Times, an article last Tuesday on Florida beating U.C.L.A. for the men's college basketball championship carried a longish headline, with allusions to sports history: "It's Chemistry Over Pedigree as Gators Roll to First Title." On the Times Web site, whose staff has undergone some search-engine optimization training, the headline of the article was, "Gators Cap Run With First Title."
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Old 04-09-2006   #2
g7submit
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Well, I live in the UK and don't usually get the NYT or the WP, however, if I should take Sheseltine's post at face value, I would think this is an expected (or overdue) battle between the virtual and physical media world. Besides, I have been thinking of late about how the Empire Would Strike Back.

While many media houses have embraced the virtual world, the success and billions reported every quarter by online advertisers such as Google and Yahoo has become the envy of the advertising world. If you get a bit close to the books of most newspapers, you would discover that it's a cut-throat competitive arena with dwindling advertising incomes.

Tell me, why would they not fight back? Would they do that successfully without getting into the system? And would they shoot themselves in the foot? Just imagine for a second, IF there were no online advertising big boys like G and Y, what sort of expense online ad would incur: Would it be as advanced? Would it be as cheap as it could be?

It's not going to be a case of making winners out of themselves by trying to run down the online media with negative press, otherwise they would be drilling a hole in the bags of their potential income as well.

But by creating a resource to meet the needs of die-hard online advertisers, they would make them (advertisers) re-think using their offline media and lure them away from the big boys of online ads. While it's not a short-term campaign, it's a very strategic one, IF they are actually thinking alone these lines- winning back a slice of the billions and profits.
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Old 04-09-2006   #3
Robert_Charlton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYT
"My worry is that some creativity is lost."
Well, my favorite headline is Variety's headline after the 1929 stock market crash: "Wall Street Lays an Egg." I'd be sorry to see that kind of creativity disappear.

A lot of so called creativity, though, involves some really bad writing. Chances are much of that won't change.

Interesting to see that SEO consciousness is now so mainstream.
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Old 04-09-2006   #4
shor
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Originally Posted by Robert_Charlton
Interesting to see that SEO consciousness is now so mainstream.
I wouldn't call it a recent mainstream affliction since online newspapers have always generated a huge % of referrals from SEs. I remember early last year when our automotive department released a review of a new vehicle, where the titles/h1/anchor text etc all coincidentally happened to be very SE-friendly (this is back when they didn't do in-house SEO).

They were then able to capitalize on the carmarker's multimillion dollar advertising campaign by being the first search result for the car model on Google, beating other car websites and the brand itself. An instant traffic win that really drove home the need for consistent SE-friendly editorial templates.
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Old 04-10-2006   #5
glengara
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Interesting article, also took a look around the site and noticed I didn't have to register for the NY Times, is that new?
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Old 04-11-2006   #6
vayapues
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glengara
Interesting article, also took a look around the site and noticed I didn't have to register for the NY Times, is that new?
I noticed that too. Not sure if it is new or not. I generally read the NY Times via Avantgo, and not on their website directly.
Speaking of services like Avantgo, and free online newspapers, it will be interesting to see if this is where the industry goes. I stopped my paper subscription three or four years ago now. I get more than all the news I can handle for free online. I am sure they see the writting on the wall, or in this case, on the Net.
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Old 04-13-2006   #7
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news.google.com vs google.com

What is also very interesting is the referrals rates of these two "engines" to newspaper sites. You can get a newspaper to get lots of referrals from news.google but try and get into important phrases into google.com... even as a big, established player you may struggle to rank highly on commercially viable or lucrative phrases.
So you end up raking in the "pulpy" traffic that you can't really convert directly.
The other problem is that newspapers are exploring the verticals, building niche sites where everything is interlinked and receive traffic off the main sites, thus becoming portals in their own right.
The main obstacle though probably is to balance editorial flair with SEO, ensuring that you attract a sticky audience and keep your human users interested and coming back, yet entice the search engines to rank you for your content.
Your advertising will be a function of the content. Spew out pulp and you attract the bottom of the barrel audience and advertiser who will target them.
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