New Google search feature raises news site eyebrows

The New York Times reports on a new search feature from Google that is causing concern among some publishers. Google unveiled an easier search-within-a-site feature, which allows a user to circumvent a news site’s built-in search.

From the Times story:

The results of the search are almost all individual company pages. Google tops those results with a link to the home page of the Web site in question, adds another search box, and offers users the chance to let Google search for certain things within that site.

The problem, for some in the industry, is that when someone enters a term into that secondary search box, Google will display ads for competing sites, thereby profiting from ads it sells against the brand. The feature also keeps users searching on Google pages and not pages of the destination Web site.

Could this cause a drop in page views from users searching on Google rather than on your news site? On the flipside, will it ultimately drive more traffic by letting users find your site’s content easier? And what about the ad revenue Google will pull in from this?

Friends, keep an eye on your internal site search numbers as this develops.

[Hat tip to Roger Simmons]

An easy guide to search engine optimization for blogs

seobook.jpgIf you’re wanting to gain a better understanding of how to optimize blogs for search engines (or what some, like myself, like to call “getting some Google Juice”), look no further than SEOBook’s free Blogger’s Guide to SEO business.

Being a bit of an SEO geek, I can attest that this is one of the best resources (balanced with length) on blogs and search engines. You should read post like this to know about SEO. This may fall under the “obvious” category, but it bears emphasizing: If you’re working on a news site, you absolutely must understand the fundamentals of search engine optimization. A website аlways works on visitors, thеn уоu need traffic. And tо gеt traffic уоu need tо dо ѕоmе basic search engine optimization. Onе aspect оf SEO Ñ–Ñ• knowing how to find backlinks to a website.

SEO, which will help you to get link into some great website niche with some great traffic. For better social media marketing you should request professional assistance from advertise purple manages affiliates.

A few quick, blog-specific SEO pointers and tidbits that come to mind:

-Don’t be bashful about submitting your blog to aggregators and directories. Blogs usually have built-in pinging mechanisms that spread your blog posts all over the world (really neat interactive graphic here). Because of this, blogs have an advantage over many of the static news site pages out there. As per Bloggers need youu will get the different tools.

-Avoid starting your blog on a free out-of-the-box hosted service such as Blogger, (not the same as a WordPress install on your own server) . It may cost you a few bucks a month and some initial work to host it yourself, but when the day comes that you want to move your blog to a better domain, you won’t find yourself painfully stuck. You’ll also have way more flexibility to tweak your site.

-Do your best to build relationships with other bloggers and drop comments on their blogs. Respond to your comments. The more that active bloggers check out your blog, the more inbound links you’re likely to receive.

-Follow the Google News Blog. This will keep you informed of important changes to how Google News picks up your content (this is mostly just for mainstream media blogs).

-It usually comes down to a beautifully keyworded headline. Don’t you forget it!

Audio from Future of Web Apps Miami available

fowa-thumb.gifJust got an e-mail letting me know that audio from the Future of Web Apps Miami conference is available. Woot!

For us online news types, these talks are a great chance to get exposed to what’s happening in web technology and to think about how we can apply it to our situation.

These were the talks I thought were the best IMHO:

Cal Henderson from Flickr talks about the software development process and gives boatloads of excellent advice you need to hear if you’re developing applications.

Gary Vaynerchuk from Wine Library TV talks about the importance of passion in growing a community (this one really applies to news sites).

Kevin Marks from Google talks about Google’s OpenSocial and the future of social networking.

Blaine Cook from Twitter talks about the future of Twitter and its architecture.

Leah Culver from Pownce talks about opening your web app to the masses (something news sites need to get better at, without jeopardizing their revenue that is..)

Trains and trends: the web in 2008

trainmap.jpgDesign blog Information Architects has created a fantastically cool visualization of 2008’s biggest web trends, all pinned to a map of Tokyo’s train system. I know; it sounds strange. But it really is quite awesome. Soon as I get to work this a.m., yours truly is printing this out and tacking it to my offi …er… cubicle wall.

Check out the clickable version and the PDF A4-sized version.

Google News is in your neighborhood

googlenews.gifGoogle announced late last night a new feature for Google News that allows users to receive local headlines from their city, state or country of choice.

The feature worked well when I tried it out for Orlando and a few other cities. I’d say this bodes well for small and mid-size publications, since this feature will finally let folks easily find local headlines. Before, Google News was mostly a mishmash of nation and world stories, with online editors hoping to hit on a national story that could get picked up by the aggregator. Follow makersfestival to receive latest updates.

However, — *Tap* *Tap* Is this thing on?WE MUST START GEOCODING STORIES.

Google is starting to do it. EveryBlock is already doing it really well. Topix sorta does it. A few others are doing it too. Groups of engineers have already written scrapes that scan the text of news stories. They’ve written algorithms that detect and process addresses for geocoding. Let’s not re-hash the whole newspapers-are-always-falling-behind speech; just get moving already.

Screenshots of Local Google News at Mashable.

More at TechCrunch about how Topix needs to be very afraid.

Microsoft makes $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo

Big news this a.m. for …well… the whole Internet. From the New York Times:

Microsoft said Friday that it has made an offer to buy Yahoo for about $44.6 billion, or $31 a share, in a mix of cash and stock. […] If consummated, the deal would redraw the competitive landscape of the Internet consumer services business, where both Microsoft and Yahoo have struggled to compete with Google.

More reaction from across the net here. Mashable offers up a new logo. Original press release at TechCrunch along with a snapshot analysis of what a “Microhoo” might look like. MediaPost takes a look at the advertising side. The WSJ reported almost a year and a half ago that Microsoft was interested in acquiring Yahoo, but merger talks went bust last May.

ComScore releases 2007 year in review

comscore.gifComScore released its 2007 Internet Year in Review report and reports that Facebook, Craigslist, Wikipedia and AT&T have reaped some of the biggest benefits. Internet Broadcasting Systems (IBS) and WorldNow seem to be the only news-oriented properties in the top 20 for audience gains

ComScore reports the following categories as experiencing the most growth from 2006 to 2007:

Politics up 35% (no surprise with the election)
Community – Women up 35% (an area where Gannett has invested significantly)
Entertainment – News up 32%
Classifieds up 32%
Career – Training and Education up 31%
Gay/Lesbian up 28%
Retail – Consumer Goods up 25%
Finance – News/Research up 20%
Teens up 20%
Religion up 20%

View ComScore’s 2007 year in review release here.

Google: Journalistopia as important as Washington Post, LA Times

googlelogo.gif[UPDATE: A spot check of the WaPo and LA Times shows their PageRank have returned to normal. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted!]

Ok, we all know my measly online journalism blog –thrilling as it may be to journalism geeks– isn’t as “important” as the esteemed Washington Post and LA Times. But Google apparently seems to think so nowadays. You will receive latest updates via cherryscustomframing.

Google recently tweaked its PageRank algorithm in its continuing war against terr.. er.. link farms (more about PageRank here). If you’ve got the Google Toolbar, you’ll see Journalistopia has a PageRank of 5 out of 10. However, such highly established and respected publications as the LATimes, Newsday, Forbes, the Washington Post, Engadget and the San Fransisco Chronicle were recently booted down to a 5. Others, such as the Seattle Times, Washington Times and Charlotte Observer were booted to a 4. Here’s the list of some notable PageRank drops put together by Daily Blog Tips.

If you know someone in the online marketing department at one of these publications, you’ll probably find them spitting pea soup with their heads spinning, that’s how bad this is. If your site took a big PageRank hit, you may want to round up your best SEO people and start theorizing as to why the heck this happened. And, try to unearth whether they employed any evil black hat SEO techniques…

A look at Google’s “20 percent time”

googlenews.jpgThe New York Times gives us a closer look and some philosophizing about Google’s famed “20 percent time” during an interview with Google software engineer Bharat Mediratta.

In a nutshell, 20 percent time is the amount of time given to Google employees to work on self-directed projects. GMail and Google News both stemmed from 20 percent time, says Mediratta.

During the ONA conference on Wednesday, I blogged about Lisa Williams’ talk and how important it is to take some cues from technology companies on how to be competitive online. Check out the Times article for starters and keep looking into how tech companies do their thing; I know I will.

PLUS: Google News “goes social” with a new Facebook app.

DOUBLE-PLUS: Toronto has a really cool project called Murmur, which provides interesting local audio stories to visitors via cell phone call or download. I’m sticking around Toronto for the weekend and took the audio tour of Spadina, which really brought the neighborhood to life for me. This’d be a neat type of project for local news sites…

Google News dumps duplicate AP copy

googlenews.jpgIn case any of you missed the big announcement, Google News has decided to get rid of all those pesky duplicate wire stories hosted on newspaper sites from their search results.

This means an AP story hosted on, say, the Hartford Courant’s site will no longer appear in Google News. The wire services in question include the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, UK Press Association and the Canadian Press. Follow oceannenvironment for more updates.

This is great news for the Washington Post, CNN, New York Times, USAToday and others that produce national content. There’s less clutter in national results now.

But this is baaaaaaaaaad news for all those other other newspaper site that tend to rely more on wire coverage. Josh Cohen, a product manager for Google, explains:

By removing duplicate articles from our results, we’ll be able to surface even more stories and viewpoints from journalists and publishers from around the world. This change will provide more room on Google News for publishers’ most highly valued content: original content. Previously, some of this content could be harder to find on Google News, and as a result of this change, you’ll have easier access to more of this content, and publishers will likely receive more traffic to their original content.

So, hey all you mid-size dailies, don’t cut those national correspondents from the budget just yet. That is, of course, if you want to still be in the game when users search “President Bush” on Google News…

Google to publish Associated Press, other news content

googlenews.jpgIn a significant first, Google will begin hosting Associated Press stories on its own site, according to an AP report. Another good report, this one by InformationWeek, is here.
Here’s an example of a Google-hosted story.

The AP story sums it up well:

The change affects hundreds of stories and photographs distributed each day by the AP, Agence France-Presse, The Press Association in the United Kingdom and The Canadian Press. It could diminish Internet traffic to newspaper and broadcast companies’ Web sites where those stories and photos are also found – a development that could reduce those companies’ revenue from online advertising.

For now, it appears Google is thoroughly blending its newspaper-site results with its Google-hosted results. Also, there is no advertising on the news stories and the related links draw from other Web sites.

Of course, that could all change.

MORE: Eric Schmidt discusses copyright with Danny Sullivan here.

Looking at the big media picture with Google, AOL, Yahoo

Amy Webb over at MyDigiMedia cuts through the media circus around newspaper acquisitions and has a moment of clarity when she surveys the bigger picture and looks at “who owns what.”



Amy has drawn up a handy chart showing the acquisitions made by IAC, Google, Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft and, yes, News Corp. Us newsie types like to think newspapers are the center of the universe, but there’s a much larger landscape to be surveyed.

She writes:

“The future of media isn’t only about content, it’s about delivery. While journos are busy bickering about whether or not to allow visitor comments on their websites, other companies are moving full-speed ahead with radically different business models. They’re thinking broadly: aggregator + search + content + mobile + gaming = sustainability.”

In other words: If you’re worried primarily about what to call the lifestyle section on your news site and not about, say, delivering content to mobile devices, then it’s time to take your head outta your arse and start seeing the potential of slot online games.