December 5, 2021

More Newspapers Just Don’t Get It

All I’m seeing on Twitter is articles about how major news publishers are lobbying Google to give their sites more weight. The basic argument goes something like this:

As news reporters we’re doing all the work to break the story, but somebody blogging about it is ranking higher in search than us. We should be first, it’s our work and we’re more reputable.

There’s a few problems with that argument though.

First off, Google search isn’t just news. In fact, there’s a whole separate section of Google that does nothing but search news – and the news agency sites come up first.

Secondly, news is just that – news. When I search for a topic I don’t want just news, I want insight. I want to go to a site with comments and see what other people are saying about the news. I want to know more than just what happened, I want to know how it impacts me and how others feel about it.

The most important factor though, is that newspapers have spent so much time being anti-Google that they don’t deserve to rank higher. The main reason that most newspapers don’t rank well is because they spent too much time doing stupid things.

They’ve spent so much effort hiding behind pay walls and suing people who link to them that they’ve UN-SEO’d themselves right out of any rankings they should have gotten. As somebody said in a comment to an earlier post than mine, most newspapers terms of service expressly prohibit you from even linking to their site.

It’s shocking to think that newspapers are just now seeing the value of having an online offering and getting traffic to it. Just a couple years ago they were trying to charge Google for even including them in search results, now they want to be at the top? I don’t get it, it’s like they don’t even listen to themselves when they talk.

If you want your newspaper to rank well you need to start doing some basic SEO. Remove the pay walls and subscription only features. Make your online articles more spider friendly. You’d be surprised at how many news articles I still see that don’t have the date in them or fail to mention what city the newspaper is even from. Even more use antique content management systems that put huge undecipherable session IDs in their URLs.

If you’re serious about building online traffic you need to hire somebody who knows what they’re doing and start taking these simple steps to get your content noticed. Bitching about it to Google is just going to make you look more stupid than you actually are.

About Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones is an SEO from Detroit. By day he works as a manager of SEO & Analytics at SapientNitro where his team performs SEO for Fortune500 clients. By night he's either playing hockey or attempting to take over the world with his own websites - which he would have already succeeded in doing had it not been for those meddling kids and their dog. The views expressed here have not been paid for and belong only to Ryan, not any of his employers or clients. Follow Ryan on Twitter at: @RyanJones, add him on Google+ or visit his personal website: www.RyanMJones.com

Comments

  1. Wow. Bang on the money.

    I’m a little annoyed with linking to relevant articles on newspaper sites and then having the link break after a 7 day period as it disappears behind a pay-archive news site.

    And it’s not just the pure news content that they don’t get. The proliferation of webcomics is killing one of the major reasons people buy newspapers: The funnies.

    It leads me to start to believe that newspapers just don’t seem to get the internet at all. 🙁