Google, Weblogs, and Print Publishers Online and Off

Like many of us, I’ve been following along with the discussions about whether or not Google is giving too much weight to weblogs and not enough to print publishers. Just a few of the dozens of interesting posts the past couple of weeks are by Dave Winer, Doc Searls, Dan Gillmor, Michael Hall.

Some print publishers may be bothered that their rankings aren’t higher for news-related searches, but I wonder if search engine experts and other online experts are consulted before print publishers block so much content from search engines behind their password-only subscriber-only areas. If they want to bring in visitors via search engines, which brings potential of increased revenue, maybe they ought to read Ben Hammersley’s comments from Saturday:

The newspaper I currently write for the most, The Guardian, is hot on this: Google’s bots have full roaming rights over their beautiful online presence. Result? The Guardian is by far one of the most popular online papers, and its reputation continues to rise. Compare and contrast this with my old paper, The Times, who block everything (including, unless you live in the UK, non-paying readers). Result? Online obscurity, and a shrinking reputation. Not to mention three years of primo-Hammersley content languishing inside Vignette somewhere.

Complaining about built-for-the-web content taking over the web, is like complaining about the cars when you’re trying to pogostick down the motorway.

And Doc Searls also Saturday:

Here’s a thought. What would happen if the archives of all the print publications out there were open to the Web, linkable by anybody, and crawlable by Google’s bots? Would the density of blogs 'above the fold' (on page one) of Google searches go down while hard copy sources go up? I’ll betcha it would.

My point: Maybe this isn’t about 'gaming' algorithms, but rather about a situation where one particular type of highly numerous journal has entirely exposed archives while less common (though perhaps on the whole more authoritative) others do not.

Sheila Lennon responds to those thoughts in her weblog, Subterranean Homepage News. article for the Providence Journal, 'Bottom-up' journalism from the pros While I totally understand what she says, I still wonder if it really must be so black-and-white, all-or-nothing. If the obituaries and law firm subscriptions bring in the largest sales it makes me wonder what could still be searched by search engines while allowing the print publishers to bring in subscription sales. I’ll follow this concept and see where it goes in the days ahead.

[Google Hacks: 100 Industrial Strength Tips & Tools, by Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest]Speaking of Google, are you wondering how to optimize your Google search results? Wondering what’s under the hood at Google? Want to know more about the Google API? Check out Google Hacks: 100 Industrial Strength Tips & Tools by Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest, published by O'Reilly in February. There’s also a helpful review of Google Hacks by Danny Yee.

Addendum 2003-05-22

Searchenginewatch.com’s Danny Sullivan posted a new review about the new Google Hacks book, Why Google Hacks is a Bestseller. Danny also noted that this title has made the New York Times Top 10 Bestsellers List for April 2003. Wow! Congratulations to Tara, Rael, O'Reilly publishers, and all involved in this project.

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Categories: Books, Internet, SEO, Weblogs


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  1. Regarding articles' position in Google search results: Do you think newsrooms will start doing paid search to attract readers?

    09:07 am, pst31 October, 2003Comment by Taylor Walsh

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