UK Newspapers Dress To Please (Google)
Although certain Belgian news associations have tried to distance themselves from Google, British newspapers are taking the opposite approach. Some have bought search terms in order to "up" their exposure; others have attempted to optimize their websites and their articles according to the search engine's preferences.
Aaron O. Patrick documented instances of both behaviors in an article for the Wall Street Journal. "The Daily Telegraph, for example, bought the phrase 'North Korea Nuclear Test' after the country detonated a nuclear device last October," he wrote. "People in the United Kingdom and the U.S. using English-language Google who typed the phrase into the search engine saw an ad for the Telegraph Web site on the top right of their screen."
That's pretty smart thinking. In a slightly more disturbing case, however, "The Times of London . . . is training journalists to write in a way that makes their articles more likely to appear among Google's unpaid search results." That sort of thing could lead to some unwelcome possibilities.
Nicholas Carr anticipated one of them, and feared that the journalists' quality of writing could suffer. "In the past, the ideal reader tended to be a human being. In the future, it seems, it will be an algorithm," he predicted on Rough Type.
But American readers, whether they approve of these tactics or not, can almost construe them as a compliment. Edward Roussel, digital editor of the Daily Telegraph, told the WSJ why his company is so interested in Google. "It plays a critical part of exporting our brand, particularly to the U.S.," he explained.
Tag: UK newspapers, Google
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