Your thoughts on Google paying to link to news publishers; Wednesday’s daily brief

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Good morning, Marketers, let’s pick up where we left off.

Last Wednesday morning, I laid out a few reasons why it’s unreasonable to force Google to pay to link to publishers in the main search results. Instead, Google has been pushing its News Showcase as a mechanism to compensate news publishers.

Since then, Seven West Media (which owns 21 publications) has become the largest Australian news media organization to get on board with News Showcase. In France, News Showcase has evoked mixed reactions: “These opaque agreements don’t ensure the fair treatment of all news publishers, since the calculation formula isn’t made public,” Spiil, the union for independent online news publishers, told Reuters, “Google took advantage of our divisions to advance its interests.”

To Spiil’s point, there are clearly differing opinions within the industry. I opened up my inbox for your thoughts on this as well, and the responses were diverse:

  • “Why segregate and discriminate against other websites? If Google needs to pay for news links, then the next step is that Google needs to pay for ALL ORGANIC links.” – Bruce C.
  • “Personally, I think that Google should just stop indexing all news websites (or possibly all websites) in Australia. They should not even be entertaining solutions with them as this will become a slippery slope setting a precedence for other industries to demand payment for links to their content.” – Jim H.
  • “Google scrapes content off the entire web, sells it back to us using snippets under the guise of copyright fair use, and then tells the rest of the world that doing exactly the same is against their guidelines. The world will be a much better place if this animal was brought under control.” – D. Johnson.
  • “Resources like Google and Facebook, which are reliant on other people’s content to serve user needs, should be issuing ad credits for content that performs organically. It’s insane that they don’t as they provide such a value.” – Drew A.

What if Google tried that last idea? It would keep publishers advertising on its platform, but would the influx of advertising credits to the news sector just make for much more expensive ads? How would that impact non-news advertisers? And, surely, there would still need to be some form of traditional compensation…coupons and impressions aren’t going to be enough to pay your employees. It’s fun to think about, but unlikely to happen. Whatever course Google, the publishers and regulators end up taking, I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

George Nguyen,
Editor

Publishers should test AMP removal before quitting cold turkey

We jumped on a Clubhouse call yesterday on the topic of Digital News SEO hosted by publishing SEO experts John Shehata, Michelle Robbins, Topher Kohan, and Paul Shapiro. 

With Google announcing that AMP won’t be required for publishers to get into Top Stories, we asked the experts if they recommended ripping out AMP as soon as the new page experience update goes live in May. A great conversation and debate ensued. Here’s the tl;dr:

  • If your news site isn’t fast enough without AMP, maybe don’t get rid of AMP ASAP.
  • Most news sites won’t be as fast as AMP due to advertising.
  • Your content is still the most important, but if all else is equal, speed wins (the refrain with CWV).
  • For most devs/ad sales teams, it’s too much work to get news sites as speedy as AMP for the payoff.
  • Testing is the key. Take a chunk of the site. Remove AMP and see how it fares in comparison.

Breaking down President Biden’s data-driven social media strategy  

The social media campaign under the Biden for President banner wasn’t based on flair and instinct: it was tightly driven by social analytics. To explain how that worked in practice, we turned to Sarah Galvez, Director of Social Media and Audience Development at Biden for President.

Among the initiatives she took were bringing on board social media managers from outside politics; breaking down social platforms into their component parts (Instagram Stories, for example, demands a different approach than Instagram); and rejecting heavyweight social media management suites for software which did what the team needed — Measure Studio for comprehensive but rapid performance analytics, and the project management tool Monday.com for scheduling.

Perhaps the team’s most eye-catching achievement was figuring out how to showcase Biden on platforms like Twitch without being perceived as inauthentic. The solution? Combine Biden’s authentic affection for railways with video shot from his campaign train and a soundtrack of lo-fi hip hop. Another niche community captured.

Read more here.

Tom Capper joins Moz as new Senior Search Scientist

Moz announced yesterday that Tom Capper, former SEO lead at Distilled (now Brainlabs) joined the SEO platform’s team as their new Senior Search Scientist. 

“Tom has proven his mastery of search science through research that has had a meaningful impact on the SEO community for years. We are excited to welcome him to Moz,” said Sarah Bird, CEO of Moz. 

The move demonstrates that more companies are moving to hire research roles in search marketing to understand the big issues that affect paid and organic marketers.

Stop worrying about stop words

Stop worrying about stop words. Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter “I wouldn’t worry about stop words at all; write naturally. Search engines look at much, much more than individual words. “To be or not to be” just is a collection of stop words, but stop words alone don’t do it any justice.”

Poll on core web vitals. Lily Ray posted a Twitter poll asking if SEOs think the Google Page Experience Update will have a big or small impact on rankings.  Most seem to think it will have a moderate to small impact. See the poll over here.

Cat Mueller. By now many of you have seen the lawyer who couldn’t figure out how to get the cat face filter off during a court case with a judge. So Google’s John Mueller had a bit of fun on a call with fellow Googler Danny Sullivan.

We’ve curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader.


About The Author

George Nguyen is an editor for Search Engine Land, covering organic search, podcasting and e-commerce. His background is in journalism and content marketing. Prior to entering the industry, he worked as a radio personality, writer, podcast host and public school teacher.

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