Sunday, January 14, 2007

Newspapers should own local

Rich Skrenta has an interesting post asking why newspapers fail to get their excellent content up high in search results. Some excerpts:
If you go to Google and type in any restaurant name, you're not likely to ever come across a newspaper restaurant review in the results.

These would be very valuable pageviews to be getting. Adsense could do $10-30 CPM on these landings. Not to mention the value to the newspaper to hold on to a claim of authority for restaurant reviews in their area.

Newspapers have a lot of great content, really high quality stuff that cost them a lot of money to develop. Users would love to come across this content, when appropriate.
Newspapers have remarkable content on businesses and events in their communities. They should be the authoritative source for local. They should be the experts on their communities and reap the traffic from searchers seeking that expertise.

For more on this, see also my May 2006 post, "Newspapers and local content", where I said:
Newspapers should own local.

When I want information about Microsoft, Amazon, or other Seattle area companies, the best source should always be the Seattle PI. When I want information about local restaurants, I should think the obvious place to go is the Seattle PI. When I want information about concerts, events, parks, politics, traffic, entertainment, news, anything local, the best place to go should be the Seattle PI.

Sites like Citysearch should look hollow and pathetic next to the content provided by your newspaper. The Wall Street Journal should seek out the Seattle PI for access to their in-depth reporting on Microsoft. Google Local and Yahoo Local should be begging the Seattle PI for access to their pool of local advertisers.

Newspapers should be the broker for local content. Newspapers should be the master of news and advertising content for their communities. Newspapers should be the experts of local.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely. Instead, newspapers spread their efforts thin and are generalists and repackagers of content.

They do a terrible job at SEO. They throw away good (and valuable) work by expiring content or relegating it to archives where readers have to pay $5 an article. (Note to newspapers: your content isn't that valuable.

Local is the biggest things they have. It's expensive content to re-create and yet they do a poor job of packaging it online.

I used to work in online for a couple of major newspapers.

I've written a couple of posts on how to improve online sites for the Web 2.0 world:
Adapting online newspapers to Web 2.0

Keeping online newspapers relevant

Note that some of these recommendations are very different than what I would have written even two years ago.