Google & The Tyranny Of The New

Old news is a gold mine.

Interesting post at the Long Tail Blog about how the existence of Google, and other search engines, means that news doesn’t need to disappear the day after it has published, which is how the newspaper industry has traditionally operated:

“What matters to modern search engines is relevance, measure mostly by the number of other sites that link to a page. A little-noticed implication of this is that older content tends to score higher because it’s had longer to accumulate incoming links. In other words, search inverts the usual priority of content: older is often better.”

OK, so he is missing the fact that a freshness algo treats certain news content differently, but the point is a good one. News archives are valuable advertising real estate.

Old news is no longer just old news.

It is a place.

  1. BillBill05-01-2006

    Yep. I’ve asked at least one client to reconsider the way that they write newsletter articles which focus on regional events, so that the content of those pages continue to have value after the event has passed.

    Many of their events are ones that recur from year to year, and having older articles about the events can give searchers a sense of the history of those events, and something to find before news about the newer event is posted. Previously, they would leave the old newsletters up for a few months, and then remove them.

    The older articles were big on directions and dates, and short on particulars. Newer articles now tell a little about the history of the events, some highlights from previous years, biographys of special guests, and other things that might get people planning early to go to the next one.

  2. JuggoPopJuggoPop05-03-2006

    @Peter – I like that line:

    Old news is no longer just old news.
    It is a place.

    thanks for the great articles… I enjoy the read.

    @Bill – that sounds like wise advice.

  3. Peter Da VanzoPeter Da Vanzo05-03-2006

    Cheers. It’s surprising that a lot of big newspapers have been so slow to grasp that fact.

  4. BillBill05-03-2006

    The paradigm hasn’t shifted for them yet.

    My local paper changed a few months ago so that any article more than seven days old is now archived and costs money to read. I used to link to them three or four times a week from a regional-based blog. I haven’t linked to them in the months since their transition.

    I’m hoping that they figure out at some point that there’s more value, and potentially more profit in keeping those older stories online and free for people to read. The longer it takes, the more likely that someone will replace them.

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