Google News pledges £107m to publishers over next three years

So Google News is in the news again, this time Google has pledged £107m to European publishers and news start-ups. As well as offering funding Google staff will be sharing knowledge with journalists on how to publish content so that it gets indexed correctly by Google.

What’s the point?


…if the ethos is that the best news is that which comes up in your search results, how do publishers fund that news, and make sure it’s indexed properly?

‘Ethical’ and well researched news doesn’t come for free, it’s written by experts who have niche knowledge. And if Google News want to stand out from Social Media as credible, and business orientated then they can’t go down the ‘most talked about’ route. ‘Most talked about’ might mean gossip or rumour, anyway it is unsubstantiated – sure it may be breaking news but it hasn’t been qualified yet. And until that journo is on the ground speaking to the authorities as well as eye witnesses who’s to say it’s true.

As regards Google compliance and the indexing of content, this takes different skills to that of journalism. There is a fine balance to be struck between a snappy headline and one that will make sense to the user that is seeking news or information. The blend of the dark art of SEO, not to mention responsive content, and intelligently written prose is the Editor’s daily challenge.

The move again highlights Google’s differentiation from other news sources, the recent partnership with Twitter emphasises a preference for trade, industry or business news as opposed to consumer-led interest.

Is there money in it?

Yes, businesses want to share their news, and speak directly to their clients or share holders – and not just from a pitching perspective. Business owners have sector knowledge and industry insight – who better to share news. And as traditional marketing continues to flag from cold calling to trade events, establishing credibility and therefore referral and recommendation has to be a more effective way to sell. And if the business sells ancillary products or services, advertising against relevant news in the right ‘section’ or ‘channel’ so that potential customers will understand the business proposition is  acost effective way to promote and position the product or service.

Reassuring too that the Financial Times, the Guardian and Die Zeit have joined the Google News foundation. It shows that regardless of history and credibility future proofing the freedom of the press is hard to do without funding or the support of Google.

Why Twitter and Google kissed and made up; it’s all about news

Okay so you may think that this is old hat – the Twitter Google reunion happened last month, before Valentine’s Day when my headline may have worked better but…

…Do you remember the first split?

Three years ago 21 Feb 2012 Twitter partnered with Yandex – the leading Russian search engine, so that Tweets could be published in realtime as news. This followed a split from LinkedIn and also Google; meaning that LinkedIn was no longer able to publish ‘trade news’ from it’s business member audience for which it had ranked so well. This was also true of Google, which was cut off overnight from real-time ‘trade news’ posted by Twitter members. Don’t forget that Facebook didn’t IPO until 18 May 2012, LinkedIn having IPO’d in late 2011 – the jury was out on Facebook as to what it what it would grow into. There had been some notable news partnerships ie with the Guardian, but many ‘news feeds’ on Facebook were app-led.  Twitter was to become associated with live trade news, causes and sport – winning the Olympics coverage later on in 2012.

Now flip forward to November 2014 and some European news publishers were mightily miffed with Google News for aggregating their paid content and deciding where it ranked. Why’s that a problem you may ask, Google indexes content well, it’s the biggest global advertising platform. If you ever worked in a news desk you will know that advertising is a dirty word – wash your mouth out. Journalists (rightly) pride themselves on being experts at sniffing out a story and validating information around it also providing context. Unlike gossip column writers they don’t dumb it down for us, but are able to relate it to their economics, politics or mechanical engineering degree. They also rub shoulders with the celebrities of their sector, our captain’s of industry, which means that they really are in the know. All this knowledge doesn’t come cheap, and publishers prize it – and we should too. There is a big difference between breaking a story – because you see it happen, and reporting on a story as it unfolds. Enough of my homage to journalists; the beef being that publishers invest in ‘expert comment’ whereas corporate communications (produced by copy writers and marketeers) serve a different purpose (to sell stuff) and don’t carry the same investment of time and learning. Therefore corporate comms should not out rank ‘independent’ and ‘credible’ news the publisher would say. They do have a point, however great editorial content – does sell ad space, and Google are the indexing experts also great at selling ad space – could the fight really be about ad revenue?

Some bloggers are industry experts, I would relate their challenging style to investigative journalism – the difference being how they get paid.

In addition this whole real-time news piece is relevant to us business people because we will check into our trade news channels Twitter, Mashable, Business Intelligence and professional networks like LinkedIn. Any self-respecting radio broadcaster or journalist will also have a Twitter channel. And let’s not get started on firewalls – they are just anti freedom of speech and curtail knowledge sharing, once more us business folk are rather into that.

Can you just climb aboard the news and media roller coaster with me one more time and flip forward to erhm yesterday – cool.

A little ity-bity change that Google News have made (11 March 2015) will have a big impact on the ranking of trade and corporate news. The change allows company statements (share holder investment news, press releases or published trading accounts) to rank above ‘news’. Previously only recognised ‘news’ providers TV stations, radio broadcasters and publishers were allowed to rank but now (Dah dah daah) corporate news, from small publishers, and or businesses themselves can also rank.

Here’s what Google had to say about it:

“The goal of search is to get users the right answer, at any one time, as quickly as possible. That may mean returning an article from an established publisher, a smaller niche publisher or indeed it might be a press article.”
[Exert taken from Business Insider UK/Tech]

Now who’s old hat!

Thanks for reading.


Facebook launches job board

Watch out LinkedIn

Facebook are playing down the launch of their job board (recruitment site) a little in the media, but we’re not fooled. Over at siteAssets we’ve been warning the recruitment and talent sourcing industry that as soon as Facebook got their act together they were a huge threat. Why is this so….

  1. Over half of US jobseekers use Facebook when job hunting;
  2. Of the companies that have Facebook pages and engage with applicants via these pages 54% anticipate recruiting heavily through these pages in the future;
  3. And the real biggie – Facebook’s Social Jobs Partnership with the US Labour department aggregates over 1.7m jobs, creating a fully interactive experience where candidates can apply within Facebook, sharing likes for jobs with friends.

What this means for Facebook’s competition

  • UK jobs boards that don’t already have a partnership with Facebook or BranchOut will have to fight harder to get applicants to their sites;
  • In particular danger is LinkedIn because they do not have a Social Media partnership (their partnership with Twitter ended in the spring and they are in direct competition with Facebook); moreover as they, like most recruitment sites and jobs boards, are not an original news owner, and without fresh ‘trade’ content they will struggle for visibility online.

What this means for candidates

  • Whoop-di-dooooo – at last a candidate’s interests, location, skills and professional network can speak for itself – gone are the concerns over whether or not the candidates ever actually was at Southampton Uni and took Maths it’s all on Facebook and;
  • Oooooops guys and gals please think about privacy settings – Facebook can sell you or finish you with a prospective employer – ditch the drunk poses and stop swearing on Fb, also please don’t slag off your employers…

For more tips please follow our blog

Good luck peeps

Twitter dumps LinkedIn – Ouch!

Twitter has ended its three-year partnership with LinkedIn, showing that LinkedIn always needed Twitter a whole lot more than Twitter needed LinkedIn. Why is this? Because LinkedIn lacks Social Media buzz, it’s a flat as Friends Reunited, and the end of this partnership means that LI may be headed that way too.

Why the partnership was so great for linkedIn; explained from an internet marketing perspective:

  • LinkedIn made Tweets visible in Google search results by publishing LinkedIn member news (in the form of individual Tweets) on their site;
  • This meant they were able to attract lots of professional users to their site;
  • This is why when you looked at what people [used to] search for before they arrived on the LinkedIn site you could see users searched on trade news items/hot topics (eg iPhone);
  • This was a bit of a coup considering that LinkedIn is not (and was not) an original news owner or publisher. In addition almost all (98%) of the traffic they got from their audience’s shared news and LinkedIn brand name searches was natural (organic or SEO) search traffic – which means that it was free!
  • So for three years LinkedIn overtook trade news owners from Brand Republic to the Guardian and also jobs boards growing their audience to over 4m unique visitors a month – that’s a lot. But now without visibility of all that trade news in the form of Tweets
And without…
Five months grace from 21 Feb* when LinkedIn member Tweets were still be published on LinkedIn and so were still being made visible by Google…
Now we (marketers, recruiters and jobseekers alike) need to look for some alternatives!
*Twitter shut Google out (21 Feb 2012) by partnering with Google’s biggest rival Yandex effectively bringing down an iron curtain on Google and its access to Twitter functionality and Tweet visibility in search results.

What this means for you as a jobseeker:

Think about your professional online brand, if you haven’t set up a Twitter account do it, and do it now. Check your privacy settings on Facebook and what you are saying during work hours. You are entitled to a social life, but consider having a professional Facebook account, one that you’d be happy to show a prospective employer. Whilst you are on Facebook check our BranchOut it is LinkedIn’s biggest threat. Based on what you do on Facebook and what you have put on your profile, you can connect with like-minded professionals on Facebook. Remember what’s visible on Facebook is down to you and your privacy settings, the BranchOut app is great – give it a go. Never share your Social Media logins. Do give yourself the best chance of getting hired.

What this means for you as a recruiter/hiring manager/HR professional/marketer:

If LinkedIn don’t start to pay to attract a trade reader (professional) audience the quality and volume of traffic hitting (and staying) on their site will fall. Check out BranchOut on Facebook, the app leverages a Facebook user’s network connections and has sophisticated likes and preferences data behind it. You are more likely to find talented professionals via this app.

What this means for LinkedIn:

They need to hire some skilled digital marketers!

For more web-savvy tips visit siteAssets, we run Social Media Recruitment workshops at a very reasonable price.

Good luck peeps.