(image from amanda cee)
If you have been following any Internet news lately, then you know the AP has been making a lot of headlines in regards to their stance on copyright issues. However, today I would like to talk about something different, which is the new SEO strategy that the AP is adopting.
As explained by the Nieman Journalism Lab, “The same philosophy is driving their plan to build “news guide landing pages” that will aggregate the AP’s content around subjects, places, organizations, and people.”
Why did the AP decide to take this approach? According to the Nieman Journalism Lab, it has to do with Wikipedia:
“Two of the biggest beneficiaries of that traffic bonanza were Twitter and Wikipedia, a couple of digital natives that would have been viewed as very unlikely news competitors even a few months ago. Indeed, a new pattern of consumption was validated in the confusing minutes that followed the first reports of Jacko’s death: Users shared; they searched and they clicked on Wikipedia….
The Wikipedia page on Michael Jackson is not very pretty to look at, but it has more blue hyperlinks than black type. Forget the “wiki” method of community updating, the key to Wikipedia’s success is that its pages are designed to catch traffic, provide key information and then send users on their way to deeper engagement on the subjects they’re interested in.”
The NEJ goes on to explain that, “Most of the AP’s landing pages would be automatically generated, although “editorial curation” would also be possible.” They also mention that, “That’s the model followed by sites like The New York Times, which has had decent success with Times Topics.”
Do you think that this strategy is going to propel the AP to the top of the SERPs and allow them to take many top spots from Wikipedia? If you think that the AP is going to run into some problems because of their automatically generated pages, you’re not alone. In the amusingly titled “The problem with the AP’s plan to goose its Googlejuice,” Felix Salmon criticizes the plan because of this component:
“PageRank isn’t a dumb algorithm; it’s a smart algorithm, which is pretty good at working out what pages are the authoritative sources which people really want to go to. And in my experience Google is very good at pointing to pages which have a real human intelligence behind them. Every so often, an SEO-optimized automatically-generated site will pop up in the first page of Google results, and when it does, that’s a failure of Google, which the engineers at Google then try to fix.”
I want to hear your take on this issue, so get the discussion started by leaving your opinion in a comment below!