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Summary:

Google (NSDQ: GOOG) VP of Search Products and User Experience Marissa Mayer appeared in front of congress Wednesday, but she wasn’t summoned…

imageGoogle (NSDQ: GOOG) VP of Search Products and User Experience Marissa Mayer appeared in front of congress Wednesday, but she wasn’t summoned by the Senate subcommittee to talk about making search data anonymous or her company’s policies in China. The topic was the future of journalism. Mayer spoke about how Google News and Google Search can help online newspapers generate additional revenue, but what caught our attention was a side tangent where she offered tips for publishers. (Read her full testimony here):

Her main pointers, after the jump.

Stories should have context: Mayer: “To make an article effective in a standalone setting requires providing sufficient context for first-time readers, while clearly calling out the latest information for those following a story over time.” Highlight: Mayer used the phrase “atomic units of consumption.”

Stories should be “living”: Rather than post multiple articles on the same topic under separate URLs (which Mayer explained to the senators stands for “uniform resource locators”), publishers should update existing pages.

Stories should be engaging: When a “reader finishes an article online, it is the publication’s responsibility to answer the reader who asks, ‘What should I do next?’ Click on a related article or advertisement? Post a comment? Read earlier stories on the topic?”

We hope you’re taking notes.

  1. Thanks Marissa. I'm sure related links set the newspaper sites back on a track to salvation…

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  2. If you look at Google News or Google Finance, which are buried in the category (Google Finance has 2MM UU vs. Yahoo! at 44MM UU in March According to Comscore), you would think she should apply her own thinking particularly related to not having duplicated stories or at least stories from the original sources. Search appears to be her domain of expertise vs. journalism & content packaging.

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  3. "—Stories should be “living”: Rather than post multiple articles on the same topic under separate URLs … publishers should update existing pages."

    Of course, if they do that, Google will punish them by not recognizing the new stories as "new" since it relies on new URLs as one of the ways it distinguishes a new news story from an old one.

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  4. Monetization of individual pieces of content is something today that can really only be done with google… so her support of that model is transparent. Her testimony is a testimony for her own business. If the AP and all major newspapers, magazines, and original content news websites etc… decided to no-follow their content to google bots, create a news-only search engine with their own advertising solution, google would lose big. That, however, will probably never happen.

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  5. Marissa Mayer is a smart accomplished woman.

    But I'm not sure what makes Marissa Mayer qualified to give journalism tips.

    Her own search engine lists Drudge Report in the top ten results under, "news." Fox News achieves the second best ranking.

    PageRank may be the best algorithm out there but it's not very good.

    Her advice is really about how to achieve higher ranking on Google more than anything else.

    On a side note, why is Mayer giving "journalism tips" to Senators?

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