Summary:

Mr Murdoch may have vowed to remove News Corp (NYSE: NWS) stories from Google (NSDQ: GOOG) – but not all his footsoldiers are necessarily on…

Mr Murdoch may have vowed to remove News Corp (NYSE: NWS) stories from Google (NSDQ: GOOG) – but not all his footsoldiers are necessarily on the same page…

Times Online search content producer Mariana Bettio, who spends her time coaching journalists to write for search engines, spoke passionately about the need to write Google-friendly headlines, in a presentation to journalists at News:Rewired in London. “Being on Google is like having a billboard,” Bettio said.

In November, Murdoch told Sky News in Australia: “I think we will (remove our sites from Google News), but that’s when we start charging.” Times Online is due to relaunch behind a paywall this spring.

But, asked by paidContent:UK whether Murdoch’s increasing reticence toward search means stepping back from its “search engine optimisation” (SEO) initiatives, Bettio said: “We’re still going to have in place everything because it’s good practice.”

Mirror Group Newspapers has stuck its head even farther than Murdoch above the parapet on issue of SEO – launching sites like 3am.co.uk that eschew obvious headlines and instead embrace the kinds of heads Bettio described as “funny or obscure”. Editor Matt Kelly has been on the keynote circuit, urging the industry not to depend on Google and instead “build sites that perform well for humans, not search engines”.

But Murdoch might want to ask his papers how much they do rely on search… Truth is, Times Online gets a third of its traffic from search, and the vast majority of those visits are to new news pages. That’s a lot of traffic to sacrifice if a satisfactory arrangement cannot be found to accommodate both paywall and search…

Times Online hasn’t taken any decisions on that until it’s sorted out exactly how its paywall will be erected – supposedly, that isn’t too clear yet either…

Comments have been disabled for this post