News Search vs Social News

    November 13, 2006

Danny Sullivan has posted a very interesting and THOROUGH description of how the Search Engine Watch Blog had two different stories get major play on Digg and Google News at the same time. This provided an opportunity for a comparison and it was interesting to read that Google News sent significantly more traffic than being on the home page of Digg.

He does make the distinction that one event does not make the rule and that the Search Engine Watch blog is included as trusted news source in Google news. There are about 7,000 site included in Google News, so this isn’t a situation you can test on your own. Or is it? I’ve written before about how to get into news search engines, including Google News.

However, I don’t think the Google News algorithm would trust a press release or an article posted on a site with less authority as it would one of the major publications or a source like Search Engine Watch blog. Who knows, maybe PRWeb’s move to filter out low quality news releases by eliminating their free service will improve how those documents rank in Google news search.

Of particular interest from Danny’s post is the breakout of long tail search phrases on Google News that drove traffic to the article. The cumulative number of phrases after the top ten represented a huge chunk of traffic. He was using Google Analytics for the graphs, but I’ve been using HitTail recently for tracking long tail phrase opportunities.

In the case of the blog post from Search Engine Watch blog that hit a Google news category, the sum of all news search phrases outside of the top ten generated far more traffic than you might expect. That’s the hidden value of the long tail.

For Online Marketing Blog, Hittail shows that the top ten keywords drive 13.2% of all regular search engine traffic and long tail keywords drive 86.8% with 3674 unique keywords logged. That’s a pretty big spread. Interestingly enough, we don’t focus much on Google news for promotion of this blog, so I don’t have any comparison to make there. Something we should change I think in light of the traffic numbers Danny reports.

For October 2006, just under 50% of the traffic to this blog came from search engines. A blog about SEO should rank well, right? What’s funny is many of them don’t.

Another interesting stat from October for this blog was that 25% of traffic came from Digg, a trend that is not slowing down despite the increased difficulty in getting to the Digg home page., Technorati, Stumble Upon and Techmeme were also top ten referrers for October. Part of the reason for that is optimization for social media.

There’s lots more insight in the “Digg vs Google News Traffic” post including Danny’s experience with the often fickle Digg community, so check it out.



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Lee Odden is President and Founder of
TopRank Online Marketing, specializing in organic SEO, blog
marketing and online public relations. He’s been cited as a search
marketing expert by publications including U.S. News & World Report and
The Economist and has implemented successful search marketing programs
with top BtoB companies of all sizes. Odden shares his marketing
expertise at Online Marketing Blog offering
daily news, interviews and best practices.