The New York Times Working to Be More Search Engine Friendly

Danny Sullivan and Chris Sherman at Search Engine Watch write …

“Online newspapers have often ignored search engines, or viewed them with mistrust, relying on the power of their brands to drive traffic. That attitude is changing dramatically at the New York Times, and with powerful effect … “

Read the whole article at Search Engine Watch.

I’ve encouraged the lawyers at my firm to read this article. I think it’s a well-written, easy to follow (for non-geeks) article that explains concepts that I prefer them to understand. The authors explain how most newspaper websites work and why you can’t often find newspaper articles that are older than 7 to 14 days without using special indices/indexes (which is the correct term these days?). They also explain the importance of “meaningful titles”, which is contrary to how journalists and editors have been trained in the past. Meaningful titles are not just important for anyone wanting their information found on the web but they are also important in the subject lines of emails and blog posts. The article gives some idea of how journalism and the newspaper industry are changing to better mesh with the internet … they have to, don’t they?. I, for one, don’t appreciate what The Times is doing in terms of “cloaking content”, particularly if search results aren’t clearly labeled as “cloaked”. Don’t you find it frustrating when something that comes up in your search results sounds bang on and then you find you have to register or pay to see it? I like that those results appear but I wish they were better marked so you know the limitations right off the bat. Or am I just spoiled by automatic linking to full text?


  1. Heather, I don’t know if you know, but there’s a site that will furnish you with a URL to a New York Times article that doesn’t require the reader to register: You’ll also find a bookmarklet there that you can stick on your favourites bar and generate a link whenever you’re on a Times page.

    I should add that this is a kosher arrangement. The Times was persuaded to do this because of Dave Winer’s lobbying on behalf of RSS feeds.

  2. Thanks for the hot tip, Simon. That will be handy.