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Tool of the week for journalists: Tagboard, for searching social networks (including App.net)

Tool of the week: Tagboard

What is it? A tool for searching social networks, including recently launched App.net

How is it of use to journalists? Tagboard is still being built but an early version is available. Enter a hashtag and you can search across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and App.net.

You do not have to be members of the networks to search.

App.net was launched last month as a Twitter-like social network but one that is ad-free and fully open to developers to create apps. You can see the global feed of all conversations taking place on App.net at this link.

In order to build the network without later selling advertising, App.net charges users $50 per year. It’s still in its early stages but developers are busy working on third-party apps (such as Tagboard).

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Media release: Study finds 13% of Google searches include journalist photo bylines

April 30th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Search, Social media and blogging

More than one in 10 Google UK search results includes at least one journalist photo and bio byline, according to a study by search and social analytics company Searchmetrics.

The study looked at the top 100 search results from 1 million keywords and found that 13 per cent included journalist bios and pictures for the author of articles.

Getting a photo and bio displayed in search results requires a journalist to have a Google+ account and their profile to be linked with news stories (instructions on how to do this are here).

UK writers in the top 20 include Charles Arthur, the Guardian’s technology editor, and Edward Chester, reviews editor at TrustedReviews.com.

US journalists dominate the top 20, “meaning UK journalists and publications are missing out on increased visibility, traffic and potential advertising revenue”, according to a release from Searchmetrics.

The author profile feature, known as authorship markup, is something that Google has been rolling out since the end of last year. It includes author profile information with a thumbnail image and links.

The release states:

Journalists and bloggers who write about technology, medical and food topics are among those that are most visible in author profile integrations according to the study by search and social analytics company, Searchmetrics, which analysed Google UK search results relating to one million popular keywords.

Marcus Tober, founder and chief technology officer of Searchmetrics said in a statement:

More writers from US-based sites are appearing in the top 20 because authors generally need to have a profile on the Google+ social network to be displayed in author integrations – and we assume more writers for US sites are on Google+ and also Google has possibly encouraged some US sites to set up their articles for author integrations.

It was surprising to see more than one in ten of the results tested are showing author integrations because this is still a new feature – it’s much higher than I expected.

Searchmetrics top 20 authors with picture and bio bylines

Author, Writes for (includes), Topic, Page 1 integrations*, Total integrations**

  1. Elaine Lemm , NYT, About.com, Food, 581, 1,989
  2. Dr. Melissa Stöppler, WebMDNetwork, Medical, 545, 1,412
  3. Diana Rattray, About.com, Food, 530, 1,529
  4. Tim Fisher, About.com, Technology, 472, 1,897
  5. Alison Doyle, About.com, Job search, 438, 1,442
  6. Dr. William Shiel, WebMDNetwork, Medical,  403, 866
  7. Dr. Ben Wedro, MDDirect.org, Medical, 328, 877
  8. Dr. John Cunha, WebMDNetwork, Medical, 328, 790
  9. Bradley Mitchell, About.com, Technology, 321, 1,363
  10. Cathy Wong, About.com, Alt Medicine,  316, 839
  11. Stephanie Jaworski, JoyofBaking.com, Food, 307, 1,005
  12. Laura Porter, Visit Britain, About.com, Travel, 281, 1,929
  13. Edward Chester, TrustedReviews.com, Technology, 264, 733
  14. Luke Westaway, CNET UK, Technology, 254, 1,292
  15. Gordon Laing, Cameralabs.com, Photography, 248 , 1,200
  16. Charles Arthur, Guardian, Technology, 218, 1,271
  17. Laura K. Lawless, French, About.com, Languages, 218, 705
  18. Hubertus Keil, Alicante-Spain.com, Travel, 214, 1,070
  19. Adam Pash, Lifehacker, Lifestyle/Tech, 204, 1,311
  20. Richard Trenholm, CNET UK, Technology, 200, 1,931

 

*The number of times a writer appears in author profile integrations displayed on the first page of Google.co.uk search results in Searchmetrics’s study
**The total number of times a writer appears in author profile integrations displayed in Google.co.uk search results in Searchmetrics’s study

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Social predicted to overtake search as Guardian traffic driver

The Guardian’s Facebook app has been downloaded eight million times since it was launched six months ago, seeing around 40,000 downloads a day.

Speaking at the Guardian Changing Media Summit, Tanya Cordrey, director of digital development at Guardian News and Media, said the news outlet has been “blown away by the results”.

The “frictionless sharing” app works by readers opting in to share all articles they read with their Facebook friends, generating more traffic for the news site with “no editorial curation”.

She later explained that the Guardian has generated more money through ad revenue from the app than the news organisation spent on building it.

Six months ago Google provided 40 per cent of the Guardian’s traffic. The launch of the Facebook app resulted in a “seismic shift” with social exceeding search as a driver on several occasions in February (see above photograph).

Cordrey predicted:

It’s only a matter of time until social overtakes search for the Guardian.

She said that the audience becomes more global everyday, providing “an amazing opportunity to learn about this new audience”.

It’s the audience we want to learn about rather than the platform [Facebook]

Readers are in “habitual grazing mode”, Cordrey said, traffic peaking in “the middle of the afternoon”.

Addressing those who believe the app has implications for privacy, Cordrey said “we are acutely aware of the critics” but readers are not being driven away or removing content they have read from their Facebook timeline.

“Once people have it, they use it,” Cordrey said, explaining “only a tiny percentage of people” have taken up the option of hiding their reading habits.

Earlier in the day Karla Geci, strategic partner development for Facebook said that it would be “just weird and awkward to read a whole article inside of Facebook”, saying Facebook’s role is enabling “distribution and discovery” rather than taking traffic away from publishers.

Asking herself if frictionless sharing “is creepy”, Geci said:

People are quite interested in being an influencer in their circles. Sharing what you are reading is something you did any way.

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#ftmedia12: Jimmy Wales on the power of Wikipedia’s free access ethos

Giving the opening presentation at the Financial Times’ digital media conference in London today, the founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales discussed the power of the free access it offers for content on the site.

He said the “main original vision for Wikipedia” was based on the following quote:

Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge.

He said by following the idea of free access from the beginning, the site, which currently reports around 65 million monthly visitors, saw “a huge amount of traffic”.

He outlined what Wikipedia sees as the most important part of what it does.

We aren’t just talking about cost. We’re talking about free as in speech, not free as in beer … It’s more fundamental than cost.

He added that the power of this “technique” of content dissemination for “growing online presences” is “still not fully understood”.

Wales said when Wikipedia started the mindset for many was “that in order to have successful content, you need unique content no one else had”, and then to erect a paywall or “vigorously pursue people copying content”.

He took the opposite route, with the only requirement being that users of the content have to follow the licence terms, usually meaning attribution to the source.

Lots of people made clone sites, or they would take an article and put in on a blog. It drove over time a huge amount of traffic.

He added that today this continues to be a “big factor” in the volume of links to Wikipedia and its ranking in search results.

When it comes to finding a business model for online content in general, he added that micropayments could be the way forward, in particular for newspapers online.

One of the things I’m very excited about is the rise of the app store, the app model. For the first time we have a very convenient method to pay relatively small amounts of money.

He added that payment for online content had “always been a barrier” in the past.

He said the ability to make an “impulse purchase” is “really important and going to have major impact when we think about content”.

Here are some of the interesting statistics Wales shared with the conference about Wikipedia 11 years on:

  • Over 20 million articles in 270 different languages
  • Over 3 million articles distributed in English
  • Around 150,000 articles in Arabic
  • Only two African languages available
  • The most popular category in English, Chinese and Japanese languages is popular culture

He added that we are now “in an era when the general public has a voice in a way they never had before”.

But he said there is also a “heavy” responsibility on Wikipedia and its community to “think about quality of Wikipedia”.

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Tool of the week for journalists: Press Pass, to search for journalists on Twitter

Tool of the week: Press Pass

What is it? A new tool to allow you to search for journalists on Twitter

How is it of use to journalists? Press Pass allows you to search for journalists on Twitter by “beat, media outlet or region”.

It is not an exhaustive list as yet. For example, there are 400 New York Times journalists active on Twitter, but only 275 listed on Press Pass at the last check.

Journalists can asked to be added by tweeting to say they report on a beat, work for a title or cover a region.

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Tool of the week for journalists – Searchmetrics Essentials

February 14th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Search, Tool of the Week

Tool of the week: Searchmetrics Essentials

What is it? A tool to test your news site’s SEO and social rankings

How is it of use to journalists? Searchmetrics is a paid-for tool to allow you to see your site’s SEO and social rankings.

Journalism.co.uk used it to discover the top 10 Twitter and top 10 Facebook stories of 2011.

Full access costs around £150 per month but you can now have limited access for free with last week’s release of Searchmetrics Essentials.

Type in your domain name and you will be able to see your SEO ranking. For example, typing in Journalism.co.uk shows we are number one search result for “journalism jobs” and number one for “journalism”.

 

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Company finance search tool Duedil receives further funding

Duedil, which describes itself as the world’s largest database of free company financials, has just finalised a second round of investment from Jonty Hurwitz, the founding CTO of loans firm Wonga.

Duedil is a free tool that all journalists should take a look at, as it provides a hugely valuable way to search for information on company finance, directorships and more.

Duedil’s database lists every company and director in the UK and Ireland allowing anyone to access the information for free.

It has recently added new features including alerting you to which of your LinkedIn contacts may be able to provide information on that company.

In a release, Duedil said it “has ambitious plans to revolutionise the way business information is accessed and used”.

Angel investor Hurwitz, who is investing an undisclosed sum and has a minority stake in Duedil, “has built a team and technology platform that have radically altered the short-term finance market,” the release states.

Founded in 2007 with Errol Damelin, Wonga turned over £74 million in 2009, and is growing every year.

The release states:

With an eye for the next big thing, Hurwitz sees the vast potential for business growth in big data analytics. He will bring both his technical and strategic expertise to Duedil, which he hopes will develop into the premier source of business information in the world.

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Tool of the week for journalists – Facebook Search

Tool of the week: Facebook Search

What is it? A tool that allows you to search Facebook without logging in

How is it of use to journalists? Social media searches have become a key part of newsgathering process. This tool is a search engine for Facebook. It allows you to search if you are not logged in of if you don’t have a Facebook account.

Based on Facebook’s API, it allows you to search posts, photos, people, pages, groups and events.

As well as being useful for searching by keyword, it is also a good way to test to see if the page for your news site comes up in a search.

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SplinterNet: How to get to the top of Google News

December 5th, 2011 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Editors' pick, Freelance, Search

The SplinterNet blog provides an interesting insight on how news organisations can increase their Google News ranking.

Writing on the blog, Oliver Conner explains that “Google doesn’t divulge the secrets of its trade – so it is up to the SEO specialists to try and work it out” and links to a September study which asked the top SEO practitioners of major news organisations what they thought were the most important factors.

He highlights some of the “most important/interesting considerations” – and the terrifying suggestion that one spelling mistake can “blacklist your site”.

1. Category authority – if you keep writing optimised stories about a topic then you will gain authority in that area;
2. Keywords in headline and page titles;
3. Domain authority – the news organisation domain has lots of quality inbound links';
4. Social sharing – lots of tweets, Facebook shares and Google+ mentions. This is set to become more important, as it has recently been announced that articles that your friends have G+’d will be highlighted;
5. First to publish the story – this will increase the amount of inbound links;
6. Citation rank – the number of high quality sites that link to (cite) a news story;
7. Unique articles;
8. High CTR (click through rates) – the more clicks a site gets from either Google News or other Google SERPs (search engine results page);
9. Quality content – Google evaluates the quality of the content and looks for things like typos and copied content. Apparently, one spelling mistake can blacklist your site!
10. Use of Google News XML sitemap – a way of structuring your news site in a way that Google can easily understand.

The post “Getting to the top of Google News” is worth reading as it also includes other important factors to consider when thinking about optimising your news site for Google News.

Journalism.co.uk has a couple of handy guides on search engine optimisation:

Journalism.co.uk’s news:rewired – media in motion conference for journalists will have a workshop on SEO for journalists. The agenda is at this link.

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Tool of the week for journalists – Greplin, to search your private files and profiles

Tool of the week: Greplin

What is it? A private search engine for your personal files and social media accounts

How is it of use to journalists? Greplin allows you to search your Gmail, Google Docs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Dropbox accounts in the same way as you would use Google to search the web.

Recommended by Amy Webb at US journalism conference #ONA11 as “a way of sort of defragging your brain”, Greplin is a tool that can help journalists find a key piece of information in a second or two.

For example, you may be working on a story about a company or subject and have information in emails, your Dropbox account, Google Calendar and LinkedIn. One search in Greplin will allow you to surface the source documents and references to the company or topic.

The basic subscription is free and includes those accounts listed above. You can unlock services such as Delicious by tweeting about Greplin, and there are some services, such as Evernote, only available with Greplin Premium.

There is a free iPhone app and also a browser extension for Chrome, which is well worth adding. This enables you to search your files simply by prefixing your query with a “g”.

 

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