Magazine article Editor & Publisher


Magazine article Editor & Publisher


Article excerpt


The average [time spent at a site] conceals more information than it reveals ("Counting on the Web," Jan. E&P, p. 38). All sites, but especially sites that combine news and classified advertising or other databases of information, have a significant percentage of "passerby" visitors and another percentage of loyalists, or "power users."

People who find a site through Google or other general search typically only want the one thing that met their search goal, visit only once in a month, and spend very little time there.

Residents, former residents, and others with a strong connection to the city of the newspaper vary in their habits but usually include a core of people who visit daily or more often, and may read multiple articles, and multiple pages per visit.

Now, I might define "regulars" more narrowly than "more than one visit a month," but I think the key point is to distinguish the consistent visitors, however defined, from the passersby, and to recognize that a small number are intensely loyal. One of the sessions at the NAA Marketing Conference in February will address the question of how best to "monetize" the page views generated by the passersby, since passersby are likely to be quite different in demo- and pyschographic characteristics from the loyalists.




Search engine optimization is a very interesting topic ("Counting on the Web") and certainly one that's very important for your subscribers. However, I have a few bones to pick with you.

How can you uncritically quote Bruce Murray saying that people should "start with understanding very deeply what the actual algorithm is?" That's like writing a financial advice column and telling people to understand very deeply how stocks will perform the next day. The point is that even experts don't understand very deeply how it works. How can you expect 98% of the newspaper readers of E&P to do so?

You recommend manipulating meta tags. This is (a) ancient history because few people believe that today's spiders still read meta tags, and worse (b) you suggest spamming by typing "pizza delivery" 500 times into one's meta tags. That's guaranteed to get your Web site blacklisted by the search engines. …

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