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Guardian was wrong to buy Madeleine McCann keywords on Google Mm11

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Guardian was wrong to buy Madeleine McCann keywords on Google

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Guardian was wrong to buy Madeleine McCann keywords on Google Empty Guardian was wrong to buy Madeleine McCann keywords on Google

Post by Verdi on 16.05.18 16:53

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August 8th, 2008Posted by [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] in [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] has admitted it mistakenly bought the keywords Madeleine McCann from Google.

By wrongly purchasing the keywords a link to the paper’s coverage of Madeleine’s disappearance appeared in a column of sponsored results when a search for her name was made on Google.

The newspaper has now taken down the link and has reviewed the list of keywords it owns, Marc Sands, marketing director for the Guardian, told Journalism.co.uk.

The paper’s purchase of the words Madeleine McCann was [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], who said the practice showed the paper was ‘desperate’ to hold onto its position as the UK’s most popular newspaper website according to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].

“The purchase of terms is a way of getting your stories, at a cost, in front of people. It’s absolutely what everyone does all the time,” said Sands.


A search for the terms shows the Mirror currently owns the keywords McCanns cleared, while a Google search for other keywords, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, show the the Sun and Times have also purchased phrases from Google.


“It is a way of getting it [news] distributed to people who have expressed an interest in that subject,” he added.

“The issue with the Madeleine McCann keywords is an interesting one. It’s like advertising, but not really: the only reason you and I search for a term is because we are interested in that term.”

The practice had been criticised in the blog post, he said, because of the Guardian’s previous stance on the coverage of the McCann story.

“The Guardian in the past has been very critical of the coverage of Madeleine McCann, saying it has been salacious and misleading. What the person in the blog post is saying is that Madeleine McCann is not to be treated in this way, so what on earth are they doing buying keywords?”

The issue led the paper to review its list of current keywords to assess ‘what news is okay to do it with and what isn’t’, he said.

The Guardian buys thousands of Google keywords relating to current news stories every week, he added. It currently owns the keywords ‘stamp duty’, ‘university league tables’ and ‘post office closures’.

“Madeleine McCann slipped through the net. You don’t approve all these [keyword purchases] every day. We would have had to say to the company that buys the keywords for us: never buy the keywords for Madeleine McCann,” he said.

Search engine marketing and search engine optimisation of newspaper websites is a ‘new area’ for publishers, added Sands.
“Everyone is working their way through and trying to remain true exactly to the principles of what they’re doing, but also to ensure that they’re getting read.”

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July 1st, 2009 Posted by [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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It was an ‘oversight’ that Madeleine McCann related keywords were included in the metadata for every main local news story on the Liverpool Daily Post site, a Trinity Mirror spokeperson said, after Journalism.co.uk informed the company that the terms were present in the ‘hidden text’ of a series of unrelated news items.

The automatic inclusion of the keywords “madeleine mccann, madeleine mcgann, kate mcgann, kate mccann” in the HTML for Liverpool news stories has now ceased.

Journalism.co.uk learned in May that specific keywords, including those above, were used in the metadata for the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] on the Liverpool Daily Post site, regardless of the story’s relevance. This continued for at least one month before it was drawn to the Post’s attention on Monday (June 29).
Use of unrelated ‘hi
dden’ metadata is commonly known as ‘keyword stuffing’, a practice which Google [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. Using popular keywords can help improve a site’s SEO performance. [Update: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] and most other search engines are no longer believed ([You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]) to recognise these tags: see [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.].]


[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] shows that the Post and its sister site, the Liverpool Echo, have top rankings for related Madeleine McCann stories. [Update: but lower rankings when a simple [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] search is performed. It’s unlikely the addition of the keywords aided the LDP’s Google ranking. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]: “While accurate meta descriptions can improve clickthrough, they won’t impact your ranking within search results.”]

A Trinity Mirror spokesman said: “The metadata was inserted some time ago when the Madeleine McCann story was at its height and was the most-searched item on our web sites. It was inserted to make it easier for our users to access a huge story of national and local interest. The fact that it wasn’t removed is an oversight, which has now been put right.”


The evidence (before Liverpool Daily Post corrected the error this week):

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