Should Newspapers Sell SEO Services?

May 25, 2010 • 8:42 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under SEM / SEO Companies

Matt McGee at Search Engine Land reported that U.S. newspapers are now selling SEO services. Honestly, I am not surprised for a few reasons:

(1) They are in the content business and most content businesses should know how valuable SEO is. (2) Newspapers sell ads, and many of them have sold text ads or been asked to. So they know something about SEO. (3) I would hope newspapers have in-house SEO teams they can put on client projects.

I deal every now and then with newspapers for my clients and I often have my clients forward me SEO details (both good and bad) from their newspaper contacts. So again, this does not surprise me.

Should newspapers sell SEO services? A Sphinn thread's comments seem very against it. Jill Whalen said in a joking maner, "Since they can't make any money in the publishing biz, I guess they figured they'd jump onto the SEO bandwagon. After all, anyone can do SEO, right?"

But honestly, if they know SEO, why not sell it? What do you think?

Forum discussion at Sphinn.

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Yannis Anastasakis

05/25/2010 11:08 pm

I think the question should be "if newspapers sell seo, should anyone (in their right mind) be buying it?". I guess they have all the right contacts, but with these things, it is what goes in it that counts. Wouldn't the world be a nicer place if they focused on, say, journalism or reporting or something?

Michael Martinez

05/25/2010 11:31 pm

The newspaper groups in Matt's article have partnered with 3rd party SEO providers whom, it appears, have not yet established strong reputations in the industry.


05/26/2010 05:09 pm

The story from the inside is that Gannett is having a tough time selling this service, which is just a resale of Orange Soda's service. They are also experiencing high turnover on the sales teams. To me this is the wrong direction for newspapers. Yes they are in the content business, but that content is perceived as unbiased. By selling SEO they are actively building biased content for paying customers. Seems to be a pretty major conflict of interest. I would think that they should be taking Huff Post as the example with paid moderation of comments. (Arizona Republic) gets a lot of comments but does not moderate them at all...


05/27/2010 03:28 pm

Although the content is supposed to be unbiased, newspapers have historically sold the space in their pages passed as news. Even news on TV. Look at CNBC, their commentators are really promoting their own businesses and the comments they give prop their product or position in the market. "press release" articles have become part of the SEOs toolbox. The newspaper is only leveraging from their page rank asset... for "that content is perceived as unbiased" perception is not the same as reality

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