WSJ’s traffic from Google drops 44 percent after it cuts free articles
The Wall Street Journal’s traffic from Google has fallen 44 percent after it stopped providing free articles through the Internet search engine, reports Gerry Smith of Bloomberg News.
Smith writes, “The reason: Google search results are based on an algorithm that scans the internet for free content. After the Journal’s free articles went behind a paywall, Google’s bot only saw the first few paragraphs and started ranking them lower, limiting the Journal’s viewership.
“Executives at the Journal, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., argue that Google’s policy is unfairly punishing them for trying to attract more digital subscribers. They want Google to treat their articles equally in search rankings, despite being behind a paywall.
“‘Any site like ours automatically doesn’t get the visibility in search that a free site would,’ Suzi Watford, the Journal’s chief marketing officer, said in an interview. ‘You are definitely being discriminated against as a paid news site.’
“The Journal’s experience could have implications across the news industry, where publishers are relying more on convincing readers to pay for their articles because tech giants like Google and Facebook are vacuuming up the lion’s share of online advertising.”
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