If you have worked with an SEO over the years you have no doubt heard the expression that "Content is King". While one can argue the importance of SEO factors such URL structures, links, meta data etc, everything in SEO revolves around content. Without content, the search engines have nothing to index. Think about why people search. They search to acquire information, they in essence, seek content. We have stated before that even in the Web 2.0 world with SEO 2.0, content will still be king.
So it was with eager anticipation as we were informed that the New York Times was opening up its archives for free! From 1851 to present, entire articles from the New York Times can now be searched from NYTimes.com. That is over 13 million articles in all. That is a lot of content that will drive a lot of visitors to the site. According to SEOmoz.org:
...certainly a driving force behind the questioning of the paid content strategy is Marshall Simmonds, chief search strategist for the New York Times and About.com, and the CEO & Co-Founder of Define Search Strategies.
Rand over at SEOmoz has a great interview with Marshall Simmonds.
Last week the New York Times made the announcement that they would be no longer charging for access to parts of their website (ie. the article archives). From the official NY Times announcement:
The move comes two years to the day after The Times began the subscription program, TimesSelect, which has charged $49.95 a year, or $7.95 a month, for online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives. TimesSelect has been free to print subscribers to The Times and to some students and educators.
In addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for some material from the period 1923 to 1986, and some will be free.
I understand the reasoning for subscription based content, but with all of the news sources, discussion forums and blogs out there, the content is bound to turn up somewhere. The New York Times is doing a great service by freeing up some of their content. This is a great step for SEO. In fact Danny Sullivan over at Search Engine Land said it best:
The next time you're reading something for free at the New York Times, remember it was SEO that made that possible.
Kudos to Marshall Simmonds and the New York Times.
Labels: content is king, ny times