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Facebook vs. Australian publishers, context for links and rich results cheat sheet: What we read this week (9/25)

Each week the News Dashboard staff reads dozens of articles about Google, search engine optimization, digital publishing and the news industry.

Take a look at the SEO news or tips we think you should be on your radar.

Australian digital-only newsrooms face major headwinds

I’ve been keeping my eye on Australia for the past six months or so, especially since the government announced it was planning on making Facebook and Google pay publishers for content.

Google and Facebook have both undertaken major public relations pushes in response. Part of that response has included Facebook’s announcement that it would ban news on feeds in Australia.

Hal Crawford at Nieman Lab says this latest development could spell disaster for youth-oriented publishers in particular.

“In particular, lifestyle and youth publishers that source the majority of their traffic from Facebook face closure, while traditional media players that campaigned for the laws look set to be the relative winners in a “scorched earth” media environment post-regulation.”


Publishers in the U.S. have had a taste of this before. In 2018 a Facebook algorithm change injured (and in some cases mortally wounded) some publishers. Layoffs rippled through some digital-only shortly after the changes decimated traffic from the social network.

Our thoughts

Keep watching this storyline. Though the United States hasn’t gone as far as Australia (yet) with regulating Facebook, Google and Twitter, there has been a push on Capitol Hill to examine big tech’s seemingly anticompetitive behavior. What happens in Australia could give us insight into what could happen here.

Google: Context matters (for links)

Barry Schwartz at SEO Roundtable did us all a favor and watched this morning’s Google Webmaster SEO office hours. His biggest takeaway? John Mueller said context and content surrounding a link is secondary for Google.

However, he also says that if your link isn’t descriptive it won’t necessarily count against you.

Our thoughts

Avoid “click here” links whenever possible.

Watch John delve deeper into links below:

Rich results vs. featured snippets

Izzi Smith, a self-described SEO nerd and analyst, posted a great graphic to Twitter this week which breaks down the differences between rich results and featured snippets. She said many marketers mistake the two so she pulled together a “cheat sheet” to help.


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Read more

Everything you need to know about YouTube embeds, the investigation into Google and licensing via Google Image Search: What we read this week (9/4)

Publishers get early look at new Google tool, Google News tips and other SEO best practices: What we read this week (8/28)

What news publishers have in common with Fortnite and unraveling Google Discover’s mysteries: What we read this week (8/21)

Google ‘People Cards,’ a paywalled content alert app and what a world without cookies could look like (8/14)