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Plus Report - By Thomas Baekdal - February 2022

What is the publishing algorithm?

Last week, I came across two articles. One was about how publishers are starting to move away from Google AMP, and another one talking about new changes to Google Search. In both cases, it involves publishers changing the way they do things to match Google (or not match them), and illustrates the disconnect we often experience between the interests we have as publishers and the focus of the tech channels.

Mind you, I kind of like Google. Google Search is a tremendously useful and important tool. In the press we often talk about how journalism is essential for society (which it is), but to the same extent 'search' is also a vital element for society.

In my job as a media analyst, and in my private life, I search for things online 100s of times per week. Can you imagine not being able to do that? Can you imagine going back to the old days where, if you wanted to find something, you basically had to hope that the newspaper, or the magazine you bought, would write about it soon?

However, now that Google has become so big, they are starting to feel entitled and making demands as to how we, as publishers, should change our business models, our focus areas, and our structure to optimize for Google.

I'm sorry, but that just isn't right. It's not our job to optimize for Google so as to help them run their business better. It's our job as publishers to optimize for us, our own businesses, and then it's Google's job to optimize for us!

So when I see an article like the one above, where Google tells publishers that we need to change what metric we define for our business, my answer to this is: "No!"

No, Google. I'm not going to change what metrics I focus on just so that your algorithms work better for you. I'm going to focus on the metrics that work well for me, and I encourage every other publisher to do the same.

But this leads us to the question. What is the publishing algorithm that we should focus on as publishers, and what makes that different from what we see from Google Search, Facebook, and the other channels?

Well, that's what we are going to talk about in this 25-page report.

Everyone has their own metrics

One of the most important things to understand is that everyone has different metrics designed to optimize whatever it is that we do. This is even true with Google. The metrics used to define success for Google Search are different from the metrics used to define success at YouTube.

In fact, think about Google Search for a moment. What is a successful search? Well, it's Google's ability to show you exactly what you need as the top search results, so that you get the answer you need as efficiently as possible, and click on it to see the content you want to find.

For instance, if you search for "How to unblock a kitchen sink", you get this:

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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