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AOL News Joins the Big League of News Search Engines

jarboe-greg
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AOL News has quietly and quickly sprinted into a leading news search engine, joining Yahoo News, Google News and Topix.net as a primary destination for online news.

When America Online launched of its new AOL.com portal back on June 21, the relaunch of AOL News went largely unnoticed. However, Nielsen//NetRatings has just disclosed its monthly data for July 2005 and it turns out that AOL News has a unique audience of 16.5 million.

While the unique audience of AOL News is about 29% smaller than Yahoo News, AOL News is more than 2.4 times larger than Google News and almost 6.8 times larger than Topix.net. This catapults AOL News into the big league of news search engines.

Brand / Domain Unique Audience (000)
Yahoo News 23,210
AOL News 16,516
Google News 6,752
Topix.net 2,432

Source: Nielsen//NetRatings, U.S., Home & Work, July 2005

While AOL Search is still powered by Google, AOL News is not a clone of Google News. It includes an AOL Newsroom section, which contains articles that have been hand-picked and enhanced by AOL News Editors to include multimedia content - including video, audio or photos - as well as links to other relevant content on AOL and the Web.

AOL News also includes a Top Headlines section, which contains articles from its extensive database of news sources. AOL News also includes sections for Business News, Entertainment News, and Sports News.

Go to http://news.search.aol.com and check out the featured searches for:

  • Baseball
  • Celebrity
  • Photos
  • Middle East
  • Mortgage Rates
  • Reality TV
  • Social Security
  • Steroids
  • Treasury Bonds

Of special interest to search engine optimization companies and public relations firms is the way that AOL News displays press releases. Instead of mixing them in with articles from thousands of other news sources—the way that Yahoo News and Google News do—AOL News includes them in a special section at the bottom of its news search engine results page.

There are also three graphics that you might see next to AOL News results: a camera, a video camera and a speaker. These icons represent the type of multimedia content that you can expect to find with a particular article. The camera means there is a photo included with the article, the video camera means there is a video clip and the speaker means there is an audio recording.

While it is too early to tell how the AOL News algorithm ranks top news headlines or press releases, it isn't too soon to recognize that this news search engine has already become a major player. With a unique audience of 16.5 million, AOL News deserves a much closer look in the weeks and months ahead.

Greg Jarboe is the co-founder of SEO-PR, a search engine promotion company that specializes in optimizing press releases for news search engines.

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NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication's search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

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