I’ve always been of the opinion, if you can’t be first, be second but be better. Many people have pioneered the way online only for other people to come along and steal their thunder by being better. Facebook and MySpace being prime examples.
The importance of breaking news first has long been the holy grail for blogs such as Engadget and Gizmodo, with a rivalry which has a times blown into a full feud. The reasoning is twofold. Firstly their audience demands it and secondly search engine strategy has in recent years moved towards a focus on “being first“.
If you can break a story, which attracts attention around the web and blogosphere -it stands to reason that you are worth keeping an eye on, and therefore more likely to get spidered and indexed faster. The other benefits are fresh incoming links and authority on the web.
Google News was a project born out of a need for fresh relevant news content. Indeed Google state that “Our articles are selected and ranked by computers that evaluate, among other things, how often and on what sites a story appears online.” Last week Google Blog search was redesigned and redeveloped to place a focus on latest blog posts, and ones which are being talked about around the web, in much the same way that Techmeme works. Matt Cutts (Google Engineer) has a good post on the similarities.
Personally to try and stay ahead of the curve, I’ve set up RSS alerts on a few different things. I keep track of Google’s, Microsoft, Yahoo press releases – all of which are published on their site. I also keep an eye on breaking trends on the web, with Google trends.. I combine this with a Yahoo Pipe – Google trends tokeniser to break it up into snippets in my reader.
If you are a running a site based on content looking for these diamonds and acting like a journalist ready to snipe a story has never been more important in promoting your site, and becoming an authority.