Google has recently updated its set of guidelines for what constitutes “newsworthy” material. The Google News section of the search engine has, until recently, had some incredibly strict requirements for inclusion. However, over the last few days the search engine has started to relax those requirements and has included a wider range of sources in the “in the news” area of the search results.
In addition to displaying content from traditional news sites, Google is now including links from more social-focused, user-curated websites such as Reddit. Some of the non-traditional sources and articles appearing in the “In The News” section may surprise users who are accustomed to seeing content from serious publications only.
When asked about the change, a Google spokesperson commented that the search engine planned to pull news content from all over the Web, and explained that they wanted to present a “diverse” range of content, so that users can get the answers that they are searching for.
The Google News guidelines require that websites which wish to be featured in Google News provide news-related content, and that they adhere to journalistic standards. The websites must be authority sites that have a good level of readability, and there must be some accountability.
Google notes that publishers must strive to uphold the principles of good journalism, and that they should try to provide a good user experience. Websites which do this will, as a consequence, benefit from better rankings than websites that spend their time searching for algorithmic loopholes which they can exploit.
A Strong Source of Traffic
Being included in Google News is something that is very good for webmasters. Google News is a good source of traffic in the short term, and is also beneficial from a branding point of view. While Google is not yet including Reddit and other similar sites in the formal “News” part of their website, having it featured on the “In the News” area of the site in the short term is still a noteworthy change and one that many borderline news websites will be excited over.
It is unclear what the long term implications of this change will be, or whether Google will even decide to keep the relaxed standards. The search giant is always striving to improve the quality of its results, and pulling data from a wider range of sources may not work out the way that they had hoped.