According to Google, the search engine determines “what constitutes meaningful transparency from news sources” by considering “what types of information an ordinary person might find helpful if they want to assess a site’s credibility.”
Google went a step further and explained what these “article level” factors are, along with the signals that it may use to “consider information that helps users quickly gain context about articles or the journalists covering stories.”
See the full breakdown below:
An article byline (name of the author) that links to a bio page that outlines the author’s credentials and expertise.
The article’s publishing date.
A label that states the type of article – “Opinion” or “News,” for example.
Site Level Factors
In addition, Google explained “site level” factors and signals that “helps readers understand a site’s purpose, its organizational structure, and the kinds of information they can expect from that site.” This includes:
The amount of information provided, including a mission statement along with editorial policies and standards.
Information about a site’s staff along with bios for both the editorial and business team.
Thorough contact information.
Additional information like the site’s owners and/or funding sources – for example, government-funded or ran by staff with political affiliations.
Google has also implemented the following principles to help “ensure the transparency policy is inclusive and responsive to industry changes.”
Google considers different regional and country-level expectations and practices around transparency. This is most important in areas that have less press freedom, and where journalists face threats and risks to their safety.
Google looks at different inputs and considers a broad range of editorial practices. This helps “ensure that distinctive editorial philosophies” do not impact the credibility of authoritative sources.
Google will also consider information that is clearly available to users, “so that larger, more technically sophisticated sites and smaller sites that use simple text to convey information are on equal footing.”
So, there you have it! Hopefully, this information will provide some much-needed clarification for news publishers.