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Google Algorithm Change Puts the Spotlight on Original News Reporting

author image Written by: Nicole McCormick           Categories - In The News

New Google Search Rater Guidelines to Support Journalists and Publishers

Does Google ever sleep? Not likely, considering every other day it seems like new search updates are being announced. Two weeks before the September 2019 Core Update, the search engine giant announced an algorithm change focused on highlighting original news reporting and journalism in search results. In a blog post written by Google’s vice president of news, Richard Gingras, it was announced that Google had recently made ranking updates and changes to its search rater guidelines. These new guidelines will allow Google to better recognize instances of original reporting in order to display it more prominently in search results, and ensure it continues appearing in search results for longer periods of time. https://twitter.com/GoogleNewsInit/status/1172181061834403840

What Is the Goal of This?

The goal is to not only allow readers to find the original article published covering a specific news story – rather than those picked up and published by larger publications after the fact – but benefit journalists and publishers by having their original reporting seen by a wider audience. “While we typically show the latest and most comprehensive version of a story in news results, we’ve made changes to our products globally to highlight articles that we identify as significant original reporting,” wrote Gringas. “Such articles may stay in a highly visible position longer. This prominence allows users to view the original reporting while also looking at more recent articles alongside it.” Gingras added that Google has not officially defined what is considered original reporting, as it can mean different things for different newsrooms. Therefore, Google’s efforts must “constantly evolve as we work to understand the life cycle of a story.”

How Rater Guidelines Will Change

In its new set of guidelines for the 10,000 raters who evaluate the quality of search results, Google has instructed raters to use the highest rating, known as “very high quality,” for original news reporting. So, what will be considered “original reporting”? Google news feed shows recent news articles about Google While there is no formal definition, Google explains it as reporting that “provides information that would not otherwise have been known had the article not revealed it.” This also includes original, in-depth, investigative reporting that “requires a high degree of skill, time, and effort.” Raters have also been instructed to consider the reputation of the publisher when assessing news pieces. “We hope these updates to elevate original reporting will provide people with a deeper understanding of their changing communities and the conversations going on around them,” said Gingras. “Giving everyone better access to original journalism across all types of stories—ranging from movies, sports, music and celebrity scoops to the serious journalism behind #MeToo, the Panama Papers and the opioid crisis—is all about helping people stay informed about the news that matters to them.”

Nicole McCormick

Nicole is a wordsmith wizard, passionate about the written word and an avid storyteller who uses creatively crafted prose to help bring your brand’s story to the next level. A former journalist with writing credits in both local and national news publications and a few newspaper awards under her belt, Nicole now enjoys telling your stories and finding new and creative ways to create valuable content that resonates with audiences in the digital landscape.

Small Google Algorithm Update Rolled Our October 26

10/28/2021

Chatter within the SEO community might be limited, but if the tracking tools are any indication, it appears that a small Google algorithm update rolled out around October 26th. 

Search Engine Round Table is reporting that most tracking tools showed a great amount of volatility on or around October 26th, essentially confirming that some kind of update did take place.

And while chatter in the forums has been minimal, there were some complaints of ranking shifts in Google Search made over on WebmasterWorld.

Here are some of the top comments:

“We are having one of the most volatile months in terms of (unannounced) updates and serp fluctuations but one of the least active monthly threads.”

“For the past few days, new posts are not getting indexed, GSC is showing Discovered, but not indexed. sad It’s a 5-year-old website with 1M impressions daily(100K organic traffic). Unique content, +1K words, but still…not indexed. SAD!”

“No, high authority websites were never downranked in my niche until very recently, hence the major shuffle remark.”

Here’s what some of the tracking tools are showing:

Semrush:

Semrush tracking tool

Cognitive SEO:

Cognitive SEO tracking tool

SERPmetrics:

SERP Metrics 

Nothing too crazy going on, but it’s clear that some kind of small update rolled out this week.

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Data Reveals That Google Search Results Have Been 68% More Volatile in 2021

10/22/2021

Considering how many algorithm updates have been rolling out these past few weeks, we’re not surprised to report that Google Search results were 68% more volatile on desktop and 85% more volatile on mobile this year, according to Semrush data.

The data was published this week by Semrush’s head of communications, Mordy Oberstein.To get these results, Semrush looked at data between January 2021 through October 2021. In this context, high volatility translates to a score of five out of ten through eight out of ten on the Semrush Sensor tool.

Breaking down the data even further, Oberstein explained on Twitter that over 50% of the days in 2021showed above normal levels of volatility on desktop and mobile. Pretty wild, right?

In the end, these insights only confirm what we’ve been reporting all along – something is going on over at Google this year causing high levels of volatility. And while it may not be the best idea to obsess over every little ranking dip, it’s important to remain informed and know that this isn’t an isolated issue that only you are experiencing.

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