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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.

Google To Target Sites Creating SEO Content?

08/19/2022

Update from the future: Two weeks after it started rolling out, the Helpful Content Update is still not showing big ranking changes. Danny Sullivan said the update might get stronger with the next core update. Read more about that here.

Google is releasing a new, site-wide ranking signal that will target content created for search engines, instead of users. Glenn Gabe shared about this on Twitter, and Barry Schwartz reported on this on Search Engine Land.

Turns out a new algorithm change is about to happen, and it might just be the biggest one in the last ten years. Called the “helpful content update”, the ranking algorithm change is supposed to target websites that have a high amount of not-good-enough content, meaning that the content had one purpose in mind: getting that rank. What it should have done instead was be written for the user, not Google.

So, if you might have content that could be labelled as unhelpful or unsatisfying, you better act fast!

What Does “Site Wide” Mean?

Exactly that – it will impact content on your whole website, not just a page or two, unlike many other Google algorithms updates that are page-based.  Google will evaluate your website as a whole and the impact will be just as significant. The sooner you remove the unhelpful content, the better.

Why Is Google Doing This?

Because it wants to help searchers find high-quality content, Google told Barry. The search engine simply wants to reward useful content written for people, not bots and crawlers.

This absolutely makes sense, considering the number of complaints you can hear from users. It must have happened to you too; you were searching for an answer and you keep ending up on highly ranked articles that have no value to you as a reader. You end up opening a bunch of links and improving their traffic, meanwhile getting no answer to your query whatsoever.

So, it sounds fair that Google’s doing this. There’s too much content out there that’s just designed to rank well, instead of actually being helpful to the customer.

The update is supposed to be released next week, and it will take about two weeks for it to fully roll out.

According to Search Engine Land, Google said the content type that will be impacted the most will be online educational materials, arts and entertainment, shopping and tech-related content.

Also, the search engine shared with Glenn Gabe that ANY content on your site that was created to serve the search engine before the reader is less likely to have good results in Search. So even if you do have high-quality content, the bad one can and probably will bring your whole site’s rank down.  Google says you should remove the unhelpful content ASAP.

Google’s Advice On Building People-first Content

Google shared a list of questions to ask yourself when creating content. To create people-first content, you should focus on creating satisfying, actually helpful content while also utilizing best SEO practices. Here are the questions to ask yourself when creating content:

  • Do you have an existing or intended audience that would find the content useful?
  • Does your content demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge?
  • Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
  • After reading your content, will a human leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
  • Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
  • Are you keeping in mind our guidance for core updates and for product reviews?

If you answered yes to these questions, chances are pretty high you’re all good. If not, it’s definitely time for a change.

Read More: Google Helpful Content Update Still Rolling Out, Kind of Slow though

Update from the future: The Google Helpful Content Updatefinsihed rolling out on September 9th! Even though not a lot of people reported seeing major fluctuations, the update is still valuable and very important. Read more about it here and find out what to do if you were hit!

Read More: Word Count Doesn’t Mean Your Content Is Unhelpful
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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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