Google published its Google News transparency policy listing its principles behind these policies. Google said these policies help determine what is eligible to appear on Google News and other News surfaces, and they help ensure that Google is elevating content from trusted, authoritative sources.
Keep in mind, Google never announced the Google News and Discover manual actions but this blog post does reference them offhand. So read those if you missed it.
Article Level Google News Factors/Signals
Here are the article level specific Google News signals it uses behind its transparency policy. Google said these factors helps Google “consider information that helps users quickly gain context about articles or the journalists covering stories.”
- Article byline that link to a bio describing the author’s credentials and expertise
- Article’s publishing date (finally!)
- Labeling to indicate the article type, for example Opinion or News
Site Level Google News Factors/Signals
Here are the site wide level Google News signals it uses behind its transparency policy. Google said these factors “helps readers understand a site’s purpose, its organizational structure, and the kinds of information they can expect from that site.”
- Mission statement
- Editorial policies and standards
- Staff information and bios for both editorial and business staff
- Non-generic contact information
- Other organizational-level information like owners and/or funding sources (for example, state-sponsorship, relationship to political parties or PACs).
Google said in some cases it understands why some publications cannot detail of this information. Google said “transparency requires a thoughtful approach that is attuned to differences in local norms, editorial philosophies, and resources, as well as being dynamic and reflective of evolving standards.” “We also recognize that the global news ecosystem is diverse and evolving. To ensure our transparency policy is inclusive and responsive to industry changes, we have several further principles that guide our approach,” Google added:
- Google considers different regional and country-level expectations and practices around transparency. This is particularly important in areas with less press freedom where practices like naming a journalist can carry significant risk.
- Google looks at a number of inputs and consider a breadth of editorial practices. This helps ensure that distinctive editorial philosophies—for example, publishing pieces without bylines — don’t affect the credibility of an otherwise authoritative source.
- Google also considers 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.
This is all based on what Google considers an “ordinary person might find helpful if they want to assess a site’s credibility.”
Are we to expect something from Google based on this? I am not sure. John Mueller wouldn’t say one way or another. It might be Google playing catch up on the new Google manual actions for Google News and Google Discover? It might be to address the constant complaints from publishers about their sites not showing up in Google News? I am not sure:
Google is a big company, sometimes things aren’t as lined up as you might expect. But sometimes they are.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) June 1, 2021
That tweet from John is not to telling…
Forum discussion at Twitter.