Google News Sending Users Directly to Publishers’ Websites

An update rolling out soon to the Google News app will send users directly to publishers’ own webpages, rather than being sent to AMP pages.

Google announced earlier this year it would begin supporting non-AMP content in Google News as part of the page experience update.

The update was launched in June with no mention of expanded support for web content in Google News. Apparently that update wasn’t quite ready at the time.

Google is giving news publishers a heads up via email of this update being available within weeks:

“As part of [the page experience] update, in the coming weeks the Google News app will improve its support for web content, displaying both AMP and non-AMP web content with more regularity from sites worldwide. No action is required of you to enable this.”

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As Google says, if your publication is already included in Google News there’s no further action required.

Previously, utilizing AMP was a requirement for inclusion in Google News. Many publishers have been against AMP since its introduction, as it comes with the trade-off of giving up control over on-page assets.

As a result, that left a lot of publishers out of Google News who may have wanted to be in it if not for the AMP requirement.

If your publication isn’t included in Google News, and you’ve been deliberately holding out in protest of AMP, you will have to take action to get your content included.

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Unlike Google Search, which autonomously crawls and indexes as much web content it can find, Google News doesn’t seek out content for its index.

Publishers have to manually apply and meet a set of criteria in order to have their articles surfaced in Google News.

For more on how to do that, see: How to Get Your Website Listed in Google News.

Here are a few other important notes about this update.

Google News No Longer Relies on RSS

As a result of the shift to surfacing publishers’ webpages, Google News will no longer directly render article text provided in an RSS feed.

With that capability being removed, functionality in Publisher Center relating to feed-based article rendering will also be removed.

This includes custom Analytics tracking IDs and 3rd party tracking pixels used to track in-app reads, as well as custom RSS styling and feed ads.

Refer to the image below to see exactly what’s being removed from Publisher Center:

Screenshot from Google News Publisher Center, September 2021.

What is Not Changing?

Google assures publishers there will be no change to how data is tracked.

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When this change rolls out, you will still be able to track and measure your Google News traffic through your existing analytics tracking.

Google News performance reports in Search Console will be unaffected as well.

All changes are expected to go into effect in early November. Google will remind publishers about this change again before it goes live.


Featured Image: sdx15 / Shutterstock

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