Google Search Letting Big Brand News Sites Rank Above Smaller Specialized Publishers

Over the past couple of weeks or so, I have been hearing complaints from the SEO and publishing worlds that since some of the more recent core updates, Google has been ranking big publisher brands well above smaller, more specialized publishers that may know the topic better.

In fact, the big ongoing WebmasterWorld thread has lots of complaints about this recently, as are there complaints on Twitter. As you know, SEOs and site owners have always complained about big brands ranking too highly or above them (the smaller brand). But this one is specific to let’s say a New York Times domain ranking for something that it might not be a subject area expert on, and the content may show the lack of expertise.

Don’t get me wrong, I know these publishers domains hold a lot of weight (not DA) but Google was pretty good at letting a niche small publisher shine even on a domain not as powerful than a bigger publisher. In addition, some of this content is filled with some really bad affiliate links and are not the best experience that Google would want to serve its searchers.

StupidIntelligent in the forum wrote “start a news website in your niche. Push 30 to 40 articles daily. Get millions of signals, and then promote your business through that. This is the only way the system works nowadays. Small website owners or businesses have zero chance. The only bit of decent organic traffic comes to people running news websites in their respective niches.”

This tweet kind of highlighted the issue:

In which John Mueller of Google replied:

However, Danny Sullivan of Google chimed in a bit later and said he will pass along this example because “more broadly we’ve given guidance about any site that hosts content it hasn’t written or sponsored content is involved, and sites should be considering this.”

I do think Danny is referring here to the domain leasing guideline but I can be wrong.

So I asked folks to provide even more examples on Twitter and this Twitter thread has a ton of examples of this in action. I’ll share some examples below, but it is best (if Google) looks through the thread on Twitter for more:

More complaints:

The reason I am sharing this is to kind of bring more light to this as a possible search quality issue that Google may want to look into.

I can say a lot of search industry publications seem to be seeing less and less traffic, where it is going is interesting. And trust me, I care less about traffic, and I don’t take any of this personally, I am not writing this for myself.

Danny will be doing this community news summit next week, if you want to ask questions:

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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