Danny Sullivan of Google published a blog post on Friday named answers to some common questions about appearing in Google News. Sadly, I honestly don’t think this will lead to less questions or frustration from new publishers and their questions around sites appearing in Google News or not.
The blog post covers these five areas:
(1) Where does news appear on Google?
(2) Is my site eligible to appear in these places?
(3) How do I know if my site is appearing?
(4) Is there anything I can do to improve my visibility?
(5) I’m following all your advice. Why am I still not appearing?
Now, I covered this in more detail on Search Engine Land – in short, there is very little new in this blog post that I did not cover before.
Site Command Does Not Show If Your Site Is In Google News
Maybe the one new thing is crystal clear information that the site command on Google News does not really tell you much about if a site is included in Google News or not. Google said “while you can use the site: search query on Google News or the News tab on Search to see if those pages are indexed, it doesn’t mean that those pages are eligible to appear for news searches.” So there, we know now doing site commands doesn’t tell you anything about if your site is eligible or not for Google News, like it did in the old days.
Does This Blog Post Help New Publishers?
In short, like I described in my earlier piece named Google News Algorithmic Inclusion Is A Failure For Publishers, I wrote, back in December 2019 or so, Google stopped the requirement for news publishers to manually submit their news site to be included in Google News. Instead, Google said it will automatically through its algorithms figure out what sites to include in Google News. The problem is, this new process is a complete failure for new publishers. This blog post from Google does not change that, not at all.
New publishers struggle every day in trying to find their content in Google News. Google’s advice to publishers to see if they are in Google News? Use Google Search Console. Yea, if you see your content showing up in the Google News performance report and/or the news filter in the Search performance report – then you are in Google News for that content. Google said “you know that your content is eligible and relevant to appear,” if you show in Search Console for those reports.
Google News Publisher Center
Honestly, I know some folks love the new Google News Publisher Center but I don’t find it too useful. I am a small publisher and maybe I am using wrong. This is what Google said:
You can use the Publisher Center to define certain details about your site — RSS feeds, website URLs, videos and more — that can help manage your brand and make it easier for Google to index your site. The Publisher Center can also be used to create a “News source” page for publications, if you don’t already have one. This page allows Google News users – if they choose – to follow the publication and see its latest content.
While the Publisher Center can help you manage content that’s deemed eligible, eligibility itself is determined through the automated process. Given this, being approved to use the Publisher Center, submitting content through it or having a News source page does not mean content will appear Google News.
How SEOs Feel About It
So I asked some SEOs in the news space, here is what some of them said:
Google’s response to the avalanche of legit criticism of their totally broken algorithmic news inclusion process that excludes thousands of genuine publishers for no justifiable reason whatsoever:
“Nah, it’s fine.” https://t.co/oNa1IrQ42Y
— Barry Adams 📰 (@badams) July 16, 2021
Well spotted. Lots of words to say pretty much nothing.
— Barry Adams 📰 (@badams) July 16, 2021
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) July 16, 2021
Now, if we default approve all the sites in GNews without any guideline feedback to d site owner & den doesn’t show them in the search leads to a lot of confusion n not help anyone. GNews may not define Good/Bad content but a manual review n give a result that is still imp. 2/4
— Rudra Uma Kasturi (@kasturitagore) July 18, 2021
I just think the Google News Publisher Center and/or Search Console should have a switch if a site is in or not in Google News. A yes or no toggle. That would help a lot. Better yet, if not, maybe Google can say why it is not included? Could be trust issues for Google News, could it be a manual action (actually, a non news site would not get a manual action for news issues if it was not in Google News) or other eligibility issues?
Listen, I applaud the effort here by Danny Sullivan posting at all. Before Danny, I think Google would have just not said or responded to anything. This does provide a more clarity on this whole issue, it does not really solve the issue – but automation is the way Google wants to go with this. So there you have it.
Anyway, what do you all think?