Google News Dropping Sites, Reviewing Inclusion Standards

google-news-logoGoogle News has recently dropped “a number” of websites that it says were not meeting the company’s quality guidelines. At the same time, the company says it’s also reviewing its policies governing what sites are included as sources in Google News.

While not revealing exactly how many sites have been dropped, a Google News spokesperson tells us, “Yes, we recently removed a number of websites from Google News that we determined were not following Google’s quality guidelines.”

Google News has faced criticism recently for an apparent increase in spam and low-quality sites appearing — sometimes prominently — in Google News. As far back as July, Danny Sullivan wrote about the “pollution” in Google News involving “news” articles about trending topics. In early November, CNET News wrote about how one company “games” Google News (see here and here).

As the recent DecorMyEyes incident proves, Google sometimes reacts swiftly when the quality of its search results is called out publicly. A week ago, Google’s Matt Cutts posted on Twitter about a “crackdown” in Google News:

matt-tweet

Google doesn’t actually have quality guidelines that are specific to Google News. When the company recently sent email notices to sites that were dropped, it included a link to the quality guidelines provided in Google Webmaster Tools. Some publishers have posted what they say is an email that Google News has sent to dropped sites:

We periodically review news sources, particularly following user complaints, to ensure Google News offers a high quality experience for our users.

Upon reviewing your site, we found that we can no longer include it in Google News at this time. We have certain guidelines in place regarding the quality of sites which are included in the Google News index. If your site is in violation of these guidelines, it will not be added to Google News. Please feel free to review these guidelines at the following link: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35769#3.

Please note that you’ll still be able to find your site in Google Web Search and other Google services.

Thanks for your interest in Google News.

The Google News Team

Spam in Google News is somewhat different than in a regular web index because sites don’t get in Google News without first being vetted by Google’s human editors. “Publishers sometimes change their practices after they’ve been included in Google News,” a Google News spokesperson tells us. In other words, some sites are playing by the rules to get included in Google News, then — either consciously or not — starting to violate Google’s guidelines after they’re in.

With that in mind, Google says it’s reviewing its standards for getting into Google News:

With our inclusion policies, we’ve always strived for both diversity and quality. We’re re-examining whether we should change those policies or processes to provide a better user experience. The web publishing landscape has changed a lot since Google News was created eight years ago, and we’re going to keep evolving for the benefit of our users and the publishers they read.

Google also says its “priority is to drive traffic to news sites that conduct original reporting,” but emphasizes that its recent introduction of meta tags that help identify original sources was not related to, and has no bearing on, its Google News inclusion policies.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: News | SEO: Spamming | Top News

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • http://techie-buzz.com keithdsouza

    Well, this is good news. Of late, there have been too many spam sites in the index and it is definitely sending them good traffic on watch live and more among others.

    Gaming Google News is far more simpler than faming Google search because Google itself gives precedence to news results and shows it on position 1 most of the times. So even if you had a crappy site with crappy language you could get tons of traffic just by looking at trending topics in Google.

    Reporting spam websites in news to Google is futile, there are so many sites which have been reported but continue to be in Google News, so that editorial review policy is something which is not perfect. Look at the Google news forum to take a look at the numerous reports filed against spam sites and see for yourself if Google has acted on them or not.

    The downside is that there are sites which actually do good work and are being rejected by Google citing vague reasons. Of late Google is only favoring big publishers and sidelining several medium and smaller one’s.

    So in the end, the new Google policy is make the rich richer and make the poor work harder. I am familiar with the situation because we were kicked out of Google news too.

  • E Brian Rose

    I see the same people posting again and again that Google does not want rewritten news stories. I can guarantee you that news agencies of all sizes rewrite the news.

    It is a fact that most news that is distributed by agencies from the Podunk Press all the way up to CNN rewrite news stories from the wires. Hasn’t anybody ever heard of the saying “hot off the wires”? That goes back to the “reporters” grabbing a tear sheet and rewriting it. It still happens today in almost every newsroom.

    Google isn’t cracking down on rewritten news. They are cracking down on small businesses.

  • LiliaM

    Yeah right, this is coming from Mr. Brian Rose, the guy who makes a profit from teaching newbies how to spam Google News by creating fake news site. What more to say of this self claimed guru who dares to even post here in this very topic about the mess he helped created. The world that we live in.

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