Google is updating search rankings to give more weight to the original reporting of news stories.
With this update, Google aims to surface original coverage more prominently over follow-up coverage from other publications.
Google will also make sure the original report is featured in search results for a longer period of time.
“While we typically show the latest and most comprehensive version of a story in news results, we’ve made changes to our products globally to highlight articles that we identify as significant original reporting. Such articles may stay in a highly visible position longer. This prominence allows users to view the original reporting while also looking at more recent articles alongside it.”
In addition to being an official ranking update, Google’s renewed focus on original reporting is emphasized in the recent changes to the search quality rater guidelines.
This change is being made to help both publishers and searchers. Searchers are more likely to find the original story right from the source, and the publisher will benefit from greater visibility in search results.
What is Defined as Original Reporting?
Google says there is no absolute definition of what qualifies as original reporting. To that end, there is also no standard in place for establishing how original one article is over another.
“It can mean different things to different newsrooms and publishers at different times, so our efforts will constantly evolve as we work to understand the life cycle of a story.”
Admittedly, this can be more challenging to determine in some cases than others. For example, if a world news event was covered by multiple outlets at the same time, then it could be difficult to figure out which outlet published the “original report.”
If an outlet published a article that itself became news and was covered by others, then it would be easier to figure out which report should receive prominence in search results.
These changes are in effect now, so time will tell how Google handles these different types of news coverage.