Psst…secrets of Google News exposed!
Wednesday, April 2, 2008 2:43 PM
Posted by Andy Golding, Software Engineer
Often publishers ask us why Google News didn’t include one of their articles, or skipped the image associated with an article. In the search for answers, we’ve noticed that there’s a lot of confusion about how we include and rank articles. We’d like to share some of the facts, and debunk the myths.
We’ve enumerated some of truths and myths below, and invite you to visit the Truths & Myths post on the support group for more extensive followup discussion about your experiences with Google News. User Guides Marcela and Abe will be reading and responding to posts over the next few days. We hope that this post and the corresponding support group thread will help many of you improve your content coverage in Google News.
So without further delay, on to truths and myths:
Having an image next to your article improves your ranking MYTH
While having a good image with your article does improve your chance to get your picture shown, it has no impact on the ranking of the article itself. There are some tips in our help center designed to help us include more of your images in Google News. We encourage you to check those out if you have had problems getting images included in the past.
Updating an article after posting it will create problems with Google News TRUE
Currently, the Google News crawler only visits each article URL once. If you make updates to the article after we’ve crawled it, they won’t be reflected on our site. We hope that soon we’ll have the ability to re-crawl your articles to make sure we have the latest version displayed on our site, but for now this is not the case.
Timing the publication of your article improves your article ranking MYTH
Google News is constantly looking for the most recent developments in a story. Making sure we get the latest, breaking news articles is very important. However, whether you publish before, after, or in the midst of when other publishers post articles won’t affect your article ranking. Our algorithms take a number of factors into account when choosing the best articles in a cluster. Simply publishing the same story after another publisher won’t help. Additionally, our system is set up to detect duplicate content and promote the original source of a story. If we detect that a source is constantly rewriting stories in order to game the system, we will flag the source in our system.
Articles that are just images or video won’t be included TRUE
While we will include articles that contain multimedia content, if our crawler cannot find accompanying text content, it won’t include the article. The bottom line here is that our crawler is looking for text articles, so if some of your content isn’t text-based, it won’t be included in Google News. In the meantime, we’re working to find ways to add more multimedia content such as our recent integration with video news from YouTube.
There’s no way to see why my articles weren’t included in Google News MYTH
As you’ve seen above, there are a number of reasons that your articles may not be included in Google News. To help you analyze your coverage, we have Webmaster Tools for news. If your site is currently included in Google News, you can create an account that will show you errors on specific articles.
Publishing a sitemap helps my rankings MYTH
Creating a sitemap for your news articles helps us find your content; if we can’t find your content, we can’t rank it. Creating a sitemap does not affect your article rankings; but there are still several reasons that creating a sitemap is a good idea. First, sitemaps give you greater control over which of your articles appear on Google News; they tell us specifically which articles to crawl. Second, sitemaps allow you to specify meta-information about individual articles, such as their publication date, or keywords that help inform which section of Google News the articles should appear in.
Redesigning my site may affect my coverage in Google News TRUE
Our crawler has been carefully tuned to scour the web for news content. If you drastically change the structure of your site or your page layout, the crawler may have trouble navigating the new design. In such cases, the Support team may need to update the crawler so that it can find your new content. When in doubt, check out the section in our publisher help center about changes to your site or contact the Support team.
If I put AdSense on my site, my article rankings will improve MYTH
Using AdSense doesn’t have any impact upon our ability to crawl or rank your articles. We try to stay as objective as possible, and giving sites with our ads product a boost, well, that wouldn’t be very objective!
We hope this information has been eye-opening, and encourage you to let us know what else you’ve heard on our Truth & Myths thread.
Psst…secrets of Google News exposed!