Google News Will Now Favor Original Reporting Over Other Factors

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Google News has made another major adjustment to how it ranks content. The search giant will now favor original reporting and factors like journalism awards when deciding what order in which to rank content in Google News. These changes are sure to have sweeping impacts on the blogging universe.

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Google News announces major change

The company announced its new preference for original reporting in a blog post on Thursday. Google News’ algorithm will be adjusted with this new preference. The search giant also updated its search rater guidelines with improved ways to recognize original reporting and make it rank higher up in search results and stay there longer. The goal of this change is to make it easier for readers to see the story that originally started a news string, and publishers of original reporting can have it seen more widely.

Google VP Richard Gingras explained that because of how quickly the news changes, the original report on a topic doesn’t always stay on top for very long. Often other news outlets will conduct their own investigations or interviews on the same topic and generate plenty of interest by following up on the first report. Other times numerous outlets all post articles about the same topic or event at about the same time, which can make it hard for web users to see which article was the first to report news on the topic.

By favoring the first article on a topic, Google News hopes to make it easier for users to read that first report alongside the latest news on a particular topic.

“There is no absolute definition of original reporting, nor is there an absolute standard for establishing how original a given article is,” he wrote. “It can mean different things to different newsrooms and publishers at different times, so our efforts will constantly evolve as we understand the life cycle of a story.”

Updating algorithms

Google News uses algorithms to rank content and organize it in useful ways. The search giant uses more than 10,000 raters around the globe to evaluate the work its systems do in ranking content. Feedback from these raters doesn’t change the rankings in the results they’re reviewing, but it is used to evaluate and improve the company’s algorithms for all results.

Google’s guidelines explain what it values when ranking content, and the feedback it collects will be used to improve its automated ranking systems. A recent change to the guidelines now requires raters to give the highest rating to original reporting “that provides information that would not otherwise have been known had the article not revealed it. Original, in-depth, and investigative reporting requires a high degree of skill, time, and effort.”

Raters are also told to take into account the publisher’s reputation for original reporting. For example, newspapers which have won journalistic awards should be given greater weight in the rankings.

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