Google announced last week (September 12, 2019) that it has updated its search-rater guidelines to better-recognize original reporting in both its news and general search results. “This means readers interested in the latest news can find the story that started it all, and publishers can benefit from having their original reporting more widely seen,” said Richard Gingras, VP, Google News. However, it may also mean that Google will be searching less for a small business website that doesn’t carry news.

Why small business owners should care

If you produce news content, it might not just be enough to do a “value-added” type of reporting. “You may need to work harder to be the original news source of the topic to get real traction and traffic from Google,” says Schwartz.

Original reporting will not only rank better in Google Search but soon will also rank better in Google News, including Google Discover, according to Barry Schwartz, news editor of Search Engine Land. According to Schwartz, original reporting will reward news results both higher and for a longer longer period of time

In addition to recognizing individual instances of original reporting at the page level, Google has also asked its raters to consider the publisher’s overall reputation for original reporting.

Gingras said Google Search and Google News are more and more using the same algorithms and concepts for rankings. So while the search quality raters guidelines were originally specific to just web search, it has now been updated more and more to also rate the more news-related search results.

How does Google determine original reporting?

Schwartz believes that Google is not just looking at the first page and earliest timestamp of a page for a specific topic — it is probably looking for news sources that are more well-known for original reporting.

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