23 April 2008

The Truth About Google News

Google News recently debunked a few myths and confirmed some rumours about the factors influencing its rankings and content.

And here are some of the truths:

* Redesigning websites can affect coverage on Google News

Google says this is because its crawlers can sometimes struggle to navigate the new design and may need to be updated.

* Updating stories can cause problems with Google News

Because its crawlers only check each URL once, Google News will not reflect any updates. It hopes to bring in re-crawling capabilities soon.

* Photo or video-only articles will not be included

Google crawlers look for text content, so any items without any text at all will not feature on Google News.

And now for some of those myths:

* Timing publication can improve ranking

Google says this is not true, explaining that its algorithms take several factors into consideration before producing a cluster of “best articles”.

“Whether you publish before, after, or in the midst of when other publishers post articles won’t affect your article ranking.”

And Google warns: “If we detect that a source is constantly rewriting stories in order to game the system, we will flag the source in our system.”

* Including images enhances ranking

Not true, says Google, although it says including a good picture improves the chances of getting that image shown.

* You never know why your articles don’t appear

Google says publishers can create an account via its Webmaster Tools to find out why articles are not showing up in Google News.

Full details of the myths and truths can be found on the Google News Blog.

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