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How Big Brands Have Begun Gaming Google News



12:14 am on Nov 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm an avid watcher of Google News. Understanding how it works is always something of a mystery. But what's clear is that whoever ends up as the top story on the front page or in each section of GNews, gets the most traffic.

This has become even more true with those same stories appearing alongside search.

Recently Google News has been moving more towards favoring Big Brands, in much the same way Google Search has. On GNews that works out this way...

If LittleBrandY has a story and BigBrandX has a story, Google News will display the BigBrandX story over LIttleBrandY story, even if the LittleBrandY story is far more relevant.

Alright. That's fine. LittleBrandY would still get in once in awhile. But what's happened in the past couple of weeks is that BigBrandX's have started realizing they have preferential treatment, and begun manipulating it.

That works this way.

1.Google News decides the topic "widgets" is now relevant and begins featuring stories related to topic "widgets" on the front page of GNews.

2. BigBrandX notices that Google News is featuring "widgets" as a topic and quickly writes a story on "widgets" and publishes it.

3. Google News sees BigBrandX's story on "widgets" and immediately features it as the top story on the GNews front page. It stays there for 20 - 45 minutes after which GNews rotates in another story from someone else.

4. BigBrandX sees that its "widgets" story has now been bumped off the front page by someone else and then republishes exactly the same story with the same title all over again.

5. GNews sees that BigBrandX has a new story on "widgets" and immediately pushes it to the top above all the other stories.

6. The same story from BigBrandX has now been re-featured and gets another 45 minutes as the top story.

7. Process repeats over and over until the topic is no longer on GNews.

To date I've seen this being done but at least 10 of the biggest, most well known media corporations and a whole host of newspaper conglomerates, with great success. As a result, the number of sources on GNews is now becoming extremely limited and ONLY big brands are being displayed often with irrelevant or poorly written stories which were covered much better by someone else, who might actually be an expert on the subject.


11:36 pm on Nov 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

If you think big ("greedy") news outlets are bad the answer is simple, do not click through to their articles.

If you think Google is unfair in how it presents the News, you have a couple options.

1. Don't use it.
2. Personalize your settings.

Of course, the people complaining are not news "consumers" dissatisfied with the [free] news aggregating Google offers -- they are complaining because they can't get [free] traffic to their website via Google news, (which many likely monetize with Google Adsense).

To qualify my comments, I should say that;

a. I look at Google News almost every day -- and have Google alerts set to email me the top stories on a few subjects (every day).

b. I publish news, and one of my larger / older sites fully qualifies for inclusion in Google News, but I choose NOT to have my articles included.

c. I partially monetize my news with Adsense.

With that said, many people may wonder why I wouldn't want my articles published as Google News.

The answer is simple -- I consider my news articles (which are highly focused on a single niche) to be evergreen content -- old news is as valuable as new news... I am afraid if I submit to Google News, I will lose the rankings and traffic I enjoy on the "web" side of Google... which I believe yields me more Google traffic than News would, since it's the default search.

OTOH - WSJ, NYT, MSNBC, FOX and the rest of those BixBrandX news sources rely on filling the pipe with varied NEWS content throughout the day, and none of them would get any traffic if they relied on just being in Google's general index.



4:09 am on Nov 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

How can little brands raise awareness and do well in Google News?


6:23 am on Nov 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

How can little brands raise awareness and do well in Google News?

What type of little brand (news site)? Local news? National politics? Sports, health & medical, trade journal, finance, technology, etc?

What are you trying to raise awareness of? That you exist at all? That your content is somehow different? Better? More timely?...


9:51 am on Nov 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

That's not greed, it's getting ahead for yourself and your family

Wrong. Ranking first is getting ahead for yourself and your family. Deliberately monopolising a results set is greed. There IS a difference. You can be successful, and wealthy, without being greedy.

A few great threads here recently have focused on building brand status. The consensus was that this comes from having not just the best site in your niche, but also by being the best businesses in your niche. Most customer-focused, most knowledgeable / helpful, best returns policy etc.

But apparently, once you have achieved that recognition in Google News, it's then OK to use your muscle to say the same thing longer and louder than those with less clout, so that they can't get a word in edgeways.

Maybe it's just me, but these two things seem to be fundamentally at odds with each other.


2:15 pm on Nov 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

FranticFish wrote:
Deliberately monopolising a results set is greed.

Unless you're using a different definition of the word monopoly than I'm familiar with, that's not what Shatner is talking about.

Hell, there hasn't even been any independent confirmation that what he's posted here is actually happening. Two people (myself included) have offered logical and non-evil explanations for what he's claimed to have observed, yet you've chosen to go off on some righteous rant against greed and monopolies. I'd say that that's not only fairly off-topic, but less than useful to the discussion. If you want help, confirm Shatner's observation. Otherwise, settle down.



3:19 pm on Nov 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

There are plenty of things that get discussed here that are unconfirmed, and people express opinions about them. Some positive, some negative. You're right though: it's noise, not signal. Should wait until I'm in a better mood next time I post!


2:12 am on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

It is true that bigger sites rank much better in GN because their domains have higher trust scores. GN is now harder to "own" (im a black hat dude, so pardon my hargon). For many money phrase only trusted big name go through to organics and smaller news sites never even have a chance. I remember the times when both pharmacy and financial niches were so pleasant for Google news games. Alas, if I want to push #*$! enlargement throguh I will need to publish in New York Times. LOL. Also, if you are a smaller news site you may be kicked out if your artices don't cut it in manual review process, so I never invest my precious time in building a site targeted at GN traffic. But instead I exploit other sites with wholes and publish on them whatever I wish and feed it directly to organics through GN. I do it from time to time to see if I am still good. I will hit that baby during superbowl again and cash in. Just my 5 cents.
PS: I am not going to be worried about big domains shuffle me under cuz I know a few tricks how to keep them below my posts. And actually, no tricks needed - smart keyword targeting is actually all I use. Experiement and watch the pros (you know which niches to go lol) and you will get it.


12:39 pm on Dec 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I agree to some extend with 2macarena.

I believe Google just threw in the towel with GN, as they did with many of their other failed experiments, because they couldn't battle the spam. So Google obviously decided to simply rank the big names in news and put the rest under the "538 related articles".

Google News is still useful though - it ensures that your content is picked up almost instantly and you get the "original article" benefit of the doubt.
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