Marketing 3 min read

Google Changes Algorithm to Boost Original Reporting

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

In a recent announcement, Google reported that the latest update to its search engine algorithm is aimed at boosting original reporting.

In the past, local media outlets have accused Google algorithm of plummeting their online traffic and is leading to an industry decline. That’s because the search engine tends to show the latest and more comprehensive version of a story, which is usually a follow-up story to a piece of big news.

In other words, the algorithm rewards outlets that repost news instead of media sites that posted the original content. Now Google is changing its algorithm to address this issue.

In a blog post, Google’s vice president of news, Richard Gingras said:

“Recently, we’ve made ranking updates and published changes to our search rater guidelines to help us better recognize original reporting, surface it more prominently in Search and ensure it stays there longer.”

The new algorithm change will enable readers to find the story that started it all, and in turn, publishers can enjoy the benefit of original reporting.

So, how does it work?

To elevate original reporting, Google has sent instructions to about 10,000 people whose feedback will help train the algorithm. Aside from evaluating the write-up, these reviewers will also determine the publisher’s reputation beforehand.

For example, the algorithm will reward media outlets that have won Pulitzer Prizes for investigative journalism in the past.

As great as it all sounds, the changes raise a lot of questions.

The Problem With Prioritizing Original Reporting

It’s a little challenging to define what original reporting is.

Many news outlets build an exclusive story using their original information or pieces of synthesized information from news sources. This often leads to a bigger picture that’s often more thoughtful than the breaking story.

Also, while rewarding the first media outlets to post news sounds reasonable, it could worsen an already frantic online news cycle. Originality could take priority over accuracy.

By making it lucrative to break the news online faster, media outlets can post unverified news, and edit the post as the story unfolds.

Gingras noted in the blog post:

“We instruct raters to use the highest rating for original news 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.”

Those stories are rarely breaking news, and they are not usually the first to appear online.

Read More: Google to Stop Running Ads For Unproven Medical Techniques

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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