Whenever we broke any big news, some competition would lift, recycle and upload that on their platform immediately after we published. They would credit the information to media reports, and Google would not mind it and place their piece of news on the top of the search for multiple reasons including the platform’s page rank, better search engine optimisation and the age of the platform. That always discouraged the platforms like us who relied upon original reporting and never indulged in lifting the news.
There was an era of exclusivity at least for a day in print, which we still follow and let the reporter of any platform enjoy the exclusivity unless it is critical. The publishers who are staunch believers of original reporting are set to get a big relief as Google said that it had made changes to its search algorithm to give an advantage to “original reporting” that would be reinforced by changes in other guidelines.
Richard Gingras, VP, News, Google, said in a blogpost, “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. 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.”
“An important element of the coverage we want to provide is original reporting, an endeavour which requires significant time, effort and resources by the publisher. Some stories can also be both critically important in the impact they can have on our world and difficult to put together, requiring reporters to engage in deep investigative pursuits to dig up facts and sources. These are among the reasons why we aim to support these industry efforts and help people get access to the most authoritative reporting,” Gingras added.
While Google typically shows the latest and most comprehensive version of a story in news results, it has made changes to its products globally to highlight articles that it identifies as significant original reporting. Such articles may stay in a highly visible position longer. This prominence allows users to view the original reporting while also looking at more recent articles alongside it.
However, Gingras conceded that there was no absolute definition of original reporting, nor was there an absolute standard for establishing how original a given article was. “It can mean different things to different newsrooms and publishers at different times, so our efforts will constantly evolve as we work to understand the life cycle of a story,” he said.