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Google News Showcase launched in late 2023 and gives publishers who sign up for the licensing program a new way to share their editorial voice and expertise.

And the best part?

The program is a way for publishers to be paid for their digital content.

There have been disputes between Australia and Google, and France and Google about remuneration for showcasing publishers’ content online.

In an announcement about the launch of the new program made on the 25th June 2023, Brad Bender, VP, Product Management at Google, News, wrote:

“This program will help participating publishers monetize their content through an enhanced storytelling experience that lets people go deeper into more complex stories, stay informed and be exposed to a world of different issues and interests.”

When the Google News Showcase was launched, publishers within Brazil, Germany, and Australia had signed up.

Now, the list also includes publications from India, Canada, Italy, France, Czechia, the U.K., Japan, Argentina, and more.

Additionally, of those already signed up, over 90% represent community, regional or local news organizations.

What Do Austrian Publications Think About Joining The Google News Showcase?

Austria is the latest in a long line of countries signing up and publishing their content within the Google News Showcase.

Gino Cuturi, who is the Managing Director of a leading regional newspaper in Upper Austria, has spoken about their aim:

“We aim to get even more readers excited about our digital products and to convince them of our local reporting in the long term.”

Hermann Petz, CEO of Tiroler Tageszeitung also stated:

“Experience shows that there is still great potential for regional daily newspapers to attract occasional digital readers and then develop them into regular readers…We see Google News Showcase as an opportunity to expand and monetize this ‘widest circle of readers.’”

Benefits Of Google News Showcase For Publishers

If publications publish their content behind a paywall, Google will pay for user access to this, allowing stories to reach more audiences who have previously been unwilling to pay for content.

Publications can curate the appearance of their content within the program through News Showcase panels.

Panels can include:

Key facts in a list format

Important stories of the day


Related articles

That is digestible and easy for readers to access and gain greater insights into news articles.

The program also provides publishers more control over their voice and brand across other Google products.

Google News Showcase readers can connect and follow specific publishers, and the panels will act as a bridge to the publishers’ websites, potentially increasing traffic and subscriptions.

According to the announcement from Google, by sending readers to the website of the publications, the publishers can ‘deepen their relationships with readers’.

With so many countries and news publishers signing up to the showcase, it’s exciting to see who will be next to sign up.


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Yahoo, Google, And Msn Tackle The News

Today Yahoo officially launched their Yahoo News Search 2.0 in beta and has integrated it into the Yahoo Portal’s extremely active news site. Yahoo News Search draws in news stories from thousands of online news sources, combining articles from Yahoo! News and over 7,500 crawled news sources around the Web. The news service has been in beta since January, but was more or less made public today with a new search box placed at the top of the Yahoo News page along with search results generated from a news search on the Yahoo search engine.

Yahoo Search News 2.0 does not only index published news stories, but also offers multimedia news in both audio and video.

Yahoo is still giving AP and web newspaper sites top billing on the main Yahoo News page, but after testing they may follow Google and MSN’s path of using relevancy algorithms to determine the top stories shown from their index.

Google News is the pioneer in news search and has been live for over a year. Google News draws its news results from over 4,500 news sources worldwide and automatically arranged to present the most relevant news first. Google News offers a news service that has quietly become the pinnacle in online news search that is compiled solely by computer algorithms without human intervention.

According to Google News; “the headlines on the Google News homepage are selected entirely by a computer algorithm, based on many factors including how often and on what sites a story appears elsewhere on the web.” Google’s news service also lets readers subscribe to email news alerts and documents news photos along with top stories.

Microsoft’s MSN has also made a fine effort of indexing and making news stories searchable with their MSN Newsbot. Newsbot is in partnership with Moreover news syndication services and too gathers news from over 4,000 sources. Like Google News, MSN Newsbot clusters the top and most relevant news stories on their Newsbot main page. Currently in beta testing on the MSN’s UK network, Newsbot also has international versions throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America. For a selected Spanish speaking US news audience, MSN offers Newsbot Latino.

Google Responds To Google News China Controversy

Google Responds to Google News China Controversy

Recently Google, in the own words, explained their position on operating in China and their censorship of certain news stories on the Chinese version of Google News. Google News has also been looked into in the United States because of political bias reports. Some people seem to think that the Google News algorithm is serving better political play and supportive articles for George W. Bush on searches for “Bush” than they do for John Kerry on searches for well, “Kerry.” While the US version of Google News is giving results from all sorts of different news services, Google News China is practicing true censorship by excluding non-Government approved (non PRC) news resources.

Coming under fire from various blogs, free speech activists, and non-censored news channels, Google responded yesterday on their own Google Blog:

There has been controversy about our new Google News China edition, specifically regarding which news sources we include. For users inside the People’s Republic of China, we have chosen not to include sources that are inaccessible from within that country.

This was a difficult decision for Google, and we would like to share the factors we considered before taking this course of action.

Although Google News China does not include non-PRC news for those within the People’s Republic of China, Google does however offer non-PRC approved websites for Chinese web searchers on its Google China search engine. Google remarks:

For Internet users in China, Google remains the only major search engine that does not censor any web pages. However, it’s clear that search results deemed to be sensitive for political or other reasons are inaccessible within China.

What does this mean? A searcher in Beijing looking for Falun information may see the search results in Google, and perhaps even a Google cached page, but Chinese government blocks prevent searchers from directly accessing those sites.

More from the Google Blog on their Google News China development and difficult choices:

Apple Joins Google, Microsoft And Others In An Open Letter Declaring Anti

Just a day after a prominent legal expert described the proposed anti-encryption Burr-Feinstein bill as unconstitutional, unenforceable and harmful, Apple has called the proposal ‘well-intentioned but ultimately unworkable.’

The description is in an open letter from the Reform Government Surveillance coalition, of which Apple is a key member, alongside companies such as Google, Dropbox, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter. The letter, addressed to the two Senators behind the proposed bill, explains why it would be harmful to the interests of both the U.S. people and American businesses …

We write to express our deep concerns about well-intentioned but ultimately unworkable policies around encryption that would weaken the very defenses we need to protect us from people who want to cause economic and physical harm.  We believe it is critical to the safety of the nation’s, and the world’s, information technology infrastructure for us all to avoid actions that will create government-mandated security vulnerabilities in our encryption systems.

The letter says that building in backdoors would ‘create opportunities for exploitation by bad actors’ and ‘push users to non-U.S. companies, in turn undermining the global competitiveness of the technology industry in the United States.’ It is also signed by three other industry coalitions.

The Burr-Feinstein bill – formally known as the Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2023 – was last week published as a draft for discussion. It still has many stages to go to before reaching the floor of the Senate, something which is unlikely to happen before the elections, with one Senator vowing to filibuster it if it does get that far.

The Reform Government Surveillance coalition has five goals, including limiting the authority of governments to collect user data, ensuring transparency in government demands for access to same and ensuring a clear legal framework with appropriate checks and balances.

You can read the full text of the letter below.

Letter to Chairman Burr and Vice-Chairman Feinstein Regarding Encryption

April 19, 2023

The Honorable Richard Burr


Select Committee on Intelligence

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20515

 The Honorable Dianne Feinstein


Select Committee on Intelligence

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Burr and Vice-Chairman Feinstein:

We write to express our deep concerns about well-intentioned but ultimately unworkable policies around encryption that would weaken the very defenses we need to protect us from people who want to cause economic and physical harm.  We believe it is critical to the safety of the nation’s, and the world’s, information technology infrastructure for us all to avoid actions that will create government-mandated security vulnerabilities in our encryption systems.

As member companies whose innovations help to drive the success and growth of the digital economy, we understand the need to protect our users’ physical safety and the safety of their most private information.   To serve both these interests, we adhere to two basic principles.    First, we respond expeditiously to legal process and emergency requests for data from government agencies. Second, we design our systems and devices to include a variety of network- and device-based features, including but not limited to strong encryption.  We do these things to protect users’ digital security in the face of threats from both criminals and governments.

Any mandatory decryption requirement, such as that included in the discussion draft of the bill that you authored, will to lead to unintended consequences.  The effect of such a requirement will force companies to prioritize government access over other considerations, including digital security.  As a result, when designing products or services, technology companies could be forced to make decisions that would create opportunities for exploitation by bad actors seeking to harm our customers and whom we all want to stop. The bill would force those providing digital communication and storage to ensure that digital data can be obtained in “intelligible” form by the government, pursuant to a court order.  This mandate would mean that when a company or user has decided to use some encryption technologies, those technologies will have to be built to allow some third party to potentially have access.  This access could, in turn, be exploited by bad actors.

It is also important to remember that such a technological mandate fails to account for the global nature of today’s technology. For example, no accessibility requirement can be limited to U.S. law enforcement; once it is required by the U.S., other governments will surely follow. In addition, the U.S. has no monopoly on these security measures.  A law passed by Congress trying to restrict the use of data security measures will not prevent their use.  It will only serve to push users to non-U.S. companies, in turn undermining the global competitiveness of the technology industry in the U.S. and resulting in more and more data being stored in other countries.


Reform Government Surveillance

Computer & Communications Industry Association

Internet Infrastructure Coalition (I2C)

The Entertainment Software Association

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Search Geek Weekly News Update; Google Social Search & More

It’s been another week in the trenches and while it may have been a little slow out there, we did have some big news with Google Social Search. Question remains, will it really be a game changer or just another vertical? And what the SEO community lacked in activity, we did come across more IR geekiness, which makes this old horse a happy camper. We’ve also got a few interesting patents and more…

I hope this edition finds you well… Enjoy!

Lead Story

When the news broke last week of Google’s Social Search going live, I thought, ‘this has got to be the big story of the week’. At the end of the day I’d say, maybe/maybe not. What we do know is that Google is once more looking to ‘get social’ and there is certainly interest. The part that isn’t as clear, much like Search/Side Wiki before it, is the level of adoption.

As a fella that has been following Google’s personalization/social trail the last few years, it was an interesting development. The burning question is always, “what effect will it have on SEO?”. There were those that said personalization would mean a massive change in what we do, that too, was a bit of an ambitious assertion.

Unless there are wholesale changes to its current implementation, I can’t see this being a game changer. Yes, it will likely present a new vertical with new opportunities, but beyond that it would seem this development will be limited in its effect on us.

Here’s a ton of coverage for you;

My own review!


Usual Suspects;

Read Write Web

Search Engine Land

The Noisy Channel


Bruce Clay

Now let’s get on with the rest of this week’s search goodiness shall we?

Buzz Bin Search Geek Central Search Patents

/end SOSG session

‘7 Days of Search and Social’ is a joint effort from Search Engine Journal and the SEO Training Dojo to bring you the latest in SEO and Social Search news. Each week (on Tuesdays) we’ll be posting the highlights of the most recent (SEO Geeks) newsletter here on Search Engine Journal.

Be sure to grab the SEJ feed for the latest or sign up to the SEO Dojo newsletter to get it straight to your inbox.

A Guide To Optimizing For Google News, Top Stories, And Discover

Optimizing sites to appear in Google News, Top Stories, and Google Discover is unique in many ways from the process of earning rankings in the 10 blue organic links.

This is because Google uses a variety of different organic SERP features to display recent or newsworthy content, each of which comes with its own set of ranking guidelines and reporting capabilities.

To make this even more complex, Google only provides dedicated reporting on some – but not all – of these News-related features through Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

This leaves some mystery about precisely where in the search results a given article might be driving traffic and impressions.

Google offers guidelines around how to appear in products like Google News and Discover.

However, these documents are often technical in nature (such as this example of Google’s article that explains technical recommendations for preventing content from being indexed on Google News without affecting its performance in regular Search).

In order to understand how your sites perform in News, Discover, and related features, it is best to analyze the performance of your own content to see what works and what doesn’t.

In this column, you’ll learn about the various Google SERP features that display recent or trending news and find tips on how to optimize and report on them.

I’ll also include some aggregated data and insights related to my own clients’ performance across these features.

Google News

Google News is a news aggregator product available both as a mobile app and by visiting chúng tôi in your browser.

Historically, publishers had to manually submit their sites for approval in Google News via the Google Publisher Center, and the approval process was notoriously difficult.

However, Google recently updated its guidelines about which sites are eligible to appear in Google News.

As of December 2023, the documentation quietly changed:

Hidden among this barrage of Publisher Center updates, this is quite a shock:

— Barry Adams 📰 (@badams) December 11, 2023

According to Google’s documentation, all publishers need to do to appear in Google News is “produce high-quality content and comply with Google News content policies.”

Complying with Google’s News content policies boils down to not producing content that is violent, hateful, dangerous, or deceptive.

Reading between the lines of these updated guidelines indicates that it is technically possible for content from any site to appear in Google News.

However, that doesn’t happen often for most sites.

Regardless of how frequently a site produces content, Google is strict in its criteria for which publishers to display in Google News.

As stated throughout much of its documentation, News sites must demonstrate good E-A-T: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

In fact, in Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, the definition of “YMYL – Your Money, Your Life” content starts with “News and current events” as the first example of the type of site that can affect a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.

This likely indicates that the criteria used to evaluate content and websites for Google News may be subject to greater scrutiny of E-A-T than that of other areas of Google Search.

This would align with other articles and videos Google has published in recent years that confirm that Google increases its focus on the authoritativeness of publishers when it comes to breaking news, misinformation, elections, and times of crisis.

Two other features Google claims to promote in its rankings of News content are “uniqueness” and a “diversity of viewpoints.”

In late 2023, Google published an article emphasizing the importance of original reporting in its ranking of news content, with the goal of providing stronger rankings for “the story that kicked everything off.”

According to Google:

“While we typically show the latest and most comprehensive version of a story in news results, we’ve made changes to our products globally to highlight articles that we identify 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.”

If your goal is to rank well in Google News, this recommendation can’t be overlooked.

There are numerous aggregator websites and websites that primarily syndicate content from sources like Reuters or the Associated Press, which may be seeing declines in organic visibility in recent years because of this issue.

The SEO visibility of one such aggregator website is shown below, with blue letters indicating Google Core Updates:

While it’s not uncommon for syndicated content to drive traffic, achieving long-term, sustainable performance in Google News requires differentiating your content by providing original reporting or offering a unique angle not found on other sites.

In fact, Google recommends that syndicated content not be indexed, although, in reality, this type of content often drives significant organic traffic for many publishers who choose to index it.







Publishing quickly is key.

Unlike traditional search, where timeliness may be more of a muted factor (depending on the query), in Google News, timeliness is everything.

This is especially true if a breaking news event takes place.

The sites that publish quickly will be the first to start accruing links and social shares, which will only amplify their performance on Google News.

Using NewsArticle structured data and News XML Sitemaps are also technical requirements for inclusion in Google News.

Google’s Publisher Center

Google offers news publishers a Publisher Center they can use to manage their Organization’s information. This includes general information about the organization, which categories are included on the site, official brand logos, feeds, and more.

If ranking in Google News is your goal, you should absolutely make use of the Publisher Center to control important information about your brand.

Visibility In Google News

While Google News aims to show a variety of viewpoints and not skew towards any end of the political spectrum, highly authoritative publications have been dominating in recent years.

Meanwhile, many fringe publications appear to have lost visibility.

Looking at the news publishers with the strongest visibility on Google over the last 12 months can shed some light on what it takes to be considered a news authority in various categories.

I pulled a list of the 100 highest traffic websites in “News and Media” from Similarweb’s list of highest traffic domains in that category.

I then cross-referenced this list with the Sistrix Visibility Index (VI) scores for these domains, which measures the overall visibility of a domain over time and assigns it a Visibility Index (VI) score based on how it ranks on Google across Sistrix’s set of 1 million tracked keywords.

These are the news domains that capture the most organic visibility on chúng tôi as of March 1, 2023, using the U.S. index:

Domain 3/1/21 VI 243.4 212.1 123.2 102.9 100.7 97.4 77.8 70.0 59.0 57.1 55.7 50.7 46.4 46.0 45.3 44.8 32.3 29.7 29.0 27.5 26.4 26.4 26.3 26.3

The sites listed above are good sources of inspiration when determining how to structure your headlines, subheadlines, URLs, taxonomy, internal linking, and other considerations that are important for ranking in Google News.

For a comprehensive rundown of how best to optimize content for Google News, I recommend John Shehata’s article on Google News optimization.

Reporting On Google News Traffic

Google News traffic can be reported on through Google Analytics as well as Search Console.

Hiding most of this for client confidentiality purposes, but being able to easily join GA & GSC data from Google News makes it much easier to analyze which headlines generate the strongest CTRs in Google News, which is a gamechanger for many clients.

— Lily Ray 😏 (@lilyraynyc) January 13, 2023

Google Top Stories

For news publishers, Google’s Top Stories carousel is a goldmine of organic traffic. According to Richard Nazarewicz, the Technical SEO Manager of the Wall Street Journal:

“The Top Stories carousel for Mobile and Desktop SERPS is the most coveted spot for fresh or breaking news to surface within the Google Search ecosystem. Every newsroom is working hard with their SEO Editors or SEO desk, if they have one, to optimize using Google Trends, competitor analysis, and  A/B testing SEO title tags (headlines) to ensure their article is surfacing in the top 3 Top Stories results.

It is important to note that currently, only AMP articles are eligible for the Top Stories carousel on mobile devices.

However, Google stated that this requirement will be dropped in conjunction with the Core Web Vitals update set to roll out in May 2023.

After that date, any article can potentially appear in the Top Stories carousel.

However, if the major publishers continue using AMP, this will make it hard for non-AMP publishers to compete with the lightning-fast load times of AMP articles.

The Top Stories carousel currently does not have a dedicated reporting section in Google Search Console or Analytics.

One way to approximate performance data from Top Stories is to navigate to the Search Appearance tab in Search Console, filter by a mobile device, and select AMP article.

It can be helpful to navigate to this view after launching AMP to see if the articles are gaining traction in Top Stories.

It’s therefore important to focus on optimizing the article headline, such as by ensuring the name of the targeted entity (person, place, or thing being written about) is stated clearly and early in the headline.

Article headlines should generally stay under 22 words for optimal performance.

Google Discover

Google Discover is a personalized feed of articles that is available to mobile users via Android devices or the Google App on iOS.

Google Discover can also be accessed by visiting the chúng tôi homepage while logged into a Google Account on a mobile device using Google Chrome.

What makes Google Discover unique from other areas of search is that the list of articles is curated before the user types anything, using other user behaviors across Google to determine what the user might find interesting.

Therefore, a user who frequents publications about dogs, or perhaps shares dog articles on social media, or uses dog-related apps on their phone, may be more likely to see dog content appearing in their Discover feeds.

Content is eligible to appear automatically in Google Discover without using any specific structured data or sitemaps.

Google does require a “compelling, high-quality image,” that is at least 1,200px wide and enabled by the following meta tag:

or by using AMP.

According to Richard Nazarewicz,

“Discover Traffic tends to average around 20-40% of all Google traffic (GSC), whereas in Europe, it is more like 40-60%. The reason it is higher in Europe as well as the Middle East is that Android has a much higher percentage of the mobile market, as opposed to the U.S., where we are predominantly using the Apple iPhone, myself included!

Google continues to say that Discover traffic should be reported as search traffic and is only split out in Google Search Console which can be exported to sheets. But it is currently not available in the API, along with the recently added Google News Tab traffic.”

Last year, Abby Hamilton published this extensive resource on what Google Discover is and how to optimize for it, including original research about which articles tend to appear there.

I conducted a similar analysis, in which I analyzed over 5,000 URLs ranking in Google Discover across a variety of Path Interactive clients over the past year.

General Observations About Google Discover:

Not every page ranking in Google Discover is a news or blog article. Our clients have seen examples of local service pages or other local resources receiving significant traffic from Google Discover.

Articles that are several years old can be resurfaced in Google Discover, even without making any changes to those articles

It appears to be the case that websites that are flagged as “adult” content may not be eligible for Google Discover, and this is not just limited to extremely adult content. Google’s Discover documentation states that content containing “nudity, sex acts, sexually suggestive activities, or sexually explicit material” violates their content guidelines, and may cause publishers not to appear in Discover.

Below are some correlations we observed related to our clients’ performance in Discover.

As always, it’s important to note that correlation is not causation, but the trends can illuminate some insights about what content tends to perform well in Discover.

Our analysis showed that there is a positive correlation between H1 word count and increased CTR, up until about 27 words, where the CTR drops dramatically.

The strongest CTR (14.39%) was found on articles using 25 words in their headlines.

According to this data, writing a headline of about 15-25 words could be a good target for Google Discover.

Looking at overall article length, the articles that received the most traffic in Google Discover ranged from about 500-1,000 words in length, with the strongest performance in the 600-700 word count range.

It’s important to remember that word count is not a ranking factor across any Google Search feature, but we thought the trend was nonetheless interesting to observe for Discover specifically:

These correlations certainly should not dictate how to write your content – focusing on the quality of the content and engaging your users is the optimal approach for appearing in Discover.

Keep an eye on how your articles perform in Discover by navigating to the Discover Performance report on the left sidebar of Google Search Console.

Your own performance data is the best source of truth to see which articles and topics your site tends to rank well for.

Google’s relatively new visual news feature, Web Stories, is also used in Google Discover, making them a great source of traffic and a good way to stay ahead of the competition.

Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, March 2023

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