Are Big Brand Publishers Abusing Google News?

Nov 17, 2011 • 8:36 am | comments (5) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google NewsA WebmasterWorld and Google News Help thread has discussion around Google News being gamed by big brand publishers and media outlets.

The discussion kind of went off on a tangent of big brands having an unfair advantage, but the core of the discussion was originally around how these big brands are abusing their clout.

Shatner explained:

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.

Many have said they have seen this also but many said they are unsure.

Then senior member, wheel, steered the discussion into the brand debate:

First, kudos to any 'big brand' that has an SEO on hand that's bright enough to do this. I expect that most companies that qualify as a big brand are simply to stuck in beauracracy to do anything even close to this. If they've got someone kicking butt on this, give the SEO a raise.

Secondly, the only thing stopping any one of us from doing the very same thing is nothing other than having Google evaluate us as a brand.

Rather than complaining that 'brands' or some other identifiable trait of your competitors have an edge, don't we see the opportunity to do the same thing ourselves?

Even if these media outlets do well in Google News, if they abuse it, they should be treated with less authority.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and Google News Help.

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11/17/2011 05:02 pm

If they abused it they should be reporting unless they sell widgets... then it could be the "most uniquely relevant for the searcher" .. DO THEY SELL WIDGETS?


11/17/2011 05:35 pm

It's a bit ironic for anyone doing SEO to complain about anyone gaming anything. I mean what they are essentially doing is just gaining the maximum exposure within the rules of the system. Sounds pretty much like SEO to me. We take a website which is naturally ranked in one position then adjust it within the rules of the system to get a better position. Also if Google news has such an obvious flaw, then maybe the theme of the story should be "Google news has massive flaw" rather than "Brands try to get more exposure".

Brandon Fritz

11/17/2011 06:46 pm

I run SEO for TMZ, and I see this happen on a daily basis with some large publishers.  Google News is not always the best at picking which sites to show.  Sometimes it feels authority/recent driven as opposed to who broke the story (especially if you're a little guy).   This is where these publishers have a chance to clean up -- it's kind of like an eHow tactic, but in Google News instead. 


11/17/2011 07:18 pm

Dailymirror in the UK is really good at this, they 301 URLs and change title tags and pretty much dominate most news topics for long hours. 


11/21/2011 05:30 am

Hell, even their fake news (they just ran a completely made-up story about Arsene Wenger retiring from Arsenal) will show up first.

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