Google: Journalistic Awards Are Not A Direct Search Ranking Signal

Jul 20, 2023 - 7:31 am 3 by

Journalists Holding Award Google Logo

As you may remember, Google has a news topic authority ranking system, which has been around for a while but Google recently disclosed to the public. Danny Sullivan, Google's Search Liaison, clarified on Twitter that some of the "signals" listed in its document are not "direct signals" but rather ways for you to "self-assess if a source has built a good reputation."

Here is what Google listed as "most prominent signals" for how topic authority works:

  • How notable a source is for a topic or location: Google's systems understand publications that seem especially relevant to topics or locations. "For example, they can tell that people looking for news on Nashville high school football often turn to a publication like The Tennessean for local coverage," Google wrote.
  • Influence and original reporting: Google's system looks at how original reporting, the example Gogoel said is if the publisher that first broke a story and is cited by other publishers to understand how a publication is influential and authoritative on a topic.
  • Source reputation: Google's system also looks at a source’s history of high-quality reporting, or recommendations from expert sources, such as professional societies. For example, a publication’s history doing original reporting or their journalistic awards are strong evidence of positive reputation for news websites," Google explained.

So an SEO asked, does it help to add the awards the journalists won on the about us page or should you put it somewhere else. Danny Sullivan from Google responded that "It's not a direct signal." So what is it? "It's a way to self-assess if a source has built a good reputation," he explained. "If they have, perhaps they've earned awards. That gives them feedback they're doing well and may align with our separate signals that try to understand reputation," Sullivan goes on to explain.

Here are those tweets in context:

So putting awards on your website won't necessarily help you rank better.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

 

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