USA Today, Washington Post & Others Can't Get Their Sponsored Content Out Of Google News

Apr 7, 2015 • 8:58 am | comments (4) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

robot turtleTypically you do not want Google News to index and rank sponsored (paid for) content in the news results. But sites like USA Today, The Washington Post and many others simply cannot get their sponsored content out of Google News even if they tried.

A Google News Help thread has one of the individuals at the company asking about why they cannot remove the content from Google News.

The publisher has tried forcing Google to stop indexing and ranking the news content in Google News by using robots.txt directives and also using the meta robots attribute on the page itself. But even so, sponsored content is being ranked in Google News by Google.

Here is the most recent listing of sponsored content in Google News:

Even the top contributor in the help forum, Robert Gunnells said it is confusing and he is trying to get someone from Google to give him a direct answer on this. That was about two weeks ago and USA Today and The Washington Post is still having issues.

Robert wrote back then:

The googlebot-news operator may not work if your site is being crawled through the news sitemap. I have seen this before on other sites, especially after Google folded news indexing and regualr indexing into the same bot a few years back.

When they did this, it made it harder to keep an article out of news and still allow it to be indexed in regular google.

What sections do you have in your Publisher Center? You can use that to have specific areas of your site crawled. the easiest way to keep certain content out of news would be to create a section called news and make sure all articles that you want crawled by the news bot to be in that section.

In my opinion only, meta tags generally work much better than robots.txt limits. I have never tried using lower case only for the operator and will do some tests on that. Maybe the documentation needs to be modified and I will bring that up with the team in our next meeting. If you try using lowercase and it works, please reply here and let me know so we can add that to our records.

I will ask the rest of the team about this and get back to you as they may have more input on this.

Nope, nothing back from Google News and the sponsored content is still in Google News.

Trust me, Google doesn't want this content in the Google News index either. So I am surprised this is still going on, even with big brand publishers.

Forum discussion at Google News Help.

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