As soon as an original news report is published online, other media organizations post a similar article based on the same news/content. These reports often manage to grab as much traffic as the original report and sometimes even more.
Publishers have complained about this for years. The search engine giant Google has come under increased criticism, mainly because of its algorithms that cause the online traffic to plummet resulting in the decline of the industry.
Google addressed the situation in an announcement on Thursday, detailing how they’ve made changes to their algorithm to promote “original reporting”. Not only will this promote original reporting in terms of ranking, but it will also give original reports the top spot in Google’s search results for longer.
Richard Gingras, Google’s vice president of news explained some of the changes saying that the update to the search engine’s guidelines will help it better recognize original reports and make them more visible to the internet. He said that stories that are critically important and labor-intensive — requiring experienced investigative skills, for example — would be promoted.
This will help readers find the post that started it all and publishers will also have their original reports more widely seen. However, it still remains to be seen how this change will affect smaller media websites and newspapers who are born out of imitative content.
Online tech news site TechCrunch points out that implementing such a change in algorithm is going to be complicated as it is hard to define what “original content” is. Many outlets that recycle reports often have exclusives or add in their own information, a complexity that the algorithm might have a tough time going through.
The update has only rolled out to Google Search as of yet and Google News and Google Discover will follow shortly.