Google has made a change in how it chooses to display search results with the news that press releases and company statements can now be shown among news links. Previously, only new stories from trusted media organisations appeared in this section on the main search page.
In a move designed to ensure that people get the right answers at any one time as quickly as possible, this adjustment will have consequences for both news organisations and the companies themselves. Businesses and organisations now understand that current press releases will now be shown among news links from newspapers and media stations so they must bear that in mind when updating the market on any topic.
Reuters has reported how this change has already impacted some well-known brands.
“Recent examples of companies whose announcements topped the “in the news” section include Franco-Dutch SIM card maker Gemalto.
Last month, Gemalto confirmed reports it had likely been the victim of hacking by U.S. and British spies. The story garnered wide media attention but when users did a Google search for the word “Gemalto,” the first “in the news” listing was a Gemalto statement, which played down the impact of the hacking.
Earlier this week, on the day Apple launched its new watch, a link to a promotional site for the product topped the “in the news” selection.”
On the other hand, news organisations now face a little extra competition for readers from what would be traditionally considered non-news sources. Google has also confirmed that they do not get paid for including press releases on the news lists.
While it might be tempting to simply start to prepare more press releases than usual in an attempt to increase rankings, we expect this change will be finely tuned and be directly related to freshness or how recent the story was released. From a content development and SEO perspective, the best-practice advice remains the same. Organisations must focus on providing original content that is useful to their target audience and not just simply try to make a quick gain on the rankings by releasing overly-optimised materials. Google has already warned against optimising press releases in recent years and this advice still stands.