Google is giving brand messaging a boost.
A recent change in the company’s news algorithm is allowing press releases and corporate statements to move up the ranks in Google’s News searches. The links that previously appeared in these searches came only from approved news sites.
Experts are saying that this could not only pose a threat to news organizations relying on Google’s traffic, but could also potentially mislead those who are seeking news about a particular company. (Not that company statements would ever put a rosy spin on negative news or anything.)
According to Huffington Post, a Google spokeswoman in September addressed the change with the following statement:
The goal of search is to get users the right answer at any one time as quickly as possible—that may mean returning an article from an established publisher or from a smaller niche publisher or indeed it might be a press release.
Google will not accept payment for companies to have press releases top Google News searches.
Chartbeat’s chief data scientist Josh Schwartz told Huffington Post the move could potentially confuse readers by directing them away from objective news reports and toward press releases. He also said companies are likely to use SEO to lift their rankings in Google News listings.