In a recent update to the Search Engine Land blog, Chris Sherman announced that Google will be mingling the latest news headlines into the main body of search engine results; wherever searches appear relevant to the news. According to Marissa Mayer, VP of search products at Google, “this allows us to rank news according to relevance in search results rather than at top of the page.” The Google update will be happening over the next couple of days with a planned completion of the role-out on Saturday. It was not noted whether a organic algorithmic update would also take place but I highly doubt it since they will have enough on their hands with this change alone.
So what will the ramifications of this Google update be? At this time there are no screenshots of how the news headlines will be combined into the results so I can only speculate. That said, I see this change as potentially HUGE. Just consider the following Pros and Cons:
- Having and maintaining a business blog will have additional benefits.
- Blogs that have been accepted by Google News as a news resource will now have the potential to attain a massive increase in traffic when they appear in search engine results.
- There will now be even more benefit to writing quality blog posts that are on the cutting edge of news.
- Google will most definitely make friends with the Press conglomerates by providing extra exposure. This strengthening of ties may open up different sources of media-rich content for Google’s users.
- Having and maintaining a business blog will be more important than ever. Why is this a con? Maintaining an active blog requires significant resources.
- Search result pages may now be longer and force users to scroll farther down to see the complete top 10 listings. As a result, having top 5 rankings will become even more important.
- The future potential for news SPAM will increase astronomically. After all, these sought after rankings will be prime targets for spammers that don’t mind creating false news to generate clicks.
How Will Google Determine Which Headlines to Use?
At the beginning I expect it will be a rigorous algorithm devoted to news sources with only the highest credibility ratings in order to all but remove the possibility of SPAM or false news. Whether these sources will be restricted to only major news outlets (i.e. CNN, BBC, etc.) remains to be seen but I imagine they will cast a slightly wider net to include indisputable authority blogs.
Is this Good or Bad for Competing Search Engines?
It remains to be seen how this convergence of news with search results will appear, however, these changes could be positive for competing search engines. For example, if the first page of search results appear to be cluttered it may send searchers to other search engines for cleaner results. That said, if Google pulls off this integration flawlessly it may only increase the gap between the major search engine market shares.
I am waiting with baited breath to see how this Google update turns out. I have little doubt this change will send some positive and negative ripples throughout the search community but at the same time mingling news with search results is an inevitable step forward.