Update your news article online? Not if Google News has anything to do with it.

The Google News Blog has posted on some truths and myths about its ranking systems (via Cowbite) – and this one caught my eye:

Updating an article after posting it will create problems with Google News TRUE
Currently, the Google News crawler only visits each article URL once. If you make updates to the article after we’ve crawled it, they won’t be reflected on our site. We hope that soon we’ll have the ability to re-crawl your articles to make sure we have the latest version displayed on our site, but for now this is not the case.”

In other words, the commercial pressure here is not to update a single article, but to instead create new ones with the new information (there is already an imperative here in that this increases your page count stats).

I’m not sure if this is a bad thing (errors go uncorrected?) or good (twitter-style newsrivers?).

Also worth noting:

Articles that are just images or video won’t be included TRUE
While we will include articles that contain multimedia content, if our crawler cannot find accompanying text content, it won’t include the article. The bottom line here is that our crawler is looking for text articles, so if some of your content isn’t text-based, it won’t be included in Google News. In the meantime, we’re working to find ways to add more multimedia content such as our recent integration with video news from YouTube.

That’s pretty much common knowledge where I come from, but worth spelling out from the people themselves. Video is not all its cracked up to be.

6 thoughts on “Update your news article online? Not if Google News has anything to do with it.

  1. Ian Douglas

    Vital as aggregators are, it’s still worth creating content (video, for example) that will grab and inform the visitors to the pages. Google News will catch up, I’m sure.

  2. David North

    I’m surprised that Google News doesn’t use a bespoke sitemap service just for news articles here (unless I’ve missed it). Just add a lastmodified attribute to a story and Google would know straight away the story is updated.

  3. Allison White

    Well, that’s inconvienent, isn’t it? I guess any significant updates or changes to an article should just be put into a separate article.

    I’ve always thought that video and images should be accompanied by a short amount of text to give some context. How many people just jump into a video without reading the background or a synopsis of it?

  4. Pingback: links for 2008-04-10 « David Black

  5. Pete Ashton

    This might be too revolutionary, but here’s a solution. Think Wikipedia

    Newspaper publishes “stub” article of breaking news. Google indexes it.

    Newspaper updates article under a new URL. Google indexes new page.

    Old URL redirects to new URL, meaning any links to old URL still work.

    New URL has “history” link to previous versions so readers can see how the story evolved.


  6. paulbradshaw Post author

    @Pete, great idea – in a sense that’s what my news diamond proposes – although the stub is on Twitter, the draft on a blog, and article on website – all pointing to each other. But I love the idea of a stub inviting contribution.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.