News websites get lots of love from Google. If they are a Google News site, their articles show up in search for 72hrs or so. If they are a major publisher, they get the benefit of AMP (accelerated mobile pages). Many news websites rank very highly in search. I do not see how it would be “easy” for Google to single them out, but then again they already single them out for so many other things.
Did Google devalue links from news sites?
Recently a small article I had placed on a client site hit it big; CNN mentioned the article. Thankfully, they linked to the content. Actually, they linked to 3 pages on the client domain. I thought that I had hit the SEO powerball jackpot, and then, nothing happened.
Since then I have tracked multiple other sites which may not have received a boost either.
Of course, measuring this kind of thing is practically impossible. But, I have had plenty of other pieces of content referenced, and prior to 2016, the notice was very apparent in short order.
We had done everything right. Unique content, placed online, natural (surprise) link. I fervently checked rankings every 30 minutes for days. Then weeks. After 3 weeks, I was a little irritated. Why hast thou forsaken me, Google Gods?! We had a link from CNN! Additionally, the CNN article hit hundreds of other sites. Many news websites (to their own disadvantage) strip out links. Anyways, after the dust settled, we had around 33 news websites linking to the target site.
Would Google do this?
Honestly, news links are not a big target of mine. They are very easy to manipulate 2 ways.
- Bribe a journalist. This is easy. I know plenty of people who I can slip $1500 to and have a link practically anywhere in the next few days.
- Press releases. Most people in the “SEO community” think these died 15 years ago, but plenty of SEO agencies are still running them. Incidentally, I see these pop up often for sites in niches I track that I’ve never heard of. So, people are getting news links for $300. In tough niches, it takes much, much, much more to rank than sending out a $300 PR.
I have no idea if Google has done this. Who knows. I care, but I don’t at the same time. Not knowing is half the fun.
As pointed out above, they could, and I can see why they would. If they did, I’m sure we’ll find out in a year or two.
If you have any insight on this please feel free to comment below.