Duncan Riley> Perhaps to the delight of some in the Blogosphere, The Blog Herald has been dumped from Google News for the display of “non-news-related” material, in particular, the occasional posts of advice, tips and how-to’s in relation to blogging that have been a feature of the site from Day 1.
I was advised of the move of April 19 and the last post appeared on Google News on Anzac Day, April 25.
In the email, the Google News team writes
We are writing to inform you that we are currently unable to include www.blogherald.com in Google News because your site displays original news content mixed with non-news-related material. Our system would best be able to crawl your site’s original content if it were displayed separately. We apologize for this limitation of our system. If you’re able to make changes to allow us to crawl your content, please let us know and we will be happy to review your site again for inclusion in Google News.
Now, it would be natural for me to go off half-cocked and attack Google for their decision, but I won’t and I don’t. I fully understand where they are coming from in relation to keeping their content pure, and indeed I initially welcomed their option to provide an alternative method to provide news to their service.
But I have two problems.
The first is that the Google News team, despite numerous emails first offering the two category pages that provide only news (in the news and corporate) for their spider, and a later email offering a whole new category (forgooglenews) and page for them to spider, to date I am yet to receive any response, so I can only presume that the offer was insencere.
Secondly, whilst I have no problem per se with their “news only” policy, it is being applied haphazardly and discriminately that leads me to believe, particularly given recent mentions of this site as not, in the opinions of some, providing news, that the Blog Herald was singled out despite alternative, corporate owned sites remaining on the service dishing out tips and other non-news related stories into and for Google News. Check out the news listings for WebProNews for example located here. Sure, lots of news, but far more informative, tips and how-to’s than this humble blog. Pages from WebProNews on Google News include “How The Most Highly Visited Blogs Earn Money” and “Successful Link Development Tips And Guidelines” to name but a few. Now please don’t get me wrong, I was a subscriber for many years of WebProNews emails, I am still a fairly regular reader and I enjoy alot of the stuff they feature, even if it seems that most of it these days isn’t original to that site, but if its good enough for me why shouldn’t the same rules be applied to WebProNews? I’m sure given the time and inclination I could probably also find plenty of other examples.
But what now?
Well to be honest I’ve been overly cautious in the last few weeks because of this very issue, indeed I suspected it may be coming after being singled out by one particular high profile blogger. As a result the how-to’s, tidbits and other things the many readers enjoy have been few and far between as I’ve tried to warn off what I knew, deep down, would most likely happen, and indeed did. Traffic in the last two weeks has been suffering as a result. Google News provides only 3500-4000 pages views a month from the regular 250,000-300,000, so in terms of traffic it doesn’t provide huge numbers, and the potential loss of views from other sources far outweighs the loss of Google News. The offer still remains open to Google News in terms of providing filter content, if they ever bother reading or replying to one of my emails, but from now on, stuff caution, expect to see more informative, original content, advice and editorial. I’m also looking at ways of encouraging further contributors through some revenue sharing to bring a wider variety of news to the site and to drive future growth from the current level. So, I hope you all enjoy the ride, and I promise not to return to a slave of the corporate search engine news machine any time again soon.