Google News Trend

Written by Nexcerpt on November 27th, 2010 in Patterns & News.
Tags: , , ,

I’m intrigued to watch Google News results become more bizarre with time. As Danny Sullivan tweeted recently:

   those quality news sites with great play in google news
   http://twitpic.com/38263w
   9:32 PM Nov 18th via Seesmic twhirl

Danny’s point may have been the oddly misleading headline at BetaNews: “MySpace integrates with Facebook, ending social networking wars.” (If you think the social networking wars are over, you missed a lot.) But, the trouble with Google News runs much deeper.

It’s more strange to realize that the top-ranking article is a copy of an original BetaNews item, echoed by NSBNEWS.net which “provides around the clock news, features, and commentary for the Southeast Volusia communities of New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater, Oak Hill, Samsula, Bethune Beach and Silver Sands.”

At the moment BetaNews’ Alexa rank is 3,221, and BetaNews’ Yahoo backlink count exceeds 550,000. How does a copy of their content — at a local TV station, no less — reach Google’s top slot, when BetaNews itself is not visible?

I laughed more about the World News Express claim that “Facebook will be splited in 5 years.” You may giggle over the use of “splited,” or about any journalistic source failing to spell out the number “five” — or simply the World News byline: “If you have a news,please let the world know about it!” [Sic! Yes, "a news," and no, there is no space after that comma!]

Google News has deeper source problems, though, which seem to be worsening. A friend, Mark Nepo, recently received an endorsement from Oprah Winfrey, when she included Nepo’s “The Book of Awakening” among Oprah’s Favorite Things. When searching Google News for articles, the first Google News result is simply bizarre:

   Thanksgiving Day book deals The Book of Awakening: Having the Life ...‎
   Health News California - 1 day ago
   100% Satisfaction Guaranteed Cancer survivor, poet, and
   philosopher Mark Nepo has consciously allowed life to
   move through him. The Book of Awakening is the ...

Health News California sounds like a promising source, right? Especially when reporting on Oprah biggest product endorsement of the year! But, although Google News links to an article less than ten days old, the link reports, “Sorry, the page your requested could not be found, or no longer exists.” Hmmm… the Health News California site also seems unsearchable, so perhaps we’ll see The Book of Awakening in their Latest News?

Nope. Every article relates to College football. (That alone wouldn’t disqualify it for Google News, where twenty to thirty percent or more of all articles are sports related.) Worse, every article begins with the same text:

   Health News California is the world’s source for the
   newest college football schedule updates. Come by
   often for more College Football Schedule news & information.
   Here are the latest college football schedule stories:

That is not comment spam. That’s the site’s content. Remember, I’ve clicked over from the top ranked article in Google News, regarding a major announcement by Oprah Winfrey. The article simply doesn’t exist, and the source is… unspeakably useless.

This bogus Google News source (focused on football, but inexplicably named “Health News California”?) also offers a primary link focused on Black Friday, and another on Cyber Monday, though both are simply advertisements for cell phones. Here’s the home page header:

   random articles
      * Amazon Cyber Monday deals Viewsonic N263...
      * VDOT lifts HOV lane restrictions on Vete...
      * Smartphone sales Acer Aspire One 3G 8.9-...
      * Smartphone bargains LG KM555 Unlocked Qu...
      * Cell Phone sales Blackberry Curve 8900 T...

This is a rare (but increasingly common) situation: I’m pleased to see Nexcerpt missed an article from the top of the Google News results page. We’ll try to keep it that way ;-)

One Response to “Google News Trend”

  1. [...] Matt McGee writes now, at SearchEngineLand, about “Google News Dropping Sites, Reviewing Inclusion Standards.” That’s excellent news, given recent observations here and elsewhere about declining search results quality at Google News. [...]



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