By Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media
The primacy of the news release in the editorial ecosystem has once again been reaffirmed.Google adjusted its algorithms last September to include news releases among the authorized news sources used in gathering its “in the news” search results. Google’s decision had escaped notice until Reuters recently spotlighted the silent shift in search strategy: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/11/us-google-news-idUSKBN0M729A20150311
Simply put, news releases may catapult other sources to earn top ranking in searches focusing on specific companies. The impact on corporate issuers, news consumers, and media organizations promises to be profound in many ways.
Corporate issuers stand to be the major beneficiaries; companies are now able to convey their message in their own words, unfiltered and without interpretation by others. Their official statements will play a larger role in shaping subsequent conversations, based on heightened visibility.
The biggest challenge for the PR industry is to not abuse the privilege. Following rampant efforts to game the system and artificially elevate search standings, Google introduced various initiatives, i.e. “Hummingbird,” to clamp down on the outsized presence of news releases in its search results.
Google’s release rehabilitation decision provides PR and IR professionals with the opportunity for redemption.
News consumers also stand to benefit on multiple levels. Company statements are an authoritative source of information; they remain extremely popular with many audiences, including investors, product enthusiasts, and peer group professionals.
The renewed prominence of the news release provides users with a direct and simple pathway to this invaluable information resource.
“The goal of search is to get users the right answer at any one time as quickly as possible — that may mean returning an article from an established publisher or from a smaller niche publisher or indeed it might be the press release,” a Google spokeswoman told Reuters.
An unintended consequence of Google’s action is the potential diversion of traffic away from sites operated by news organizations. Industry analysts have noted that Google’s “in the news” modules are a major driver of traffic to news sites, which may see some user slippage.
The reality, however, is that most readers are anxious to get a kaleidoscope of opinions and perspectives; they will likely seek out editorial coverage from trusted third-party sources to supplement the core release.
Bottom line: the news release is more vital than ever, at the very center of the discovery process.
Click here to share this big news with your Twitter followers: http://ctt.ec/09eu9