With its Panda update, Google effectively took care of the problem of “content farms” that produced cheap articles for the sole purpose of search engine ranking. Now, it appears poised to do the same when it comes to sponsored content on Google News.
Forbes.com has an article about search engine’s recent warning to publishers to keep sponsored content out of Google News.
“Google News is not a marketing service, and we consider articles that employ these types of promotional tactics to be in violation of our quality guidelines,” wrote Google Director of News and Social Products Richard Gingras in a blog post.
Over the past several years, sponsored content has become a particularly effective revenue source for more traditional publications, such as newspapers. Selling display ads has proven to be an insufficient way to earn revenue online, and sponsored articles have helped make up the difference.
These articles are sometimes well disguised as regular news pieces, so it’s easy to understand Google’s concern. The search engine wants its News feature to be a source of real news — free from marketing messages users get everywhere else on the Internet.
If Google proceeds with this approach, it could be another significant blow to the publishing industry. And while content marketing is here to stay, using sponsored article writing may no longer be a viable option.