Google, on December 9th, has updated the news performance report in Google Search Console “to make it more accurate,” the company said. This update may result in a drop in the number of impressions you’d normally expect to see in this report.
It is important to note that this is just a reporting change and the reduction in impressions that you may see on or after December 9th is likely not related to any change in your site’s positions. Google said these reporting changes “don’t reflect any changes in user behavior on the Google News app or news.google.com.”
What Google wrote. Google wrote “Google has recently updated its logging system for Google News to make it more accurate. You may notice a reduction in the number of impressions for your site in the performance report for Google News. These improvements are to ensure you receive the most accurate report impressions from Google News via Search Console and don’t reflect any changes in user behavior on the Google News app or news.google.com.”
This specifically impacts the Google News performance report in Google Search Console, which is a report Google added in January 2021.
News performance report. The Google News performance report in Google Search Console shows you clicks, impressions and click-through-rates for your performance on Google News from news.google.com, and from the Google News app on Android and iOS.
Google said it helps news publishers answer questions such as:
- How many times have my articles appeared to users in Google News?
- Which articles performed well in Google News?
- How does user behavior vary by country?
You can segment the traffic by page, country, device and data, and filter the reports by date range and other metrics.
What this report is not. This does not include the “News” tab in Google Search, which is covered in the performance report for search, filtered to the news search type – a report Google launched in July 2020 in Search Console.
There is a new help document on this report where you can learn more.
Timing. The timing of this update might not be the best for news publishers that also publish product reviews, maybe like the Wire Cutter. There is currently a December 2021 Google product reviews update rolling out this month. So it may make it harder for some publishers that are in Google News to track the impact.
Why we care. Make sure that when you report on your Google News traffic using Google Search Console’s performance report that you annotate the December 9th reporting update. You should correlate those reporting changes you see in Search Console with third party tracking and analytics tool. And more importantly, communicate this change to your clients or those you report to.
About The Author
Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.