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Publishers React to the Latest Google News App Updates

An upcoming change to the Google News app could be a big win for digital publishers.

As part of Google’s Page Experience Update, the company recently announced that it’s eliminating the requirement that publishers use AMP framework to be included in Google News. That change has the potential to make the Google News app much more attractive to digital publishers.

Since its debut, the Google News app has grown to become one of the top destinations for people around the globe to get their news and information. Google’s decision to improve its support for web content, and display both AMP and non-AMP content globally, means it will no longer render articles via RSS feeds. Instead, Google News readers will soon be routed to publishers’ articles on their own websites.

That increase in website traffic could lead to a big payday for publishers with on-site advertising programs in place.

Although Google’s main page experience rollout was completed in early September, updates to the Google News app are just beginning to roll out now.

Google’s decision to eliminate the requirement that publishers use AMP framework and no longer render articles via RSS feeds is part of a broader move to make its Google News products more attractive for publishers. Tracking and performance reports in Google Search Console should not be impacted by the change. Google recently sent an email to publishers that highlighted the updates to its Google News product, assuring publishers that no action would be required to enable the new features.

Not every digital publication has been eager to adopt AMP, for various reasons, and this new rollout is a sign that Google wants to bring those publishers back into its fold. Publishers who had been prevented from participating in the Google News app previously should now be able to get their content onto the platform.

In the coming weeks, Google will stop showing the AMP badge icon to indicate AMP content. However, for those digital publishers that found AMP useful, Google’s AMP team has built an AMP page experience guide with tailored advice on how to optimize AMP pages.

Changes to the Top Stories Carousel

According to a recent post on Google Search Central, digital publishers will no longer be required to use AMP format to appear in the Top Stories carousel. Any page will now be eligible to appear in the Top Stories carousel, regardless of its Core Web Vitals score or page experience status.

This is an important change, given that optimizing websites to appear in Google News and the Top Stories carousel had previously been a high priority for many digital publishers. The Top Stories carousel can be a goldmine for organic traffic. In newsrooms across the country, SEO editors have spent years working on ways to ensure their content appeared in these carousels. Now, many of the rules and assumptions about how to ensure top billing in the Top Stories carousel have changed, and SEO editors will have to adapt their strategies.

Publisher Center Functionality

Publishers that use the tools in Google’s Publisher Center should be aware that the company is preparing to remove some Publisher Center features. The functionalities most likely to be impacted involve feed-based article rendering, custom analytics tracking IDs, third-party tracking pixels, and custom RSS styling.

Updates to Google’s Publisher Center could go into effect as early as November 2021.

Key Takeaways

  • AMP framework will no longer be a requirement to be included in Google News.
  • Google News will no longer render article text via RSS feeds.
  • Google is removing some functionality from its Publisher Center.

Google anticipates that its Page Experience Update will be completed in the coming weeks. For more details on all aspects of the Page Experience Update, read Google’s Core Web Vitals & Page Experience FAQs.