The “Top Stories” feature which shows news articles for certain search items, is also going to sport some new changes. The company is going to drop the requirement that news articles be written in the AMP format, something Google has been pushing for quite some time. Instead, any article that meets the new page experience criteria set by Google will be eligible to appear there.
The new formula of judging and ranking webpages could pose some risks for the internet if websites decide to follow these certain criteria to be favored on Google Chrome above other web browsers. Right now, the metrics the Google Team has announced seem harmless but much remains to be seen.
Publishers will have to look out for these new changes too. News sites are always fighting for a spot in the coveted “Top Stories” section, and right now the criteria for their website appearing there was simply adherence to Google’s News Content policies, and the AMP format. This will obviously change soon and many publishers will have to race the clock to ensure they don’t lose their rankings.
This can be a cause for controversy, as Google is known for publishing objectively false and misleading content in the past. The news stories that appear on Google should be held up to some sort of journalistic standards. Their past rankings of news articles have already caused quite a backlash, and this move may intensify that negative image.
Google has some tools that may help web developers who are scrambling to make sure their websites are ready to face the music when the time comes. But this may not be as urgent as it seems. It could be until the end of the year before Google experiments with these metrics and any results can be gauged.
Of course, this means that the changes won’t come into effect until after the upcoming US presidential election. Google has denied that the political decisions of the country had anything to do with the timing of these changes; instead, they wanted to ensure that web developers and content developers had enough time to understand and implement the changes needed.
Google has clarified that these metrics alone will not completely affect the ranking of a webpage, but supplement the current metrics to help the algorithm around. But there’s no way to know what these changes entail exactly until they’re actually implemented.
So the SEO industry, always trying to figure out how to beat the algorithm and its lightning-fast changes, won’t be able to do anything until the changes are rolled out and tested. For now, the best plan is to just wait and see.