While European publishers have a rather contentious relationship with Google News, U.S. publishers have no such qualms and are more than happy to be indexed by the search giant’s crawlers. And starting today with the launch of the Google News Publisher Center, those publishers will get a bit more control over how Google’s robots see their sites.
Until now, publishers pretty much had to hope that Google would pick up on how they structure their sites, for example (though with sitemaps, they already get some control over what Google indexes). Starting today, they can specifically label different sections of their site (Politics, Technology, Travel, etc.) from the Publisher Center’s web interface, which will make it easier for Google to classify their articles for Google News. They can also use this new tool to alert Google of new sections they add to their site for special occasions like elections or major sporting events.
“Think of the Publisher Center as our record of your news source information,” Google writes in its FAQ for the new service. “Keeping your site’s information current helps both Google News users and publishers.”
Content owners can also use the Publisher Center to update some basic facts about their sites. This includes changing the site’s name or making sure it’s labeled correctly (Blog, Satire, Opinion, etc.).
All of this may seem like pretty straightforward stuff to update, but the reality today is that when Google doesn’t get something right, there are very few ways for a publisher to correct anything. It’s not like you can pick up the phone and call Google’s friendly reps to have them fix things for you. With this update, publishers get at least a bit of control over how their content appears in Google News.
For now, the Publisher Center is only available for publishers based in the U.S., but Google says it plans to expand it to other countries soon. The company also notes that it will add more features over time.