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When Google decides to publish a certain article or blog it expects that it should be completely transparent, the company explains what that means in practice.
Google details in a blog post how it prioritizes publishers based on the degree of transparency they display in the top stories carousel and Google News.
By maintaining transparency, visitors can learn more about the publication and the authors of the news they receive.
For Google, transparency contributes to judging whether a news story is trustworthy and authoritative.
The following elements are used by Google to determine the level of transparency on a publisher’s site: Date of publication, Bylines of authors, Bios of the authors, Contact details, and a brief description of the publisher, company, or network.
According to Google, this is information that a regular person might find useful if they wanted to judge the credibility of a site.
Google news says this meets academic research standards, journalism standards, and user testing.
Google’s approach to evaluating transparency is guided by the following principles: In some regions and countries, Google acknowledges that naming journalists can be very risky.
Distinctive editorial practices, such as not including bylines in articles, won’t affect the credibility of an otherwise trustworthy source.
Google aims to give large and small sites with complex UI’s equal footing.
“Our systems are designed to use these guiding principles when assessing if a site adheres to our transparency policy.”
Further, Google explains how it uses these principles to assess transparency at the site level and article level.
For articles, Google looks for information that helps users quickly gain context about the story or the journalist who wrote it.
By including bylines that link to bio pages, publication dates, and labels that identify the article type, publishers can send Google these signals.
When it comes to a website, Google searches for information that helps visitors understand the purpose, the organization, and the kind of information they can expect to find.
There are several ways to communicate that information to Google, such as:
The mission statement, Standards and policies for editorial content, Staff bios and information for both editorial and business staff, Contact information that is not generic, Other information about the organization, such as its owners and/or funders (for example, state sponsorship, relationship to political parties and PACs).
Toward the end of its explainer, Google notes that it wishes to evolve these policies with consideration for local norms and editorial philosophies:
“Transparency requires a thoughtful approach that is attuned to differences in local norms, editorial philosophies, and resources, as well as being dynamic and reflective of evolving standards. We hope our commitment here and to all our news policies helps people around the world stay better informed about the news, and helps news sources be recognized for their work.”