Site   Web

January 6, 2017

Google Moves From in the News to Top Stories

Are you a 50-something, coffee drinking, watch-the-morning-news kind of consumer? A Baby Boomer who enjoys freshly-squeezed OJ while perusing the newspaper?

Or, for us millennials, maybe you would rather do a quick check of The Skimm so you know what everyone else is talking about in the break room.

Contrary to what we may have been told, not everyone gets their news from online sources. Newspapers are still read and television is still watched.

In 2016, Americans caught the headlines on television, online, via the radio, and in the newspaper, though the mediums varied across generations. Even so, the Web continues to draw readers who prefer to get their news online rather than in print—59 percent versus 26 percent, according to Pew Research.


How we ingest information may be different, but one thing we can agree on: fake news is confusing. And it may even be hurtful to true news sources that are trying to deliver actual information.

At the same time, the polarization that is taking place among Americans is causing us to take our sides and stay firmly planted there. As the New York Times points out, the problem is that we are less inclined to listen to the other side, and then we stop believing what’s real.

Google’s Move to Block Fake News Results

While fake news continues to make news (ironic, isn’t it?), Google has made a move to block fake news results from showing up during searches. The search engine is changing the ‘In the news’ section, which is visible during desktop searches, to ‘Top stories,’ a card-style design featuring an image and a link to the source of the story.

While a desktop search used to look like this:


It now looks more like this:


The idea behind the switch is to weed out what isn’t real and replace it with more accurate material.

Google’s ‘In the News’ Fooled by Fakers

Toward the end of November, Google received criticism when top results for a popular election topic turned out to be fake. When users searched ‘final election count,’ the top result from the ‘In the news’ section was a WordPress blog from ‘70 News.’

Turns out, Trump had not actually won the popular vote by almost 700,000.

And contrary to the belief that Google had been tricked, it had not. As Business Insider points out, the fooled was actually the old module, which worked to pull those so-called ‘news stories’ from around the Web and not just the sites approved by its news team.

While social media giant Facebook fought against the rise of fake news throughout the later part of 2016, Google has faced its own challenges with results that appeared to have been editorially approved, but in reality, were not.

How Google Finds Information Like a Ninja 

You might assume that when you go to search for something on the Internet, the results that come up all arrive from the same general place, meaning Google’s vast network of credible websites, blogs, and news outlets.

But Google’s search results and its news results are a bit different. Here’s what happens when we search:

1. We type it in: When the typical user types a search phrase into Google, whether that’s ‘snow storm’ or ‘election,’ the results that show up are not pulled from Google News, which requires approval and assesses for accuracy. Instead, “newsy” content is gathered from all across the Web, which means it may not be approved by Google as factual news.

2. Google looks it up: Google looks at 130 trillion individual pages for our answer and “crawls” (or follows) links from page to page, sorts by content and keeps track of it in an index.

3. We get the results: Google’s algorithms work to write formulas and programs in order to give us, the searchers, the best results. It pulls relevant documents from the index, ranks the results, and presents what it’s found to us in an eighth of a second.

And we thought Hollywood marriages were quick.

While Google does take steps to trap and get rid of spam through a combination of algorithms and manual review, fake news is sometimes more difficult to catch. In response to those no-name sites that masquerade as news, in November Google announced its plan to withhold digital ads from appearing on sites that seem to misrepresent or conceal information.

Google “News” Versus “Top Stories” 

Google has yet to release the criteria for what constitutes inclusion in the “Top news” category. However, a recent perusing of Google’s News on its website via a desktop showed stories from outlets like the New York Times, Huffington Post, and Daily Mail, which may all be considered reputable news sources.

A recent mobile search of ‘top Christmas gifts 2016’ produced these ‘Top Stories’ results:


You can see that the results had a mix of news sites like USA Today and the Mirror, as well as an article by Elle magazine. While these sites may be well-known, none of the results would actually be considered ‘news’ in the sense that they provide the goings-on of the world in general.

Google’s decision in 2014 to list more than just the traditional news sites in its search results and its announcement that it would be “pulling from all over the Web” in order to “present as diverse a range of voices as possible” seems to have backfired.

How Content Writers Should Move Forward in Light of Google’s Change

Any content writer who is worth their caffeine wants to deliver content that is relevant, and yes, truthful. But how do we accomplish that in a world filled with fake news and spammy websites?

  • Use direct links: Do not get into the habit of sharing a link to a link. Investigate for yourself and dig a little deeper so you know your source is credible.
  • Never plagiarize: This may sound like an obvious one, but you would be surprised how much content there is that sounds word-for-word like another website. Readers don’t want regurgitated material—they want your words and ideas.
  • Check your sources: Hubspot has a great blog post that talks about how to cite sources and stay away from content thievery on the Internet. Taking this step is one more way to create authoritative content in your writing.


Julia McCoy is the founder of Express Writers, a serial content marketer, and bestselling author. A dedicated self-starter since an early age, by age 13, she'd written a 200-page book and taught herself Internet marketing. At 19, Julia dropped out of college and a nursing degree to follow her passion, teach herself online writing, and start her agency. Within two years, Express Writers grew by 400 percent, and today, Julia’s agency serves more than 5,000 clients. Julia is a bestselling author, the creator of The Practical Content Strategy Certification Course, host of the Write Podcast and Twitter Chat #ContentWritingChat. She just published her second bestseller, Practical Content Strategy & Marketing, November 2017.

11 Responses to “Google Moves From in the News to Top Stories

    Great move from Google, the fake news annoyed me. The biggest problem was the fake news that comes from “trusted” companies (looking at you, CNN!). Happy to see Google improving its search engine even more.

    avatar Rankaroo says:

    Nice post, Thanks for share.

    avatar plumber kissimmee says:

    Great post! I like you post very much due to the well written article that you have shared with us through post. You are doing the great work. Keep this great work up.

    Excellent article. Fake news is a rampant problem. The amount of fake news being shared on social media is mind boggling, and contrary to what Facebook has stated, it truly does influence modern opinion. The underlying problem is that fake news sites are raking in plenty of money in ad revenue, so the catchier the title of the article, the more popular it becomes, and subsequently, the more money it makes, so why would they ever stop? It’s a vicious circle, and hopefully Google has taken the first step here toward conquering the problem.

    Very helpful post. Thumbs up!

    Google is I think, biggest platform for Internet world. As we all know Internet world is nothing if we don’t have Google.

    Very Nice Post, keep posting, I have also bookmarked your URL. I would love to read some more awesome posts…!!

    avatar Rabin says:

    I mostly depend on Google for the latest news. This move by Google to remove all fake news is a good move for people like me.

    this is the next step for innovation

    avatar joe hill12x says:

    Hi, I think you are wrong Google wants to tell us their version of the news which is the version then wants people to believe and get benefit from in a way to make a profit off it. Creating traffic and what they want the people to believe by substituting the reality with their version of a reality which is the most profitable for them. Wonder why people don’t get that. I never believe anything from Google because by the fact what I read as the Google version here on the net I can clearly see that they manipulate and just simply don’t know what they are talking about. Because of a lack of education and a willingness to manipulate to earn money with. So forget them they only use the user to get advantage from etc.

    avatar Obat Miom says:

    Great to come to your site as the information shared is good and is explained in simple words. Good stuff you are created, thank you for sharing a nice article.

    avatar Fame says:

    Is copying the whole content and reference at the end of the story also considered as stealing content?

Leave a Reply to Forum Promotion Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please leave these two fields as-is:

Protected by Invisible Defender. Showed 403 to 6,595,798 bad guys.