Google tries to differentiate press releases from other types of content and may treat them differently in search results, says Search Advocate John Mueller.
This topic will be covered during the Google Search Central SEO hangout recorded on February 19th.
SEO Michael Lewittes mentions to Mueller that he regularly sees news that cover press releases and rank above the original source.
Sometimes the original source is a reputable organization such as the Associated Press or Reuters.
Lewittes asks how news agencies can republish the same information and rank above these sources.
In response, Mueller says this may have something to do with how Google processes press releases. He advises that they may be treated differently from other types of content.
John Mueller from Google on press releases in search results
According to Müller, Google tries to identify situations in which the same article is republished and tries to treat it "appropriately" when searching.
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"It's hard to say. I think for the most part we are trying to identify situations where the exact same article is being republished and then, when searching, treat it appropriately by showing the original or the original of that we believe it originated from.
However, there are many cases when we cannot fully see this. And sometimes it's about – this content is here, but someone has written elsewhere on the same subject – and then we have those two points of view.
I don't think anything technical or specific is going on where it is – if it gets republished here we'll just take this.
But every time you have content that is syndicated, there are times when our systems fail to recognize that we should display that version instead of the other version. "
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SEO Robb Young joins the conversation and tries to elicit more information on the subject from Müller.
He clearly asks if there is a difference between a press release and other types of content. According to Google, this is the case.
According to Mueller, Müller tries to identify press releases from other content. It is understood that press releases are content that is republished on many websites.
Without being too specific, Mueller says that Google "acts accordingly" to understand that press releases are published elsewhere.
“I think, to some extent, we are probably trying to identify press releases and understand that this content, which has just been republished in many places, is acting accordingly.
But otherwise it's just content. For us, when I write a blog post or a news article, it is essentially content. "
Mueller then offers an insight into how press releases are handled in Google News.
He's not sure if Google News treats press releases any differently than search results. At one point, however, Google News was trying to understand when multiple websites were writing on the same topic.
"I don't know if Google News does anything other than web search in this regard. So that could be something that is playing in there.
I know from a book on Google a long time ago that in the early days of Google News they were definitely trying to figure out the situation where people were writing on the same topic or with the same content and trying to make sense of it this topic or article is more important than other topics.
However, web searches are mostly different HTML pages. There we find content and try to index it. "
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Hear Mueller's answer in the video below: