Charged: “Particularly as Facebook traffic began cratering, leaving publishers scrambling to find new sources of traffic. What’s never really discussed, however, is how those platforms work, and how news sources end up getting mountains of traffic from them, let alone approved for them in the first place. Google News is one of the biggest news platforms on the internet, and you’re seeing it almost every day even if you don’t know it. Any time you search for a newsworthy term like “iPhone” you’ll get a carousel of top news about the term at the top of the page, right above every other result, which is visually distinct with images and logos to draw you in. But, how does one actually appear in the carousel? As I’ve found out, it’s non-trivial.
Well, it’s not easy. Google doesn’t want you to know, and it doesn’t disclose how it works, even to the publishers trying to use it. Not only does this carousel drive a disgusting amount of traffic, how it actually works on the back-end is a mysterious process with hidden rules, gotchas and changing goal posts, designed only to allow the largest, well-known of publishers in. If you are whitelisted, you’ll receive an avalanche of traffic, special search-related features, and priority in the algorithm as a result. If you’re not, good luck fighting it out with all the other small sites…”