[Update: Following the publication of this article, some website owners are saying that their sites are being restored to GNews.]
[Original article:] If you check Google News section you might notice only large, major media conglomerates are now listed. Smaller niche sites are no longer showing new content since January 6th, 2018, and even many medium sized sites are affected, too. There is no rhyme or reason behind the kind of sites affected, which includes tech, lifestyle, gaming, music, and general news websites.
Seroundtable noted that the Google News publishing forum sees tons of topics made by media website publishers and administrators, both local and international, asking why their site was removed from GNews without notice. Most haven’t received any legitimate responses about the removal, even though some of them have been running websites for nearly a decade.
One website owner, Robby Sabo, was livid at Google removing their site, elitesportsny.com, from GNews, writing…
“Elite Sports NY, elitesportsny.com, has been around since March of 2015. From the get-go, our ONLY priority was to maintain a Google-friendly platform filled with AP style and credentialed journalists. And guess what? We ranked VERY WELL via Google News and within the Google AMP Carousel.
“At the moment, we employ a couple New York Giants beat writers who own full home game and practice credentials. We possess partial home-game and practice creds with the Knicks. Full credentials with New York City FC and the Triple-A affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders (of the New York Yankees).
“Recently, I checked the Google News publishing center and noticed our site showed a “removed/rejected” notice after more than 2.5 years in Google News while prominently on Google AMP and the Top Stories Desktop section.
“[…] Honestly, I’m stunned. We are regularly picked up by Bleacher Report and SB Nation, yet aren’t good enough for Google News now.”
One website owner in a separate thread on the forums did state that they were sent the following message from the Google News Team.
If you’re unable to read the screen capture, the message states…
“We periodically review news sources to ensure Google News Offers an excellent experience for our users. When we reviewed your site, found that we can no longer include it in Google News at this time.
“We currently only include articles from sources that follow our Google News inclusion guidelines.
“Your site is scheduled to be removed from Google News for a period of at least 60 days. After this 60-day period has elapsed, you can re-apply for inclusion in Google News provided your site meets our guidelines. We appreciate your assistance in this matter.
“Please note that you’ll still be able to find your site in Google Web Search and other Google services.”
However, not everyone received that letter and not everyone was restricted from resubmitting their site for inclusion into the GNews feed from the news publishing backend tool. In fact, a few of the threads mention that they’re still able to resubmit their site for consideration repeatedly without restrictions. Usually when Google puts the 60-day restriction on your site, you’re unable to resubmit it for consideration until the 60 days elapse, as mentioned in the letter. In this case, there is no restriction, so some publishers are confused about what’s happening.
It’s not just small international sites and hobbyist or alternative news media outlets affected by this. Some recognized gaming sites have been removed as well, including Gamerant.com. The owner posted in the Google News Help Forum about the site being removed, and about not receiving a notice as to why the site was removed.
If you check the Google News feed you’ll note that Gamerant.com was removed after January 6th, 2018 even though their site continues to produce content even at this very moment.
Gamerant.com isn’t alone, either. Plenty of others have posted that after January 6th their site stopped being crawled by Google’s news bot, meaning that only larger sites have been able to have their content featured on GNews, such as Washington Post, Gizmodo, Buzzfeed, and other major news organizations.
Smaller and mid-tier sites, like GameRanx.com, were affected. Newer content no longer shows up in the GNews feeds.
Despite being a rather popular enthusiast site, DualShockers.com wasn’t lucky enough to escape Google’s wrath. Even though the site produces a lot of original news, they were also axed from Google News on January 6th, 2018.
PSU.com was also affected, despite being a fairly large website covering PlayStation news.
One of the more surprising sites culled from GNews is WCCFTech.com, which is a fairly large tech website that has been around for years. So this isn’t just targeting nascent sites or niche sites, either.
If you were hoping other sites like Kotaku or Polygon were affected, you’re fresh out of luck. Both sites are still being crawled right down to the minute, as evidenced with the GNews feed.
Other sites like GamingBolt.com also managed to escape Google’s banhammer, along with Twinfinite.net, Eurogamer.net, Tom’s Hardware, and HardcoreGamer.com, to name a few.
The exact logic behind why some sites are affected and others aren’t hasn’t been disclosed, and so far there have been no proper answers provided by Google as to why some sites are left alone while others are being excised from the news feeds.
Some speculate that Google is “cleaning” up the GNews feeds to only focus on sites with authority, but then one would have to question when Twinfinite gained more authority over WCCFTech? Or how GamingBolt became a higher authority site than PSU?
For now, many publishers and website owners are left completely in the dark as to the reasons why this happened and whether there will be a remedy for it. Perhaps this is just the new landscape Google has created to weed out certain sites and dwindle down on the kind of sources people will have access to when it comes to sifting through news, and maybe some sites are stuck in Google’s digital gulag?
[Update:] According to a post on the forums from Valerie Streit, a manager of creative insights at YouTube and Google, this appears to be a technical issue that Google encountered and they’re working to get it fixed, writing…
“[…] we apologize for the issue that resulted in a number of sites being delisted from Google News. This was an unintentional technical issue and not something we did manually. We are working hard to identify the sites that were incorrectly affected and will get them back in as soon as we possibly can.”
[Update #2:] Some website owners and publishers are reporting that their sites are being restored to the GNews section. If your site was affected, be sure to use the form to inquire about an ETA for your site being returned to GNews.