So, turns out Google quietly introduced a new algorithm update recently (most likely Friday), that is targeted at fake news/propaganda sites operating from outside US. The new rules are introduced to ban foreign (non American) news sites that write about US local topics, and at the same time, mask their country of origin from appearing in the popular Google News service.
Here’s what the updated Google News guidelines says:
Do not misrepresent yourself or your purpose.
Sites included in Google News must not misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about their ownership or primary purpose, or engage in coordinated activity to mislead users. This includes, but isn’t limited to, sites that misrepresent or conceal their country of origin or are directed at users in another country under false premises.
What’s important here is the country of origin. Apparently, many websites make use of Google News traffic (which is huge) by posting articles relating to US local news, while actually being outside of the country, with no local connections. As often noted, many of these websites support propagandas and spread mis-information using US services. Google wants to fix this issue.
Take away: If you run a website that’s listed on Google News and write about US local news/related topics, it is recommended that you make all effort not to misrepresent your location and identity, by sharing the whereabouts.