What five news SEO experts think of Google's new "Full Coverage" feature in mobile search results
30 second summary:
- Google recently introduced the "Full Coverage" feature for mobile SERPs
- Will this impact SEO traffic for news sites, SEO best practices, and content strategies?
- In-house SEOs from the LA Times, the New York Times, Conde Nast and prominent SEOs on the agency side provide for this
Google Update "full coverage" Introduced earlier this month – but what does that really mean for news SEOs? In-house SEOs from the LA Times, New York Times, Conde Nast, and prominent agency SEOs weigh in.
As a news SEO person, I was very careful to attract my colleagues. " Opinions on:
- Will this feature lead to more SEO traffic for news sites?
- Will this develop into editorial SEO best practices and content strategies?
- Will there be closer working relationships between SEO and the editorial team?
- Or will everything stay “business as usual”?
ICYMI: Google's new "Full Coverage" feature in mobile search
Google added a full coverage feature to its mobile search functionality earlier this month to make it easier for users to search content related to the development of news from different publishers, perspectives and media areas.
Directly below the "Top Stories" carousel, users now see the option of tapping "Full coverage" / "More news on …" to develop news. The news on this page is broken down into various sub-news topics (compared to an ongoing list of news we're used to) such as:
- Top news
- Local news
- Beyond the headlines and more
Check out in-action here:
While the concept of Google "Full Coverage" was already developed in 2018, it referred exclusively to the Google news Website and app. The technology, temporal co-localityworks by mapping the relationships between entities – and understanding the people, places, and things in a story exactly as it unfolds. And then organizes it in real time around storylines in order to ensure “complete coverage” of the topic sought.
In particular, the introduction of Google's new "Full Coverage" feature to mobile search is exciting as the technology goes one step further. Able to spot long running messages that span many days, like the Super Bowl, to many weeks or months, like the pandemic, to serve the users. The feature is currently available to English speakers in the US and will be rolled out in additional languages and in different locations over the next few months.
What five news SEO experts think about "full coverage" in mobile search
1. Lily Ray, Senior Director, SEO and Head of Organic Research at Path Interactive
Lily Ray is the Senior SEO Director at Path Interactive in New York. She is a prominent voice in the SEO community (with +15,000 followers on Twitter) and has been nominated for several awards in search engine marketing over the course of her career. She is known for her E-A-T expertise. This is what she had to say:
"Full Coverage seems to be another new tool in the Google arsenal that can be used to show different perspectives and viewpoints on breaking news and events. This is a good thing for publisher sites as it is another way of making news content show up organically It can also serve as a way for niche or local publishers to get more visibility in organic search, as Google specifically aims to bring up a wider range of issues that may not always appear in major publications.
Hopefully with Google we can monitor the performance of the full coverage either through the search console or through Google Analytics so that we can segment the performance of our articles in this area compared to other search areas. "
2. Louisa Frahm, SEO editor at the LA Times
Louisa Frahm is currently the SEO Editor at the Los Angeles Times and is pursuing a Masters in Communication Management from the University of Southern California. Prior to the LA Times, Frahm was an SEO strategist at other high profile digital publications such as Entertainment Weekly, People Magazine, TMZ, Yahoo! and E! On-line. Here is their attitude:
"I've always liked this element of Google News. It appeals to readers (like me!) Who are constantly hungry for more information.
I work in the field of journalism and am always up for readers using a variety of news sources. I am glad that this new update will make use of it. I'm curious to see which stories fall into the "develop over a period of time" criteria. I could see it work well for advanced topics like COVID-19, but big breakout topics like Harry and Meghan could potentially fit that bill as well.
A variety of story topics emerged from this Oprah interview, and new angles keep pouring in! Also, with we're in the middle of the 2021 awards season, I was able to watch the Golden Globes, Grammys, and Oscars play on with their respective news cycles before, during, and after the events.
The long term aspect of this update inspires me to request more updates from writers on recurring topics so that we can connect to the types of topics that particular feature will enjoy. Although pure news with short traffic lifecycles is always important for news SEO, this feature underscores the additional importance of evergreen long-term content within a publisher's content strategy.
I could see that this update is providing a traffic boost as it offers another way to get stories in front of readers. We always want to have as many eyeballs as possible on our content. I am happy to add another element to my news SEO toolkit. Google always keeps us busy! "
3. Barry Adams, founder of Polemic Digital
Barry Adams is the founder of the SEO consultancy Polemic Digital. He has received numerous awards for search engine marketing over the course of his career and has spoken at several industry conferences. His company has helped news and publishing companies like The Guardian, The Sun, FOX News, and Tech Radar, to name a few. This is his opinion:
"Introducing full coverage right in search results theoretically means that users will have to click one less when trying to get the full breadth of coverage on a news topic."
It is doubtful whether this will actually lead to significantly more traffic for publishers. Users who are interested in reading a variety of sources on a news item have already adopted this click behavior via the "News" tab or directly via Google News.
This elimination of a level of friction between the SERP and a larger number of messages seems more like a way for Google to underline its commitment to displaying messages from all types of publishers – the fact remains that the first box for Top Stories is the The vast majority of the clicks happen. This full coverage option doesn't change that. "
4. John Shehata, Global Vice President of Audience Development Strategy at Conde Nast, Founder of NewzDash News SEO
John Shehata is Global Vice President of Audience Development Strategy at Conde Nast, the media company known for brands such as Architectural Digest, Allure, Vanity Fair and Vogue. He is also the founder of NewzDash News SEO – a News & Editorial SEO tool that publishers and news sites can use to improve their visibility and traffic in Google Search. This is his opinion:
“Google has published more messages on its SERPs in recent years. The first top stories were two to three links, then it became a carousel with ten links. Google then began grouping related articles and expanding the Top Stories carousel from one to three with up to 30 messages. They also introduced local news carousels for some local inquiries (and now this new feature). It is obvious that Google keeps testing different formats when it comes to news. One of our top news trends and predictions for 2021 is that Google will continue to introduce multiple and different formats in the SERPs that go beyond the Top Stories article formats.
In terms of the traffic impact back to the editors, it's a little early to predict, but I don't expect a huge surge in traffic. Don't get yourself wrong, this feature gives you more chances of more publishers being seen. The question is how many search users click on it. And when users click, Google displays over 50 news links and tweets, making it even more competitive for publishers to win back clicks on their articles.
I did some quick analysis Back in July last year, when the Google Search Console started providing tab data for messages. I found that news impressions make up less than five percent of total web impressions. I'm not entirely sure what the new Full Coverage CTR will look like and how many users will click on it. The placement of the links with full coverage is better than that of the tabs, so you may see a higher CTR. "
5. Claudio Cabrera, Assistant Audience Director, News SEO at the New York Times
Claudio Cabrera is Assistant Audience Director of News SEO at the New York Times. He is an award-winning audience development expert, journalist and educator. Prior to joining the New York Times, he was Director of Social and Search Strategy at CBS Local. Here are his thoughts:
“It can be viewed in so many ways. Some brands will see this as an opportunity to gain more visibility while others feel that their strong hold may be lost. I think it just promotes better journalism and even better search engine optimization as it forces us to think outside of our playbooks and, in a way, to adapt to what Google is offering to users.
From a site traffic perspective, I can't really tell whether this has affected us or not, but I know there are so many other areas that sites have done serious research and testing like you see a levy. I don't think SEO best practices are changing too much, but I think the relationship between searchers and editors is deepening and becoming even closer because of the changes in the Algo. "
Google's new "Full Coverage" feature for mobile search was launched earlier this month and is an extension of the "Full Coverage" feature that was developed for Google News back in 2018. The aim of this new feature is to give users a holistic understanding of complex news as it evolves – by organizing editorial content so that it goes beyond the top headlines and media. Essentially, you are giving users "full coverage" of the event.
News SEO experts seem to agree that this new feature will make it easier for users to explore trending news and get a holistic understanding of it. What this new feature means for SEO traffic and strategy is something that experts can only speculate until evolving news emerges and we can analyze the impact.
Elizabeth Lefelstein is an SEO consultant based in Los Angeles, California. She has worked with a wide variety of well-known brands throughout her career and is passionate about technical SEO, editorial SEO, and blogging. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter @lefelstein.