Google announced this morning that they are now making it easier for publishers to opt-out of specific section of Google’s site specifically Google News. This change will make it easier for publishers to allow their content to display in search results but not in Google News. The idea here is to allow publishers to more easily build “pay walls” around their online news stories as more and more online publications move to a fee-based model.
Normally when a publisher wants to restrict the way their content is displayed in Google they will edit the robots.txt file which can tell Google not to index a certain page in Google search. The problem is – many publishers would like the links to show-up in search while restricting access to Google news. Previously a publisher would have to fill-out a contact-form on Google’s website in order to request that their feed be included in search but not in news. Now, with the changes announced today, publishers can make changes to the robots.txt and change the way Google news interacts with their site.
Google is making this move after seeing pressure from media giants like Rupert Murdoch who threatened to pull all his content from Google when they move to a fee-based model. As physical print media continues to decline, publishers are looking for a way to generate the same revenue online. Google will obviously be a key player in this arena and the steps taken today should make it easier for publishers to customize how their news is made accessible through Google.