Google News has added an option for users to adjust the frequency of news stories from blogs and press releases, allowing readers to remove them altogether. This new option could benefit users who often search for financial, medical and legal news and often encounter SEO press releases and low quality blog entries as a result of hyper-competitive niches within those categories.
The news aggregator already allows users to restrict news from some sources and adjust the frequency of news from others, but the new feature should allow users to remove some of the clutter that has created complaints from users over the way that Google vets news sources.
Take a look at the following screenshots comparing results for the search “mesothelioma:”
You essentially have two completely different results pages once you remove blogs and press releases. While the filter still leaves some sources whose newsworthiness is debatable, it definitely cleaned out some of the junk. The only problem I have with the filtering is their definition of a blog. Most news sites now run WordPress or a similar CMS where their news stories are presented in a blog-like format, and I worry about which signals Google is using to determine if a site is a personal editorial blog or a legitimate news source. Sites that are worried about losing traffic traffic because of their designation can request a “declassification” from Google, and hopefully major news sources still considered a blog have already requested a review.