Searchers on Google who subscribe to newspapers and other publishers will soon see articles from those publications ranking higher in search results, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
The move is reportedly part of Google’s efforts to help media companies reach and retain paying readers, and is part of a larger scheme that could see Google share search data with major publishers to help them reach people who are more likely to buy a subscription.
Google has not yet commented on the reports, and Bloomberg’s sources have asked to remain anonymous as they are not authorised to speak publicly about the new plans prior to Google’s official announcement, which is expected at an event in New York on 20 March.
The new plans could help publishers better target potential new digital subscribers, as well as retain those they already have by surfacing and highlighting content in the search results from outlets they are already paying for. The move marks the latest ‘olive branch’ from Google, and Silicon Valley tech giants as a whole, in their relationship with major publishers and media companies.
Publishers have struggled in recent years to support high quality news content with advertising revenue, with the likes of the New York Times, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal focusing on encouraging readers to pay for content. They have been urging Google and Facebook to develop new tools to help them increase subscriptions, arguing that the tech giants should be doing more to support and boost trusted, high quality journalism at a time when their platforms have been drowning in fake news.
There’s not much more information on these plans just yet, so all eyes on the 20 March official unveiling to see what Google has in store.