Today, Google took to the Google News blog to remind bloggers and publishers that the rules apply in Google News too.
"Credibility and trust are longstanding journalistic values, and ones which we all regard as crucial attributes of a great news site," writes Google Sr. Director of News and Social Products, Richard Gingras. "It’s difficult to be trusted when one is being paid by the subject of an article, or selling or monetizing links within an article. Google News is not a marketing service, and we consider articles that employ these types of promotional tactics to be in violation of our quality guidelines."
"Please remember that like Google search, Google News takes action against sites that violate our quality guidelines," he adds. "Engagement in deceptive or promotional tactics such as those described above may result in the removal of articles, or even the entire publication, from Google News."
You can get a look at the Google News quality guidelines here. Similar language in those says:
Google News is not a marketing service. We don't want to send users to sites created primarily for promoting a product or organization, or to sites that engage in commerce journalism. If your site mixes news content with other types of content, especially paid advertorials or promotional content, we strongly recommend that you separate non-news types of content. Otherwise, if we find non-news content mixed with news content, we may exclude your entire publication from Google News.
"If a site mixes news content with affiliate, promotional, advertorial, or marketing materials (for your company or another party), we strongly recommend that you separate non-news content on a different host or directory, block it from being crawled with robots.txt, or create a Google News Sitemap for your news articles only," says Gingras. "Otherwise, if we learn of promotional content mixed with news content, we may exclude your entire publication from Google News."
Don't say you weren't warned. Now we're wondering what exactly prompted this post. Did Google just bust someone? That appeared to be the motivation for Cutts' earlier post.
We're also wondering whatever came of that recent incident where Google itself was busted with paid links again.