Are you searching for information about your community? Google has released search features that aim to increase visibility for local news content about communities.
Released Tuesday, one option expands on a feature previously rolled out, for COVID-related searches.
The search feature adds a carousel of local news stories when relevant to a search query.
By improving on the option to understand topics beyond broad areas, such as sports and to gain more understanding of narrower subtopics, such as football and high school football, it helps readers gain a better understanding of the topics they seek.
Search interest in “news near me” rose more than 3 times during the past five years worldwide, according to Google Trends.
When this new feature is paired with location signals, it helps readers get more relevant material for the topics they are searching for. A search on “football” for someone in Las Vegas, for example, may return results for Raiders games at Allegiant stadium, as well as local high school and college teams.
Google Public Liaison for Search Danny Sullivan wrote in a post about several new features that are coming to Google Search to help readers find content from local publishers.
“Over the past few months, we've also been working on improving our systems so authoritative local news sources appear more often alongside national publications, when relevant, in our general news features such as Top Stories,” he wrote. “This improvement ensures people will see authoritative local stories when they’re searching for news, helping both the brand and the content of news publishers reach more people.”
Google also recently launched a way to help people find local information on the topics they search for by surfacing tweets from local, authoritative sources and authors, including tweets from news organizations.
In addition to our product news, Google has also launched a tool to help reporters dig through data to find stories and embed visualizations on their sites.
The Census Mapper project is an embeddable map that displays Census data at the national, state and county level, as well as census tracts. Google produced it in partnership with Pitch Interactive and Big Local News, as part of the 2020 Census Co-op (supported by the Google News Initiative and in cooperation with the JSK Journalism Fellowships), according to Sullivan.
He explains that the Census data is pulled from data collected and processed by The Associated Press, one of the Census Co-op partners.
Census Mapper then allows local journalists to embed maps showing population change at any level, helping them tell powerful stories in a more visual way about their communities.