Combat fake news by becoming Google’s trusted source

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Fact-checking needs you
By Annabel Hodges, contributor. 16 May, 2019
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As fake news and false claims continue to dominate economic and political landscapes, the need for faster, reliable fact-checking has become vital. The big technology companies including Facebook and Google are under pressure to push back, and find a solution. Could your finance brand be a part of that solution?

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Fighting the war on fake news

In the last couple of years, Google has launched its Google News Initiative - including been actively encouraging the use of a ‘fact check’ schema tag in Google News in order to allow publishers to highlight “articles that include information fact checked by news publishers and fact-checking organizations”. The search giant has also been working with independent organisations like Politifact and Full Fact to corroborate where these facts are found to be true, false or somewhere in between.

Google continues to expand its suite with the launch of its Fact Check Tools, which are two pronged with a search engine - the Fact Check Explorer and a tool that allows you to highlight fact checked content within the markup of your site - the Fact Check Markup Tool. These tools aim to make the work of fact checkers and journalists easier; and could prove to become increasingly relevant to finance brands. With the ongoing onslaught of fake news and the endless demand for fact checking, the focus is now turning to AI, using machine learning to rapidly and convincingly sift through the noise and filter our the truth.

In an article on The Financial Brand, Michael Bertini from digital agency iQuanti posits that Google may be looking to trustworthy websites to help with its war on fake news by using machine learning to take their content into account when fact checking. By ensuring your site is a reliable source of topical information, you can both benefit your brand and counter fake news at the same time.

So how to get on Google’s fact-checking radar?

Bertini suggests two key focuses: Staying up-to-date on key topics and ensuring you are using relevant schema markup.

1. Staying up-to-date

Use tools like Google Trends to ensure you’re staying up to date with what the financial industry is talking about, and searching. This doesn’t have to be the latest trends, but should be high volume searches about key financial facts relating to your brand. You need to ensure your brand is synonymous with your industry, becoming a go-to trusted source of information for relevant financial topics.

2. Schema Markup

As we highlighted in our 2019 Trends to Watch, schema has become increasingly important to the way Google crawls and ranks content both in its search results index and across voice searches. The same can be true for how the technology company uses schema as part of its fact checking toolkit. Finance brands need to ensure that they are correctly marking up their content in order to provide Google with clear guidance as to what that content covers. This can be both Fact Check markup if relevant, or more standardised schema that highlights data types and clarifies to Google that your content can be used as a potential source of validation.

However you choose to markup your authoritative content; there is likely only benefit to taking this step. Although it is impossible to verify how Google chooses a site to be a source of validation for its fact checking; we do know that regularly updated, topical content with clear markup is favoured by the search engine and is is therefore more likely to benefit from greater visibility. There’s no excuse not to try it.

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Originally hailing from the UK, Sydneysider Annabel is a digital marketer with over a decade's experience working with global agencies and brands. A data and spreadsheet aficionado, she recently swapped SEO for motherhood and we eagerly await the analytics report! She is also maternally bilingual in French and English and speaks fluent Spanish.