What does it mean when your website is designated a European press publication?

Posted on October 8, 2019

 

Some website owners have been noticing messages in their Google Search Console about their websites being designated a European press publication, but what does this mean? Why have they received this notification, and if you haven’t received one, why not?

First of all, this is nothing to worry about. If you’ve seen this message in your search console, you don’t need to panic. Equally, there’s no need to fret if you haven’t seen it either.

Let’s look at the message in full:

“Google systems have designated http://www.[yourwebsite].co.uk/ a European press publication, as defined by EU Directive 2019/790 on copyright and related rights in the digital single market. In the wake of a new copyright law transposing this Directive in France, this designation removes the display of text snippets, video previews, and thumbnail images from your property or properties in France. This is an advance notification; changes in Google Search will not occur until late October 2019.”

This message appears to only be sent to website owners whose websites are listed as Google News Publishers, as it relates to the way their websites are featured within Google News. If you haven’t seen this message, it could just be that your website isn’t a Google News Publisher. Becoming a Google News Publisher is actually very difficult now, as the rules for being accepted are extremely tight. You have to comply to Google’s technical requirements, and your content has to follow their content requirements.

It used to be much easier several years ago, before the barriers to entry became so strict.

This message pertains to how your content is displayed within Google News, but strictly within France. Images, text snippets (short descriptions) and video previews will not display in French Google search results from websites that have been classified as a European press publication.

Google went on to add:

“If you would like these previews to be displayed in search results for your property, you can use HTML tags to customize how Google Search displays your content to Search users. Alternatively, if you think this designation is incorrect, you can change it as described below.”

Google offers the functionality for you to customise how your website appears in search results with the use of certain tags, controlling such variables as the size of images displayed, the length of snippets to be used and the length of videos to be used as previews. We discussed all of this in a previous blog.

If you believe your website has been incorrectly classified as a European press publication, you will have the option of telling Google you think it’s an error and changing the classification. If you’re a Google News Publisher, however, I would just leave it. The risk of having Google take a closer look at your credentials for being a Google News Publisher isn’t worth the reward of having your rich snippet data appear in French search results – unless France is a big audience for your website and business.

Darren Jamieson

Technical Director at Engage Web
Darren is Technical Director at Engage Web, as well as being a co-founder of the company. He takes a hands-on approach to SEO and web design, helped by more than 15 years’ experience in these fields.

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