Full Content RSS feeds no longer needed for Google News

Google confirm full-fat RSS feeds no longer needed for Google News

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Customers by a magazine stand in Amsterdam

Customers by a magazine stand in Amsterdam - © Colin McDermott

Last year Google announced they were making changes to how they display and render articles, and as part of this they would no longer be using full RSS feed content to populate articles on Google News.

We recently expanded the frequency that we link to non-AMP web content (i.e. your web pages) across several surfaces, including the Google News app, as part of the page experience update. As a result of this change, we will no longer directly render article text provided in RSS and Atom feeds in the Google News app.

Simplifying content management in Google News

However there was no update made to any of the documentation with regards to whether or not Google News publishers still needed to submit full RSS feeds in Publisher Center.

In fact, the documentation still explicitly states that for an RSS feed to meet Google News specifications, it must contain the full article contents and associated media.

For readers to fully engage with your content, provide full articles and media assets. Set up your feed properly to prevent errors, failed approvals or removals.

Google News Technical feed requirements

As part of my consultancy work for a news client we reached out to our Google contact, and after some time received confirmation back from Google News that no, full RSS feeds are no longer needed.

Google confirmed that having entire articles (HTML, images and all) inside RSS feeds is no longer required since web-pages have started to be shown in Google News, however they also directed us to the requirements in the 'Article content and markup' section of docs found here.

This section states that although Google News no longer displays content from full feeds, other Google products such as Google Assistant's text-to-speech News service may still do so.

But let's stop for a second. Before anyone goes out and without doing any research switches to standard partial feeds - it is vitally important to note the second half of the statement, and to bear in mind that just because Google News don't need the full-fat RSS feed with the entire article's content and HTML, it doesn't mean it is sensible to simply switch to a partial RSS feed.

There are still numerous essential elements that would be missing if a publisher switched to using just a normal partial RSS feed, such as you would find in WordPress.