A recent change to Google news results may be sending news seekers to company sites instead of traditional news sites, according to a recent article on Reuters. When entering a keyword search for news on Google, company statements may now top the list of news links, potentially costing news publishers while leading news consumers astray.

Last fall, the search company broadened the number of sources for news results. While previously the search returned links to approved news sites, now one may see links to company pages where “news” items relating to the company’s products and services can be found.

Will companies now have a new tool to boost search engine optimization by including their news to lift rankings? That seems to be the case according to this article. Instead of a news consumer finding the news story they are looking for, they may instead be pointed to advertising masquerading as news.

This can have significant ramifications in several areas. Publishers who rely on search for traffic may find themselves in more hot water, while news consumers may begin to distrust online media news sources even more than they do now. The resulting confusion can’t be good for anyone.