Google has quietly announced in its Google News forum that they have added a new URL referrer source that news publishers should begin tracking to get a “comprehensive view of traffic from Google News.” In addition to tracking referrals from news.google.com, publishers should also track referrals from news.url.google.com.
The change seems to be connected to the new RSS feed changes with Google News that we reported recently.
Google said that referrals from the source “news.google.com” include traffic from native mobile apps, mobile web and RSS feeds set up with the legacy URL pattern. Referrals from the source “news.url.google.com” include traffic from desktop and RSS feeds set up with the new URL pattern.
It is unclear if Google Analytics has already updated to support the new referral changes, but one would assume it would be one of the first analytics packages to update its tools.
If you are using custom analytics or a third-party analytics tool, make sure to communicate to the developers that they need to make this update to their software.