Google News sends 6 billion clicks per month to publishers. If your business is able to tap into even a small percentage of that, the increase in traffic to your site could be huge. In the following article I’ll be sharing some top tips for getting your articles featured in Google News in 2020.
Firstly, your content has to be newsworthy. You may have heard that evergreen content is key to sustainable organic traffic and that is true in the blogging world. However, that kind of content isn’t news and so it’s not going to be picked up by Google News’ search engine.
Your article has to be timely and relevant. Timing is everything in journalism and if your article isn’t discussing what’s happening now, it’s no longer news. It helps to be posting articles as regularly as possible, ideally multiple times a day. However, be careful not to sacrifice quality for quantity, as Google will always prioritise authoritative resources.
As much as your content has to be timely, it also has to be unique. Most businesses will not be able to compete with large scale media conglomerates that are heavily featured on Google News. So, focus on excelling in your niche instead.
This is because Google’s algorithm highly values authority. Make your articles a main source of information for people in your industry. If other websites start referring to your content, Google News will recognise that and reward said content with a higher ranking.
While producing niche quality content is the main way to get Google to consider you as an authoritative site, there are a few other actions you should take.
- As part of Google’s content policy, you must include the date, time, author’s name, their contact info and links to theirs and/ or your site.
- Link to other reputable sites throughout your article. You have to show Google where you got your information from so that they can make sure it is reliable.
Prioritise the Reader
User experience is very important in Google News. There are a few main areas to focus on that will help improve the quality of your article:
Be careful not to overlook grammar and spelling.
Whilst running ads can help monetise your platform, avoid overloading your article with them and instead focus on your core content.
- Human Friendly URLS
Make sure every URL is unique for each article and replicates the article’s title as far as possible. This makes it easier for the reader (and Google News’ bots) to determine the article’s topic.
Make it Easy for Google’s Bots to Read
Making your article readable for Google News’ bots is just as important as making it readable for the user. Here are a few steps you should take that will help Google’s bots crawl and index your site/ articles.
- Submit a Sitemap.xml on Google Search Console
This will increase your chances of being seen by the web crawler. You should have two sitemaps: one for your website and a refreshed version for each time you publish an article. This will help the bots find articles on your site quicker.
- Use a robots.txt file and meta tags
The file and tags direct Google News’ bots as how to best crawl your content and site. This is particularly important if you do not have a separate news website and are operating out of the blog section in your company website. For more information on robots.txt file and meta tags look at the Google Support pages.
- Ensure that the URL for each article is permanent
This is to avoid it being changed after it is ranked in Google News, as it could cause issues with indexing.
- Include key words in the article title and URL
This will indicate to Google what your article is about and what news section you would like to be filed under. However, make sure that the keywords don’t impact user readability, as Google will react negatively to this.
- Ensure that you use HTML for your content
Google News’ bots cannot understand Java Script etc., so using HTML will make sure your article is indexed faster. Likewise, using alt tags for images and include transcripts for important videos.
- Use structured data on your website’s news pages
Schema.org properties and types indicate to Google (and the user) what your article is about. Thus, improving your search ranking results. To find out more information on structured data, check out this handy guide from Moz.
Submit your Site on Google News’ Publisher Centre
Now that you have taken the optimisation steps listed, you can submit your site to Google News’ Publisher Centre.
Whilst it is still possible for your article to be featured in Google News rankings without signing up, it is highly recommended that you do – especially if your business isn’t a news service.
Signing up does not guarantee that your article will be ranked in Google News but it does increase the likelihood, as Google will have already deemed your site as an authoritative source if you are approved.
Thus, using the optimisation tips listed in this article, as well as being an approved Publisher Centre member, is the best way to get into Google News’ search rankings in 2020.
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