Google has become an aggregator of news from various media sources. When you go to their website and click “news” you can access the latest articles on almost any topic imaginable. Most of the articles with high rankings come from large media outlets such as USA Today, Washington Post, New York Times, other major market newspapers and international news services. Smaller publishers, however, do make it into Google’s news feed, especially for more niche industries and interests. In order to be part of this feed, publishers need to follow Google guidelines.
The layout of your site must be designed so that it can be easily read by Google’s crawler. This crawler will only link to URLs of actual news articles that do not change over time and are hosted on your main site. The main news sections need to be permanent, otherwise it may not be detected by the automated crawler, which also needs to easily read headlines and publication times. It does help, however, to report updates to Google. Here are other technical issues to consider:
- Article directories cannot be blocked by robots.txt files.
- Metatags and HTML specifications cannot block links to your articles.
- UTF-8 encoding is ideal.
- The article should only be written in one language.
- Google prefers that articles written in multiple languages be submitted separately.
- Article URLs must be unique and include at least three digits.
Google’s content guidelines are extensive, but maintaining a journalistic approach keeps it simple. News content should be original, timely, authoritative and mass appeal in nature. Author names should be included with articles, along with a picture and contact information. The articles must also make sense and be well edited so that there are no grammatical or punctuation errors. The article will have a better chance of making the feed if it is written by a writer that Google has identified as having high Author Rank, such as well known contributors to major news sources.
Quality and Quantity
Sites that get the best placement in the news feed tend to be those that offer fresh daily content. While it is not necessary to publish multiple articles per day, it is essential to keep a steady flow of news articles going, such as one per day. If your site covers multiple niches, you should still consider writing at least one article per niche on a daily basis. While quantity matters, writing quality is definitely more important.
The information should be as useful and unique as possible, as with the basics of SEO. Use keywords as article foundations, but do not flood your article with them. Keep the content within the realm of your expertise, otherwise it may get lost in the shuffle. Instead of competing with the world’s top news sources for topics that are already well covered, run a search test for topics in Google News to find niches that need better coverage. There are already hundreds of stories every day, for example, about national sports and major political issues. But there may not be a lot of stories each day on new industries or events in your neighborhood.
Once your site is streamlined to meet Google News Feed requirements, you can file for inclusion by contacting Google here. Be patient because It may take several weeks to get a response. Once you are in the system start checking the search engine and see how well your articles rank using important keywords. More information can be found at Google’s News Help Center.
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