Many of the tactics that lead to success in Google News are identical to those that SEOs employ regularly. Google News likes the same rich, informative, high-quality content that Google Search does because that’s what its users are looking for.
However, news is a different medium to blogs and other on-page content, so for a site to rank well it has to produce content that better conforms to the requirements of that medium. We’re going to have a look at a number of specific qualities content should have before publishers can expect to find it reaching the first page of Google News.
Submit Your Site For Inclusion
Before doing anything else, a site owner should ensure that their site has been submitted to Google News for inclusion. Sites will then be reviewed and either approved or rejected.
Freshness is a quality that is generally helpful for ranking, but its usefulness on regular sites tends to be over-hyped. The search engines are well aware that some content is by nature evergreen or essentially unchanging, so striving for freshness by producing new content for the sake of it is a futile exercise. But, naturally, freshness is a key quality of news. Keeping news up-to-date with the event you are discussing relative to competitors will give an article an edge in the rankings.
Google is somewhat good at determining how diverse a range of articles on a particular topic is. Approaching your subject from a novel perspective, finding original connections with other topics, or bringing a unique analysis to your readers are great ways to avoid an article’s being considered just another one of the no-doubt hundreds of practically identical articles out there.
Submit A News Sitemap
Google uses a specific sitemap for news that differs in several ways from the standard sitemaps you might be familiar with. It includes additional tags that are particularly relevant to news publishers, some of which are required, including publisher, access, and publication date.
News Sitemap submissions works much the same way as with the standard sitemaps.
If you submit a News Sitemap before your site has been approved for inclusion by Google, you can expect to see crawl errors in Google Webmaster tools. They will be resolved once the site is approved.
Many news articles are inherently tied to a particular location. If your article is dealing with localized news, make sure it contains geographical references in the text, the headings, and the tags. One of the tags that the News Sitemaps make available is , which is an ideal method for making sure that Google picks up on your article’s location and ranks it for local searches.
Avoid Pure Marketing Content
Google is pretty strict about this. As you might imagine, if Google didn’t filter out the the marketing stuff, their news site would very quickly become a wasteland of spam. If you represent your marketing content as news, you run the risk of ranking poorly or even being dropped from Google News altogether.
This means don’t use Google News in the way that many businesses use press releases. You might be lucky and get your content in and ranking, but it’s not a sustainable or scalable approach.
Use The Meta News Keywords Tag
This may seem like a blast from the past for those who are old hands at SEO. The standard meta keywords tag is worthless for ranking on the main Google SERPS; they ignore it because it was abused too much, but last year Google introduced a news specific keywords tag: news_keywords. It functions in more or less the same way as the old keywords tag except that it’s limited to 10 comma-separated keywords per article.
Again, don’t be tempted to abuse this, it’s one signal in hundreds, so if your content is generally inferior, adding this won’t help. It will, however, give Google some useful hints about which terms they should be ranking your article for.