What’s your goal with SEO, link building and search engine marketing?
For most website owners, it’s getting to the first page (or even the first result!) of Google.
But, as you know, that’s no easy task.
If you weren’t aware of how much hard work, cleverness, and know-how getting those rankings takes, you probably wouldn’t be here.
So, yes. Getting to the top, or even first page of Google is something most entrepreneurs and business owners dream of.
It’s a coveted position that takes months, or sometimes even years to reach.
There’s no easy way to the top.
But, what if I told you there’s another way?
If you want to jump directly to the top of a Google search, you can try to get your website featured on Google news.
If your website is listed in Google News, that placement shows other people (and you!) that you are running an educational and useful website.
You’re serving up factual, high-quality information, and Google News backs that up.
When Google is basically endorsing your content, and saying it’s worthwhile, you’ll be leagues ahead of your competitors.
Getting into Google News is a powerful way to increase your domain authority, quickly index your articles, and increase your website traffic BIG time.
I see it as a big win across the board.
By the end of this article, you’ll learn exactly what Google News is and how to get your website ready for a Google News submission.
I’ll also show you the exact type of content Google is looking for and encourages readers to actually click through.
If you’re already creating newsworthy articles on a regular basis, this article will help you increase your audience, and your overall reach, by getting your website into the Google News search vertical.
Are you ready to learn what it takes?
- What is Google News
- How much does Google news impact your traffic
- Which sites will benefit from featured on Google news
- How to get onto Google News
- What content to write
- How to write and format your content
- Getting your headline right
- Technical Google News guidelines
- Do I need a sitemap for Google News?
- How to submit
What is Google News
Google News is a computer-generated news site that aggregates various headlines from over 500,000 different news sources across the world.
You can find Google news by going to the following link: https://news.google.com
Alternatively, when a new story hits the headlines, Google shows the news articles relevant to that search at the top of main Google page.
In the example above, when I searched for the phrase “Prince Harry” I was shown a number of different news articles about that topic.
The great thing about Google News compared to traditional newspapers is the method curation. In traditional media, you’d choose a publication you enjoyed reading and scan through it to find headlines that interest you.
Google News lets you choose the headline or topic first and then curates a number of different publications that have current news about that topic.
How much does Google news impact your traffic
Google News sends over 10 billion clicks to publishers so being featured there is guaranteed to bring you a ton of traffic.
As I mentioned above, for current trending topics Google shows the news articles at the top of the search results.
Above the paid advertisements and above the organically placed links.
This means, the likelihood of someone clicking through to your website, as opposed to the millions of others they could choose increases exponentially.
Once you’re featured on Google News, you will likely see an improvement in both your domain authority and the number of backlinks generated from your content.
Which sites will benefit from featured on Google news
There are a number of different types of websites that will benefit from being featured on Google News.
Rather than go into the different niches that will benefit, the key point to remember is in order to be accepted by Google, you need to be publishing newsworthy articles.
The main sites you’ll see on Google news are super big publications like Wall Street Journal, CNN, BBC
But that shouldn’t stop other smaller outlets ranking for specific keywords in Google news as long as they adhere to all the requirements set by Google and the best practices set by those who have been doing it for years.
However, if you want to boost your chances of being featured in Google News, you should try and consistently publish news content.
Google favors sites that publish a large quantity of helpful news content.
But, make sure you don’t replace quantity with poor quality. Churning out a large volume of poor quality content will hinder, rather than help your chances.
But remember, your post in Google news won’t rank longer than 2-3 days, so it’s important to always try and produce regular newsworthy content.
How to get onto Google News
As long as you’re writing high-quality newsworthy articles, you have a good chance of being featured in Google news for any given topic.
Avoid writing content such as:
- How-to articles
- Advice columns
- Job postings
- Property listings
These are not considered news to Google and submitting them may lead to your account being rejected.
If you do find your application is rejected, you can only re-apply after 60 days, so it’s worth getting it right the first time.
If you’re serious about getting featured on Google news, you should aim to write at least two articles a day.
What most news media sites on Google news have in common is the multi-authored system. Think about a traditional newspaper.
It would be odd if the same person wrote the sports article and tech news.
If your team is small, then think about outsourcing your writing to a team of freelancers who can help you produce enough content.
When you do this, Google will ask you to provide them with a list of the authors who report stories on your site. You might also need to submit their contact details when applying.
What content to write
When it comes to planning what sort of content you want to write for Google News, the first thing you should do is make sure your content timely and useful.
Timing is everything with Google news, so avoid trying to write evergreen content.
Focus on stuff that is relevant here and now.
The good news is, although there are a number of guidelines to follow in order to be including in Google News, once you’ve been accepted, strong topical content finds its way to the top based on its own merit.
This means, as stated above, you should avoid publishing advertorial or marketing content because this isn’t newsworthy and won’t be featured.
Your content should be original.
You don’t want to produce me-too articles. Regularly producing content for Google News will take a lot of work. You need to pull together a number of different writers and spend time producing high-quality content.
Research other news sources to make sure you’re not offering new content.
Make sure you differentiate your news content from your blog content. Publishing news articles is different to publishing blog content. If a piece of news is new on Friday, that same piece of news will be old by Monday and will therefore not show up in new search engines.
When you have a team of writers who will be sourcing and creating your news articles, it will be helpful to create a brand guideline or tone of voice document.
This way each writer will follow the same set of standards and your news site will have an established feel to it.
How to write and format your content
Not only does your content need to be original, it needs to be well-structured. This includes using quality anchor texts, meta tags alongside a voice of authority.
When you write a normal blog post, often you focus on SEO, trying to include all the necessary keywords in order to rank for your chosen phrase.
However, journalism is different and instead, the focus should be shifted to the investigation.
You should do this by structuring your news article so that the most important content is first followed by the least important.
Most journalists spend a long time studying their craft in order to produce a certain quality of writing. Spend some time studying journalistic standards to ensure your writers aren’t producing subpart content.
If possible, they should try and follow the pyramid writing style where the start directly with the source of the news.
As always, proofread the work before it’s submitted to ensure it’s free of errors. Naturally, when your content appears in Google News vertical, you’re exposed to hundreds, if not thousands of more visitors than you normally get.
Don’t get caught out by having poor grammar and spelling errors on your content.
Getting your headline right
You should always aim to include keyword rich headlines to ensure your content ranks for your chosen keyword or phrase.
Your headline is your first, and only opportunity to entice your readers to click through to your article.
First of all, it should make a promise. The promise being letting the reader know what your article will cover.
In order to get the most eyes on your content, you should avoid using words or phrases that might be unfamiliar or confusing to some readers. The goal here is to appeal to the many.
Unless it’s imperative, try to avoid using numbers in your Google News headline. Using numbers is close to the listicle territory and your article is unlikely to get picked up by Google if they think you’re just presenting another expert round-up.
For a strong headline:
- Keep it concise
- Make a promise
- Try to be engaging
Let’s look at some examples:
Suppose you wanted to read some news articles about “net neutrality”
All these headlines follow a similar format in that they tell you what the article will be about. They avoid repeating keywords in the headline and they encourage you to click through.
When it comes to your headlines, engage your audience with an active and present voice.
Tom was killed by a lorry (passive)
The lorry killed Tom (active)
Using the active voice means starting with the subject, as opposed to the action.
You’ll also notice in the examples above, they all use the present tense. This is important as your news articles are supposed to be timely and relevant right now.
Technical Google News guidelines
When you submit your site to Google to new featured among the news publications, the crawler will be looking out for a number of different things.
Following the guidelines below will increase your chance of being accepted so you can start benefiting from the added traffic.
First of all, your website should be user-friendly. This means, when a user lands on your site, they should easily be able to navigate their way around.
Moreover, the site should load quickly, this includes your images. If you find your images are too large, then use an image compression tool like tk to reduce the file size, but not hinder the quality.
Another tip is to make sure all your article URLs are unique and permanent.
The crawler is specifically looking for HTML links with anchor text of at least a few words.
If you have yet to index your website, now would be a good time to do it, before you submit to Google News. In order to
- Robots.txt or meta tags. For your content to be included in Google News, the user-agents Googlebot and Googlebot-news must be able to crawl and index your site.
- Multimedia content. Google news is currently unable to include audio files or multimedia content.
- Submit a sitemap to google to help the crawler successfully navigate its way around your site.
Many people, as you know, will be browsing the internet on their phone, especially news. It’s important to make sure your site is mobile-friendly with a responsive design.
Do I need a sitemap for Google News?
You do not need a sitemap for Google News. Having one won’t necessarily help your site rank better in the Google news search vertical. However, having one will allow your content to get discovered faster.
Meaning the Google News crawler will only crawl your news articles. Google provides users with an example news sitemap to follow:
But you need to be included in Google news before you submit your sitemap. If you submit your news sitemap before inclusion, you may encounter a number of errors.
When updating your news sitemap, only include URLs to articles published in the last 48 hours. In order to do this, refresh your sitemap after each published post. This will allow Google to index your content quicker.
How to submit
Once you feel your site and your news content is ready to be crawled and submitted to Google, they outline the following steps:
- Go to the Google News Publisher Centre.
Under “My Sites” you’ll see a list of sites connected to your Google account. If you cannot see any sites, then log in using the same details you use to log in to Google Analytics.
- Verify ownership of your news site in Search Console.
Make sure you have verified ownership of your site in Google’s Search Console. To do this, Log into the search console using the link above.
- Click Request inclusion in Google News.
Once you’ve done that, and your website shows up as “verified” under the ownership tab, click “Request inclusion to News Index”.
- Enter your site’s details including news section URLs and labels, and click Submit.
- Come back to check your site’s inclusion status in 1-3 weeks.
If you have a website or business where it’s logical for you to post newsworthy updates and articles, it’s a worthwhile decision to submit your site to Google News.
Doing so will bring you a hoard of new traffic and set your website and business up as an authority in your space.
Getting into Google News requires following the steps listed above to ensure that Google recognizes your site and places your content right in front of the eyes of your audience.
Even though you may be competing with some of the top news publications in the world, ensuring you’ve formatted your articles properly and written high-quality content will increase your chance of them clicking through to your site rather than theirs.