Have you ever thought about how to get your website or blog included in Google News? Well, you wouldn’t be the first. Business owners, Internet marketers, online reputation management and public relations (PR) professionals, and SEO specialists all recognize the value of having their content show up in one of today’s biggest online news aggregators (and search engines).
Why get listed on Google News?
If you’ve never given a thought to getting listed, consider these benefits and key features of Google News.
- Millions of people use it to keep abreast of what’s happening. (It cannot be a bad thing to be able to tap into that, right?)
- These users access Google News using a variety of ways: via search, personalized Google News pages, regular E-mail alerts, mobile device or a tablet (like the iPad), RSS or Atom feeds, and more. Get listed and immediately you have a multitude of ways to reach out to an audience (search engine marketing, mobile marketing, content creation, newsletter and E-mail marketing, etc.).
- Not all sites are accepted into Google News. If you do succeed in getting listed, you’ll be able to generate greater publicity and exposure for yourself, stand out in your industry, and enjoy a huge competitive advantage over the rest of ‘em.
- Google News thrives on relevance, credibility, authority, and expertise. Showcase all these values by having content from your website or blog sit next to Google News items from, say, The New York Times or Time.
As mentioned in the third bullet, however, not everyone will be able to get their sites and blogs on Google News. In fact, it may take a few tries, and there’s no guarantee that the last one will be successful. This isn’t to say that getting listed on Google News is impossible. It is very possible, and it’s very much worth your time and effort.
Google News requirements
Google has posted its own guidelines for submitting content to Google News. The Google News support page also lists down all the technical requirements that you must meet to complete and validate your submission. Below are a few important notes on some of these requirements:
- Article URLs: Google is very specific about the URL structure of your website or blog. To show up on Google News, each page of your news article must have its own unique URL. So don’t post and display multiple articles or news stories on a single page (such as on a “yourcompany.com/news.php” page); otherwise, the Google News spider won’t be able to properly crawl it.
- Permanent links: Again, same idea as above. If you keep posting your most recent news stories and articles on a single news page, Google won’t be able to crawl it. We thus recommend that you use a platform or CMS (content management system) like WordPress that allows you to easily and efficiently create permanent links.
- Three-digit unique identifier. Another URL-related element that Google News requires is a reference number or unique identifier for each page of your article. This number should be at least three digits, and is different from the date of publication. Let’s check out an example of an article URL from the Chicago Sun-Times (retrieved from Google News):
See that? No, that’s certainly not the date the article was published. But if one were to get listed on Google News, it makes sense to include these numbers or identifiers in the URL.
There are several other technical requirements with which you must comply to successfully show up on Google News, but we won’t go into much detail about those in here. (Just be sure to consult your Webmaster. Or, if you have any front-end or backend concerns about WordPress, you may contact our team.)
Google News best practices
In the meantime, let’s run through some of today’s best practices in getting listed on Google News and having your content appear as part of its news items.
Choose the right CMS or publishing platform. You may think you have the most newsworthy site in the world, but if your content management system doesn’t allow you to comply with Google News’ technical requirements, you still won’t get listed. Something like WordPress would be simple, low-cost, and easy enough to use – but, at the same time, feature-rich and sufficiently robust to support your Google News submission.
Be original. Okay, we know we’ve said it a million times, and by now you might be getting really irritated by the phrase, but it’s true: “Content is king.” So write your news articles, stories, and coverage in a way that’s unique, relevant, compelling, and truly original. Remember all the finer points of journalism that you’d learned from that writing class or communications elective. You might also want to optimize your stories for the Google News search engine by adding relevant keywords and SEO-friendly images. And no duplicate content, please!
Post daily. One of the reasons why Google News is so popular is because it aggregates newsworthy content regularly, even on an up-to-the-minute basis. That’s why you have to refresh your website or blog with new content at least once or twice a day. That’s one or two newsworthy and relevant articles from Monday to Friday – or even throughout the week if you can. Indeed, irregular, infrequent, or sporadic posting does not a Google News listing make.
Ensure host reliability, server response time, and site speed. One of the benefits of appearing on Google News is that it drives increased, likely targeted traffic. But can your Web host handle the pressure? If one day a million people suddenly visit your website or blog and read your latest news story, can you ensure continued uptime? If you can’t, do you have the resources to prevent prolonged downtime or critical data loss? It’s essential to have a reliable Web host to ensure your website runs smoothly and efficiently.
Site speed also plays an important role in Google’s algorithm. The Google News search engine, especially, looks for pages that it can index quickly. So ensure fast server response time and improve your site speed before you think of submitting a listing to Google News. Remember: people want to receive their news fast. And so do the search engine robots.
Feature multiple authors. Google News wants your website or blog to have more than one byline. Why? Well, that’s the way journalism works. After all, not everything you read from any traditional newspaper has been written by one person. Besides, you’ll benefit from the team effort. Apart from establishing credibility, having multiple authors, reporters, writers, and guest bloggers also enables you to churn out original, high-quality content regularly – and establish diversity in voice and opinion.
It’s also a great idea to write your “About” page as intelligently as possible. By “intelligently”, we mean in a way that reflects the identity and traditional values of a professional news organization. Provide author and editor bios, insert an editorial box, list the relevant awards and honors you’ve received, and give a brief background of your company, website, or blog.
Give proper attribution. Reporting on news first broken by some other website or blog? Publishing information that came from other established news sources? Make sure you give credit where credit is due. Proper attribution shows that you’re tuned in to and abreast of what others in your industry or particular area of coverage are saying. Not only that: attribution also saves you from future embarrassment about falsely claiming what isn’t originally yours.