In the world of SEO, making Google web results a primary focus and priority is standard, however, if your site or blog is consistently publishing relevant content relating to current events, you may be able to expand your reach. If your site already produces high-quality, relevant and newsworthy content, you should be in Google News results! It not only aggregates articles from over 50,000 news sites worldwide, but it has the potential to substantially increase the traffic to your site. According to an article on The Atlantic, about 4 billion people view Google News results each month, which result in about 1 billion clicks. Who doesn’t want a piece of that action?
For anyone that has tried to get their site in Google News before, it can be a tricky process due to the number of guidelines and caveats. To help navigate the waters of Google News, the basics for getting your site included are listed below.
Are you in Google News Already?
The last thing anyone wants to do is waste their time, therefore, before you go through all the steps to ask for submission to Google News, make sure you check to see if your site is included in already. To do this, select the “news” vertical in Google and do a site search (e.g. site:example.com). As seen below, you will be able to see how many (if any) results appear in the news vertical.
If you do, then your work here is done. Enjoy your inclusion in Google News! If not, keep reading to determine how to get in with the in-crowd!
What are the requirements for Google News?
Now that you know you’re not included in Google News, you are going to have to apply for inclusion. However, before you do that, you need to make sure you are playing the game by their rules.
See, where Google’s normal web search can be described as the club in high school everyone gets to join (as long as you follow the guidelines), Google News is like the varsity football or cheerleading team that only select the best. And in order to be the best, you have to know what you’re getting into.
Read through Google’s general, technical and quality guidelines and make sure you meet the requirements. If you decide to bypass this step and just submit your site for inclusion, the chances are you will be denied. And if you don’t make the cut the first time around, while you may not have to wait a year like you would to try out for the varsity team, you will have to wait 60 days. And who wants to wait another two months?!
Just make sure you do it right the first time. It takes patience, but it’s worth it!
How do I apply?
Now that you have determined that you are not already in the Google News search results and your site meets all the above requirements, you are ready to apply for inclusion.
Just a quick note to the eager beavers out there - If you decide to submit your site for inclusion before making sure you meet all the guidelines, the chances are you will be denied. This means that you won’t be able to reapply for another 60 days. This is why it is so important to make sure your site is ready.
To apply, all you have to do is fill out this form. They ask for basic information like the site URL, location of the original news articles, where author contact information can be found and so on.
Once you have that submitted, you should continue to monitor your site in the search results. If you get rejected, you may not know why, meaning you have to go through all the guidelines again and make sure your site meets that criteria. Then, you can re-apply 60 days later.
What is a Google News sitemap and do I need one?
Sitemaps for Google News are not necessary and it doesn’t help a site rank better in this vertical’s search results. Why even have one then, you ask? It’s simple, really. While the Google News sitemap may not help with rankings, your articles will get discovered faster, only your news articles will be crawled, the information in your articles will be more accurately displayed and your articles can be annotated with meta data.
There are two main differences between news and web sitemaps.
- Make sure your are properly using their keywords and queries
- Make sure the articles listed in your News sitemap are no more than two days old and contain a publication date
To show illustrate a proper new sitemap, below is a screenshot of the sitemap Google gives as an example:
To help you setup your own Google News sitemap, take a look at this page on Google’s site for some of the tags that should (or could) be included in your news sitemap.
How do I submit my Google News Sitemap?
Once you have created your sitemap, you can easily submit it using Google Webmaster Tools. Here are some simple step-by-step instructions that will help you do just that.
- Log in to Google Webmaster tools
- Verify the appropriate site
- Once the site is verified, find the “Sitemaps” section under “optimization” in the navigation bar on your Dashboard page
- Choose to “submit/test a sitemap” from the Sitemaps section of the navigation bar
- Enter the path to your sitemap in the text box that pops up
- Submit the Sitemap
Quick Tip: Keep in mind that you have to be included in Google News before you submit a sitemap. If you jump the gun and submit it before you are included, you may receive errors.
How can I improve my site’s visibility once ranked?
Getting your article displayed once it has been accepted by Google News can be seen as a gray area. There are no exact criteria for how to do this, however, below are some suggestions that can help:
- Timing - Google News is constantly flooded with new information, but sites that are constantly updating their sites have a higher likelihood of having their articles displayed. Articles should be updated on a fairly regular basis in order to constantly have new information.
- Titles - Create a title with keywords that people are searching for as opposed to a catchy title that does not inform readers about the article’s content.
- Angle - Not every article is going to be ground-breaking news, therefore, it is important to take a different approach. The site post should have an original angle that will make it interesting to readers and Google.
Hopefully after reading through these guidelines and how-to’s you have a better grasp on what you need to do in order for your site to rank in Google News. If you would like to do some additional reading, feel free to check out the Google News Support section or one of these resources:
- Google News SEO Practices
- How SEO Moz Gained 1000s of Visits from Google News
- New Opportunities in Google's Search Results
- 9 Tips for Getting Free Clicks Through Google News
- Getting Into Google News