Google News – getting in and getting optimised

What is Google News?

 
Google News collates stories from over 10,000 news sources from around the world, automatically arranging them to present the most relevant news first.


Google News is relatively unique in comparison to other news services in that Google's news results are compiled exclusively by computer algorithms, with no human intervention. There is also no political bias, unless that bias is accidental and no deliberate censorship unless required by law. Yahoo, in contrast, is heavily policed and editorially controlled by human editors.

Being instantly accessible from Google's default web interface, Google News represents a significant potential traffic stream if a site manages to get included as a News partner, and if it can efficiently and effectively feed Google with newsworthy and optimised articles on subjects and themes that people are actively searching for.

Furthermore, syndicating your content via the major PR newswires (PRWeb.com, Internet.com, BusinessWire.com, PRNewsWire.com) can be expensive whilst Google News represents free syndication (assuming you're accepted).

How do you get your pages into Google News?

 
Rejection of sites requesting inclusion in Google News is very common, with several commentators suggesting that far more requests are rejected than approved. This is understandable as Google News must ensure that its News results are not polluted by sites with little integrity; for example, hate groups, political zealots and sites that are primarily seeking to self-promote rather than to contribute to a valuable pool of knowledge and information. Google must maintain a position of integrity and this will always be reflected in its partner approval processes.

For these reasons it is always preferable to make a solid case to Google News for why your site should be included. Key things to use in making your case:

• Make noise about the experience and renown of your editors, authors and contributors.
• Make sure you are news related or mostly news related.
• Provide site stats to illustrate worthiness.
• Provide the historical background of the site.
• Identify and make noise about key sites that link to you.
• Draw attention to awards the site or its authors have won.

If the above are not adequately satisfied, a site will not be included, for example, a blog with only one author would be rejected.

The technical requirements
 

There are also technical requirements for inclusion, which should be complied with, and Google News should be told that these have been done as part of making your case. The technical requirements and issues are as follows:

• Each full text article must have a unique URL that remains the same and does not change over time. Sites will not be included that display multiple articles at the same URL. So a unique file location for a unique full-text article should be considered a compulsory requirement.

• Whilst often not required, an RSS feed of your articles will increase chances of acceptance.

• Avoid URLs that contain date parameters in file paths as Google News will often assume it is content that will change when the date changes. Press releases that include a date in the lead paragraph (first paragraph) earlier than the actual release date, typically do not get included into Google News. Lots of sites have been rejected for this and it's so easily avoided.

• As with traditional SEO, do not use unspiderable links to articles on the site, e.g. JavaScript links.

• The URL for each article must contain a unique number of at least three digits.

• Google News won't parse article pages for links so you'll need to create an Articles table of contents or sitemap, which should be the page submitted.

• Some smaller sites have been known to kill their servers by being highly positioned for something popular in Google News. For example, the top result in Google News if there were a terrorist attack will likely fry most relatively small sites.

• Press releases that are too short (less than approx 150 words), or too long (more than two pages or over 500 words) will be far less likely to get included. News releases that are too short, for example, will tend to read like an ad and thus will not be considered newsworthy.

• Whilst not a requirement, you should also provide pictures with articles as often as possible as Google News will often use the picture in the search results, increasing your chances of a click through. This may, of course, not always be feasible or relevant.

 

 

Submitting a site for inclusion
 

The Google page you need to submit a site for inclusion in Google News is:
http://www.google.com/support/news/bin/request.py?contact_type=recommend&submit=Continue

In the notes space provided you will need to make your case, as outlined earlier. Also, if you have an agency doing this for you, ensure that they use your contact details as opposed to their own, as this will expedite inclusion.

 

 

How do you rank high in Google News?
 

Google News ranks news articles in broadly the same way as Google ranks it's ordinary search results, so it is therefore imperative that content that is syndicated to Google News is optimised well enough for it to rank preferentially in Google News results pages.

This would therefore include ensuring that keyword usage is aligned with consumer search behaviour, content is semantically enriched, citations are used appropriately, the data architecture uses logical page groupings and all the usual basics (an optimised page title, h1 tags, keyword density, prominence, etc.)

 

 

Other factors that will impact rankings include:

 

• The frequency of 'story' submission impacts positively on your Google News rankings.
• The frequency of stories you break that are carbon copies of other sources' stories can reduce your rankings in Google News.

Being the first to break a particular piece of news also appears to have a positive impact (Greenlight has indeed found a statistical bias, but that could be the result of other variables at work by virtue of being first, e.g. the first source to break the story will also likely accumulate more inbound links into their story faster than everyone else). Either way, a story should be broken rapidly, even if the story has yet to be written in full, by breaking the story with a single summarising paragraph (of over 150 words ideally), and then completing the writing of the story as you would normally.

It is imperative that releases carry links back to your website too as this will increase the number and quality of links pointing to your site by virtue of third-phase syndications (whereby syndicated content is taken from the primary point of syndication and re-published on other web properties). These links back to your site increase your link popularity and ensure that your site ranks well not only in Google News, but in practically everything driven by a search engine algorithm.

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