31 Tips for Getting Your Stories Found in Google News
Google news is one of the world’s most popular news portals and if you can get your website to be indexed as a news website by Google and show up on Google news, it will do wonders for your page rank, traffic, and general site visibility. Also Google Alerts—email alerts by subjects or keyword demarcated by users—are a huge draw and can spread your little-known, or well known, website far and wide.
Google re-indexes news sites rapidly—every 12 hours—so if a story changes it will get updated as well. Also, over 40% of Twitter referral traffic is news, meaning when you use Twitter your reach, the number of people your website or story gets to, increases substantially. Click here for a good background on the impact and relevance of Google News.
Here are 31 tips to get your stories on Google News
- Index your website as a news website. The only way to do this is to send a formal request to Google.
- Abide by SEO rules. Read Google webmaster central to learn more, or our recent post SEO checklist: 10 tips to rank higher.
- Build in a faster site response time: A faster response time is more favorable to indexing on Google News. For more details on how to increase your page load speed read 6 Tips for Improving your Page Load Speed to Rank Higher.
- Publish original content: Original content sets you apart.
- Publish with multiple authors: Google limits accessing and indexing of sites that are written and maintained by one individual and generally prefers to include articles from sources that could be considered organizations, generally characterized by multiple writers and editors, availability of organizational information, and accessible contact information.
- Proper attribution: All good news sites use proper attribution, links, and identified sources. This is also a good SEO practice you should adopt and keep.
- Format your site to make it look like news, not a blog: Google aims to include true news sites, not blogs, and formatting with multiple authors and frequently updated content helps to distinguish the two.
- Use permanent, non-duplicate URLs: Doing so will promote SEO by increasing page rank.
- Don’t use registration walls: Allow clicking for free or free trial access to information to promote the spread of links and access to information. Displaying just excerpts, or prompting for registration before allowing reading will hurt your visibility efforts and might send a signal to Google that you are not truly a news site.
- Don’t change URLs: A new story should get a new URL. Think of your website as a newspaper: If there was an update to a news story you would not reprint the entire newspaper with an update on the story, you would write a new article and open with a quick preface or a header noting that it was an update. This is also good for SEO as you increase the number of indexed pages.
- Never use the same headline as the Associated Press (AP) or your headline will not be seen. Choose your headline wisely; sometimes using just the right headline can help you to get more notice than much lager publications. (An LA Times link might be “4.5 Quake” versus your winning “LA Earthquake.”)
- Write stories in an “inverted pyramid” style: The so-called inverted pyramid style of news writing (with the lead and distillation of the news at the top of the story followed by the bulk of the story and news at the end) fits SEO and will aid in Google’s automated crawling and categorizing of news.
- Put your site URL in first paragraph.
- Write for people, not search engines: This will ensure readers.
- Write short stories: Shorter news stories of 200-250 words are best.
- Include locations to boost geographic relevance to current events.
- Use bolded subheadlines and include keywords.
- Avoid acronyms to promote searching. They are not reader friendly and they are also bad for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). If you must use an acronym add parenthesis with the full definition.
- Violate rules of the AP Stylebook when you need to. (For example using Clinton in a first reference instead of AP’s preferred “former President Bill Clinton.” )
- For numbers use digits, don’t spell them out.
- Refrain from using hyphenated keywords because hyphenated words are less searched than non-hyphenated words.
- Include images: News with images have higher click-through rates and will get ranked higher.
- Use large images: Large (at least 180 x 180 pixels) images are more likely to be clicked.
- Optimize Images: Image optimization is critical because images are searched heavily on Google News. Optimize images with alt tags, and write unique but accurate alt tags.
- Use unique images when possible: Try to use images no one else is using to differentiate your site and story.
- Use JPEG files, not GIF files for images: JPEGs are smaller in size and higher resolution than GIFs.
- Add video to the end of an article: Video allows indexing on YouTube and other video sites. For more details on optimizing videos for search engines read Optimize Video for SEO: B2B Marketing Tip.
- Write news from a different angle: Instead of using a common approach, supply a fresh news angle.
- Use Google Trends/ Hot Searches to see what’s being searched on and match the trend.
- Use Twitter to find journalists looking for help on stories: A post on Twitter offering expertise can lead your company to be included as a source in a news story.
- Optimize and socialize PR. For more details on how to optimize your press release read Top Ten Tips for Optimizing Your Press Release for SEO.
Have other tips for getting your stories found in Google news? Share them with us.