First, why would you want to be picked up by Google News? What are the benefits?
The aim of Google News is to filter through the world’s news and make timely news accessible to readers in a way that’s easy for them to read, understand, and put to use. What does this mean for your website and your brand? Lots of traffic, credibility, and authority, of course.
What’s Required to Get Your Website on Google News
Google News doesn’t work the same way as the Google search engine. The Google search engine sends out crawlers that scans the web for updates and indexes those updates. Google News has crawlers too, but they only crawl and index websites and content that has already been approved to be on the list. This means you have to submit your site to be considered. Anyone can submit their site to Google News but in order to be accepted it has to meet certain criteria.
- You have to create compelling content on a daily basis. It has to be news that’s relevant to your audience.
- You have to follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines which includes the quality of your content, design of your content, the technical aspects of your website (using WordPress and a professional theme will satisfy this – just make sure it loads fast).
- Once you’re sure you meet these guidelines you have to take it a step further and follow Google News Guidelines. This covers standards for writing, accountability, authority, readability, technical guidelines, and news quality guidelines.
- Once you meet these guidelines it’s time to submit your site. To do this, submit a Google News Sitemap. One great way to do this is by using a plugin.
Here are a few things about your website to consider:
Your URL Structure
You’ll need to pay attention to your URL structure. Make sure your URLs are unique. If you use the same common headlines that you see on other sites then yours won’t stand out. Try to word it in a way that’s unique and descriptive. Longer is fine and allows you to be more descriptive, but if you need it short then have no less than three digits. Make sure your URL’s are permanent.
What About Redirects for Previous Posts?
Previous posts will be picked up by the Google News crawlers, however, if you’re redirecting to a new site you’ll need to make sure that the 301s from the old site are working properly. Review your crawl errors regularly and fix any issues as quickly as possible. Also, make sure the new site doesn’t have any 404 errors.
Submit Site to Google News – Plugins You Can Use
Your site needs an XML sitemap so Google knows what you’re contents are. Also, when you post something new you want Google to know about it. The best way to do this is by using a plugin. There are several good plugins that will automatically create a sitemap and ping search engines about your updates. Here is a look at a few of the best plugins that are made specifically to build sitemaps for and ping Google News with updates.
XML Sitemap & Google News Feeds
This free plugin will create an XML sitemap and send your updates to Google News. It works great and it’s extremely simple. Once you’ve installed it you have to enable the Google News Sitemap feature in the settings. You can also choose what’s included as far as posts, pages, categories, tags, etc. This plugin is not difficult to set up and use. It even works with multi-sites.
News SEO by Yoast
This is a premium extension for the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin. It doesn’t submit your articles to Google News but it does optimize your site for news SEO. It will create the news sitemap, editor’s picks RSS feeds, allows you to use tags, stock tickers, lets you specify news keywords, set a genre, etc. You can even exclude categories if you want. Prices start at $69.
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Google News Best Practices
- Publish unique high-quality content.
- Content must be well written and engaging.
- Publish on a regular basis – at least five articles per day, more if possible.
- Content must be timely.
- Structure your titles as news articles that describe the topics. Keep in mind these are news articles and are not written like blog articles. Write 250 or more words for each article.
- Separate your content so that only news articles are submitted to Google News. Google News excludes articles such as how-tos and job postings.
- Use relevant images.
- If possible have multiple authors.
- Use ads sparingly.
- Have Contact and About pages.
- Use a professional WordPress theme to make it look like a news site.
- Set up Google Analytics
- Set up and verify your website in Google Webmaster Tools for Google News.
Once your site has met the criteria it’s time to submit your site to the Google News Publishing Center for approval. For even more tips on how to start your news take a look at this another detailed guide.
Have you submitted your site to Google News? Do you use a plugin to create a sitemap and submit your updates? Is there another plugin you would recommend? Do you have anything to add about how to submit site to Google News? Let us know about your experience and best practices in the comments section below!