5 steps to Google News optimisation
1. When optimising google news content you need to ensure that you include relevant keywords in your metadata. Images should be non-clickable JPEGs with descriptive Alt tags to enable them to be displayed with a headline if popular.
2. Including titles in your links can improve click through rates.
3. To be included in the Google News rankings you must create permanent unique URLs for your articles which contain at least three digits as well as letters.
4. Make sure that you list the publication date between the title and text body to ensure that they are indexed correctly by Google’s date extractors. Also ensure that the text body is uninterrupted, just paragraphs with no comments or links in between
5. Separate press release sections from original news sections to ensure that Google can distinguish between them.
These five steps are a good starting point for improving your news rankings but there are also other aspects of promoting your content which you should consider which I will discuss in the next section.
How well do ‘normal’ SEO tactics work with Google News?
Google News can be a good way of promoting a News based site, the algorithms at work in Google News differ slightly from those in the web search in that they give less favour to the PageRank of the publisher and more focus on the freshness and frequency of updates. Greater weighting is given to pages created by someone with personal and/or local knowledge of the subject, as they are thought to be a more accurate source.
(This means that you don’t have to worry about competing against trusted sources such as the BBC site or other vast news networks to get views, if you can publish a news story before these sites then you will get the top spot and could also become a trusted source in your own right. This gives the amateur reporter a greater chance of achieving top rankings for articles than they would on the normal web search. It is also useful to know that Google will crawl sites with different content into “editions” (sport, politics, etc.) so it is possible for a publisher to be well reputed for some subject matters but don’t need to be an expert in all fields.)
The Google News crawlers have been designed to update more regularly in the first few days of a page’s life (every 15 minutes for first 30 days), as no one is particularly interested in old news are they? So if you want to optimise your website for Google News it would make sense to update in as much detail as you can in the first 24 hours.
Do blogs count in Google News rankings?
On Google News it is possible to submit blogs as well as URLs, so if you are writing a blog it might be a good idea to work on developing your blog community with those who have similar interests. This will increase the chance of your work being cited which helps to improve the ranking of the original content. Also, if you have a blog or site that has consistently created quality content and has experienced a lot of click-throughs then Google will count these as votes in favour of your site.
Having a good blog structure or XML sitemap for your URL with clear sections and sub sections as it allows for better indexing by the crawlers of publication dates and keywords that help the search engine categorise and group your content more easily.
Finally, this week Google News added a blog and press release filter for Google login members, the filter allows you to filter how much content you receive in your News homepage which looks like this;
As well as adding the filter, Monday’s update saw Google attempting to improve the depth of content with a “click to expand” option. This allows users to select news from headings and then scroll through genre labels, like “opinion” or “in depth,” to explain why they were listed in that news cluster.
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