When applying SEO on the majority of websites, common SEO practices can be followed to achieve high ranking positions and relevant traffic. However, when it comes to SEO for news sites and newspapers, things can change slightly and other elements must be addressed to maximise results. In the post I will cover the additional SEO elements for newspapers and other news based based websites only.

Google News Submissions

Google News snippets appear in standard SERP’s (Search engine results pages) and can offer quick promotion to high positions for specific news pieces. The inclusion is free, however, there are certain prerequisites that must be adhered to, see Google News inclusion requirements.

Here is an outline of some of the requirements:

  • 3 digits: For every separate news article page it must have a unique number that it is at least 3 digits long and appears as part of the URL
  • Drop down boxes: don’t show the different news articles in drop down boxes or search engines will not be able to search them
  • Flash: Google News does not recognise flash, so its recommended you do not use flash objects on these pages
  • Unique articles: The content must be unique to your website only and must be news and not blog posts
  • Author details available onsite: Google News will want to see the details of the authors writing your news onsite, so make sure they are on a separate URL before requesting inclusion

How would you categorise your site?
SEO for news

Think about the categories that you wish to apply for before you submit your request.

To apply for inclusion in Google News apply here.

Google News Specific Sitemaps

XML sitemaps are a great way to feed any new URLs on your website to Google, however for news websites separate news specific XMLs can be written. There is additional schema which can be applied to ensure all the relevant information is passed to Google News. This will maximise your chances of Google indexing your news before your competition. Here is a full list of the schema used for News specific XML sitemaps.
These will also allow you to ensure a thumbnail is assigned to each news piece, therefore helping to increase the CTR (Click through rate).


Adding the rel=”author” tag to each news piece will determine the author of the content and will help to increase the authority of the news site. Part of the validation criteria for acceptance in Google News is the number of authors writing content, therefore adding the author tag will also determine the real number of authors.

How do I add the rel=“author” tag to my website?

To add the code manually to each news article is simple, just paste the following code in the <HEAD> section of your news page along with a link to the author bio page.
<a rel=”author” href=”../authors/mattcutts”>Matt Cutts</a>
However adding this facility into a CMS maybe a little tricker. Generally your web developer should be able to create a formula (rule) which your CMS understands, which will automatically add the code to the news page by accessing the Author’s information onpage.

These are the core elements to successful SEO for News, new and upcoming algorithms are always being released and tested so ensure you stay up to date with the latest changes.

Managing director of Iliffe Newsgroup (including Cambridge News, MK News, Hertfordshire Mercury) stated: “4Ps Marketing have always advised on the latest industry changes for our newsgroup, allowing us to stay up to date in terms of search.

4Ps isn’t just another SEO agency. To discuss how SEO and content are evolving together in order to keep pace with new developments in user interaction and search behaviour, give us a call on +44 (0)207 607 5650 for a no-obligation coffee and chat about data, marketing and technology across all inbound channels. Where could a 4Ps content marketing strategy take your business?