News is served on a variety of Google products, notably Google Search, YouTube, Google Assistant, and Google Discovery. Perhaps most well known is Google News — Google’s news aggregation service which was launched in 2006.
While the standards and procedures that Google applies to cultivating regular Google Search results also largely apply to Google News, there are some necessary differences as well.
The algorithm Google uses to crawl and sort these pages behaves in slightly different ways. To properly optimize their online content, news organizations need to be aware of these differences and what strategies constitute best practices.
Best Practices for Creating Highly Optimized News Content
According to the Google News Publisher Help Center, the following are the major ranking factors for Google News:
- Relevance of content.
Furthermore, the content you see in the Google News tab is curated according to your personal interests and online activity. This may adjust what types of content or which publishers the Google News tab serves you.
There are many steps that you can take to optimize for these ranking factors. The following are best practices for creating highly optimized news content:
- Ensure that your website is a dedicated news site. Otherwise, your content will not be eligible to appear in the Google News tab.
- Submit your website to the Google News Publisher Center. Doing so gives you the ability to directly submit content and adjust your preferences. It can also help you monetize your content.
- Conduct keyword research. Use settings specific to the Google News tab if available on your chosen keyword analysis tool.
- Keep in mind that searches will peak approximately two weeks before expected or recurring events like Black Friday.
- Include relevant and unique photos and videos.
- Optimize for mobile and improve page speed.
- Publish promptly to capitalize on the effervescent value of news.
- Submit any relevant YouTube content to Google News.
- Avoid creating any content that is explicit or hateful.
Above all, it is vital that the content you publish includes thorough, high-quality information that directly pertains to the expectations set by its title.
Important Information To Include in High-quality News Content
While the specific information that you include in a news article will depend on the specific story, some typical elements should be included in virtually every high-quality news article, including:
- The date of publication and any relevant dates and times related to the events discussed;
- The relevant entities in the events discussed;
- Highlights of the major elements of the events discussed;
- Hyperlinked primary or otherwise authoritative sources;
- A discussion of where the situation stands now and how it is expected to develop;
- Information about where to find more updates about developments.
A focus on a quickly developing or temporary situation is just one way that news SEO differs from other forms of SEO.
How News Optimization Differs From Other Types of SEO
In many ways, news SEO follows very similar principles and best practices as other forms of SEO. For example, it is still important to do relevant keyword research, develop high-quality content, and publish regularly. However, there are also some significant differences between effective strategies for news SEO and more typical types of SEO.
Most notably, there is little focus on the evergreen quality of your content in news SEO. There are some exceptions, as people may want to refresh their memory of past events at a later date. However, generally speaking, the focus of news content will be on a currently developing event that is expected to change or end relatively quickly. As such, by its nature news content is not meant to remain relevant over long periods.
How To Compete With Larger News Organizations
The following are strategies that you can use to compete with larger news organizations as a smaller news website:
- Offer a unique take: You can set your content apart by providing a unique perspective on the issue, including offering primary sources or original reporting.
- Publish very promptly: By ensuring that you publish content quickly, you can maximize its timeliness and relevance.
- Focus on a niche: It can be easier to build a reputation within a specific niche rather than as a generalized news provider.
- Focus on a location: It can be easier to build a reputation for news pertaining to a particular location rather than tackling news on a larger scale.
- Understand how to utilize different platforms: If you are adept at navigating various platforms for news, you may be able to get a leg up compared to other organizations.
- Prioritize visibility and accessibility: You can provide significant value to consumers by making your content easy to find and easy to consume.
- Strengthen your website’s authority signals: By strengthening authority signals on your website you can boost your online visibility.
- Focus on professionalism: With an emphasis on journalistic integrity and the development of high-quality content, you can demonstrate legitimacy.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that successful competition with larger organizations will not come easy. This goal will have to be part of a greater long-term strategy.
Developing Your Long-term Strategy
Steps that you should take when developing your long-term strategy include:
- Strengthen your authority signals;
- Carefully organize your website;
- Build high-quality backlinks;
- Develop optimized keyword content;
- Consider developing optimized linkable assets;
- Determine what your long-term goals are;
- Determine what your major key performance indicators (KPIs) are;
- Determine what your niche is;
- Begin to develop your website’s style and voice;
- Develop a style guide;
- Build helpful connections.
It will also be helpful to your long-term success to ensure that your website is structured properly and utilizes valuable technical elements and strategies.
Technical SEO Best Practices for Google News
The following technical SEO strategies can help optimize your news content:
- Utilize structured data to allow Google to better understand your content.
- Utilize standard file name extensions, such as .jpeg.
- Ensure that a robots.txt file or metatags aren’t hindering Google’s ability to view your images.
- Use tracking pixel codes to track impressions.
- Secure the pages of your website with Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).