Not everyone gets their news from a TV-broadcast news station. According to a Pew survey, 43 percent of Americans now look online for news stories
As a webmaster, you can take advantage of this trend by optimizing your website for Google News. If Google features your website in its news aggregator, you'll notice a substantial increase in traffic.
First, however, you must optimize your website so that it's worthy of a Google News listing.
What Is Google News?
Released in January 2006, Google News is a web-based service that aggregates news stories from over 20,000 websites.
If a user wants to find information about a current event or any other news story, he or she can search for it on Google News. It's available by clicking the "News" tab below the search query field on both desktop and mobile versions of Google.
There's also a Google News app available specifically for Android and iOS devices.
Publish Original News Stories
Your website won't appear in Google News if it consists solely or mostly of evergreen content. To get your website featured in Google's news aggregator, you must publish original news stories.
In other words, avoid publishing articles that are relevant for a long period of time and, instead, publish time-sensitive articles about current events.
Time-sensitive articles don't generate as much traffic, over time, as evergreen articles, but they are the basis on which Google News works.
By default, Google News displays news stories from the past 30 days. After being published for 30 days, a news story typically won't appear in Google News.
By publishing lots of relevant and original news stories, though, your website will continue to rank in Google News.
Perfect Your Journalism Skills
Creating high-quality news stories worthy of a Google News listing requires excellent journalism skills. With fake news becoming more common, Google News now places even more weight on journalism than it did in the past.
Here are some tips to improve your journalism skills and increase your chance of getting featured in Google News:
- Write from an unbiased, impartial viewpoint.
- Don't make unfounded statements.
- Focus on writing in present tense rather than past tense.
- Verify information from multiple credible sources before including it in a news story.
- Cover the five Ws: who, what, when, where, and why.
- Be concise with your writing, eliminating phrases or words that don't add value to the news story.
- Stick with a single, well-known writing style, such as Associated Press (AP) or the Chicago Manual of Style.
- Ensure news stories are free of spelling and grammatical errors.
Add Schema Markup
Adding schema markup -- a form of metadata that's nested into HTML -- to your website can increase its chances of ranking in Google News.
You can use the NewsArticle markup, for example, to provide Google with metadata about a news story, including its headline, publish date, modified date, and the URL of a thumbnail image. Check out schema.org/NewsArticle for more information on how to use this schema markup.
While Google hasn't confirmed the use of schema markup as a ranking signal for Google News, many SEO professionals believe it's an influential factor.
Schema markup helps Google understand your website's news stories while also increasing its credibility. Furthermore, it allows you to specify a thumbnail image for your news stories, which Google News will display in your website's listing.
Use the AMP Framework
Using Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) framework can also help your website rank in Google News. Released 2016, the open-source framework aims to improve the performance of web pages for mobile users.
To use AMP, you must develop two versions of your website: an AMP version and non-AMP version. Although this sounds difficult, there are several tools available that can streamline the creation of AMP pages.
You can also check your website to see if it contains AMP-valid code by visiting search.google.com/test/amp.
Build Website Authority
If Google doesn't view your website as an authority, it won't feature it in its aggregator. When browsing Google News, you'll probably discover most of the websites indexed consist of big brands like The New York Times, The Guardian, Reuters, CBS News, CNBC, USA Today, The Verge and Wall Street Journal.
With that said, Google News still features other, smaller brands, but only if Google believes they are an authoritative news source.
To build authority, use a multi-faceted marketing strategy that involves promoting your website's brand, as an online news publication, on a variety of other sites and platforms.
On social media networks, you can share news stories under your website's name. On blogs, you can submit guest posts with a byline featuring your author name as well as your website's brand, such as, "This post was written by Joey Daniels of example.com."
After developing a credible news website, you can ask Google to include your site in its news aggregator service. While Google uses an algorithm to determine which news stories to index, as well as where to rank them, in Google News, it manually reviews all websites before featuring them in its news aggregator.
To request inclusion in Google News, make sure you've verified ownership of your website in Google Search Console. If you haven't, you'll need to verify it. Once verified, head over to the Google News Publisher Center at news.google.com/publisher and click the request inclusion link.
Within one to three weeks, Google News's quality control team will review your website and, hopefully, grant your request.
If you're looking for new ways to boost your website's traffic, you should optimize it for Google News. According to Google, Google News drives over 10 billion visits to news websites each month. By securing a placement in Google's news aggregator, users will have a convenient new way to find your website.