Recently I was asked to do some preliminary research for a client regarding Google News inclusion. More specifically, I was asked how a website’s content (articles) gets included or listed in a Google News feed. Those of you who are unaware, Google tends to pick up the latest news from a plethora of sources, which gets included and circulated in its Google News feed for daily consumption. Sites that typically appear in Google News are all the big names in media such as CNN, The Wall Street Journal and The BBC.
How does a new (or new-ish) website’s content show up in a Google News feed? This was the question posed to me. It really made me wonder, how does Google source and circulate quality content? Obviously, not all the latest news comes from the large media outlets. Google understands and realizes this, so there must be a way for Google to analyze and collect all the latest content no matter where it comes from. All these questions made me begin a search for the specific steps required to get included in the coveted News Feed.
The goal of this article it to save readers a great deal of research time by providing the precise steps advocated by Google itself for its news feed inclusion. So without further ado, let’s begin in a step by step fashion.
Step 1: Site Architecture and Technical Requirements
Fortunately, Google has provided guidelines around the types of sites it likes to include in its news feed from a technical perspective. This is quite straightforward and objective. Here are the guidelines from Google that you may want to share with your webmaster or developer (if you are in the process of creating a website).
Step 2: Content Guidelines
Here’s where it gets tricky. Google has a long string of content guidelines. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- News Content: All content should be timely and on topics that are of importance to people.
- Journalistic Standards: All reporting and content should be original (this is a no brainer)
- Authority: Sites should clearly exhibit authority and expertise on the topic(s) being covered or discussed.
- Accountability: Google prefers authors that are clear and transparent (this means putting up a picture and a contact e-mail address. More on this in Step 4).
- Readability: It goes without saying that all articles should be clearly written and free of any grammatical and punctuation mistakes.
Step 3: Authorship and Author Rank
Google has been advocating Author Rank for quite some time now. Much like PageRank, Author Rank strives at giving authors credit for content no matter who the publisher is. Let’s use Fareed Zakaria (who has a show on CNN) as an example. The author writes for Newsweek and sometimes guest writes for a number of other news publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Time. Google intends to give credit to famous authors so that they can build “rank” or reputation across all the publications they choose to write for. This would also help the publication itself as they now have content from a high Author Rank writer, much like getting a link from a High PR site.
The goal here is to make sure the content on your site is authored by someone who has a high Author Rank and thus conveys authority on any given subject.
Step 4: Transparency of Writers
Google also prefers all authors to be as transparent as possible on the site. Ghost writing will not cut it. Each author should have a picture and contact information and maybe even an associated Google + page. This shows transparency of the author and builds trust among readers. I know from personal experience that readers like to “know” whose content they are reading. This is especially true for newsworthy articles.
Step 5: Frequency
Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to publish 10 new articles a day. Once a day maybe enough (depending on what your site is geared towards). Think about any news publication. New content is delivered daily and your site should be no different (considering it’s on a specific niche). If your site is covering many different industries and topics, then you may want to consider writing a new article daily for each industry being covered. Quality is more important than quantity, so that should be at the forefront of your content strategy.
Step 6: Inclusion
Once you believe your site is ready and meets all the above requirements, then it’s time to formally file for inclusion. That can be done here. According to a Google employee, It could take Google up to several weeks to get back to you on whether your site meets the guidelines for inclusion.
There you have it, a short and concise guide on how to get included in a Google News Feed. Until next time, good luck and may the SEO force be with you!
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