As Google continues to dominate in terms of search engine marketshare, website owners are constantly seeking new ways to bring traffic from there to their own sites, as well.
Getting listed in Google News is a fantastic way to earn more attention for your content, thanks to the increased visibility Google gives top stories.
In the past, there were several steps to being considered for listing in Google News.
Late in 2019, however, Google changed its policy and removed the requirement to submit your site.
Instead, Google states:
“Publishers are automatically considered for Top stories or the News tab of Search. They just need to produce high-quality content and comply with Google News content policies.”
Even so, practical tips and advice on Google News eligibility from the past are still effective today.
So, how can you get your content featured in the Top Stories section of the search results?
If you want to know how to get your newsworthy website content into Google News, this post is for you.
What Is Google News?
Google News is a computer-generated vertical search engine that collects and aggregates news stories and headlines from thousands of information sources worldwide.
Google then displays them based on a variety of factors including user preferences and interests, relevancy, content freshness, and authority.
While users can access Google News directly by going to https://news.google.com/, Google also prominently features News articles within their main search results pages.
Here’s an example of what the Google News home screen looks like (the default view is Top stories and is driven by location, as well as user preferences):
Take note of features including:
- Search bar functionality (typical search engine use).
- Filtering (region and news type i.e. modern, classic, headlines, or compact).
- Side navigation (quick topic filtering functionality).
- Weather app.
- Location and preference-based information widget (displaying local news based on preferences and location data).
- Editors’ picks.
- Top stories (region set and global).
- Suggested for you (user behavior and preference-based data).
Why Do Websites Want to Get Into Google News?
The obvious answer to this from a holistic point of view is to increase brand/expert/service reach, visibility, and traffic (some of which will ultimately lead to increased sales and end results).
Realistically, though, the answer is more complex.
Over 60% of people trust Google News over other news outlets.
This level of trust, when combined with the desired outcomes mentioned above, opens up broader business value outside of the traditional search metrics of impressions, traffic, and revenue.
Trust can be a key online differentiator between brands and websites, impacting user behavior at both pre-click (advert) and post-click (website) stages.
For many businesses, inclusion within Google News is another way of making more out of current and future content.
When you invest a great deal of time, money, and resources into any area of your website, you need to make that investment work hard for you as a return.
In addition, the Top stories section can be a quicker entry point to highly competitive search results.
Here’s an example of a Google News result taking up valuable real estate in a highly competitive search engine results page.
Getting Into Google News
As with all of Google’s search results, following guidelines and best practices can get your content included and ranked highly in Google News.
In the following sections, we focus on the core guidelines you must follow for any likelihood of success within Google News.
As you might imagine, the content must be timely, relevant, and of perceived interest to the Google News audience.
Some content that does not fall into this category includes tips and advice, job adverts, or information-only content such as the weather or stock prices.
Originality & Readability
Content has to be accurate and original.
If your site has a mixture of self-generated and aggregated content, you need to clearly differentiate this. Otherwise, none of it will get into (or stay in) Google News.
Also, content must be well-written and devoid of excessive distractions such as adverts, videos, and so forth.
Expertise & Trust
Content that reflects industry-leading expertise has a greater chance of getting into Google News.
This content should offer a clear opinion, based on expertise and experience within the field.
It should also be supported by trust signals including a physical address, supporting authorship, and telephone numbers.
For more, see the full list of Google News general guidelines.
Google uses algorithm-based processing when it discovers and crawls articles for inclusion in Google News, and there are a number of technical factors that must be satisfied.
Many of these are traditional SEO ranking factors and others relate specifically to Google News.
Ensure the following:
- URLs and anchor links are descriptive of the content, unique and permanent.
- The domain on which the content is hosted needs to be accessible to search engine bots.
To learn more, read the full list of technical guidelines.
Quality is present throughout every aspect of the Google ethos.
If you are unsure about what determines quality in content, take a look at the Webmaster Quality Guidelines. Look at your content objectively so you can compare it to the top ranking sites on the same topic.
Ensure your content exceeds the basic requirements like depth, variation, opinion, expertise, trust, and statistics.
It’s worth stressing again at this point that Google News accepts news content only.
Trying to get all of your pages in is a poor tactic and you’re destined to fail.
Content in most cases will be industry-specific and company-neutral so it is not marketing or PR-based.
Also, while it may include expert quotes and opinions, it cannot be a business advert or anything promotional.
Google News Tips & Advice
There are a number of other tactics that can be used to help you get your content to display and rank in Google News.
Here are a few of the most practical ones.
Doing the Basics Well
There are broader areas that can positively impact your Google News eligibility and ranking – many of these are down to getting the basic stuff right.
News content should be clearly labeled as such. It should:
- Have a unique subfolder (i.e., exampledomain.com/news).
- Each news story needs to have a descriptive URL reflecting the content topic.
New content needs to be accessible, load quickly, and be rich in information. It should also have value, be topical, supported by fact, and independent of salesy tones.
You should publish news frequently and consistently – every week or every day, for example, rather than 10 articles one day and then nothing else for a month.
Make the content easy to read, share, and engage with – the more user quality signals that come from the content, the better.
By creating a unique sitemap for Google News and submitting this directly to Google, you are able to take control over the news content items which are meeting or exceeding the Google guidelines criteria and highlight those most likely to deliver the results you are looking for.
As with all sitemaps, this can speed up and improve the success rates for Google finding your content and displaying it within the search results.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
At a top-level, AMPs are versions of web pages that have been stripped of almost all types of non-text content that could potentially cause slow loading.
AMPs are predominantly for publishers, as people want to digest news content fast, on the move, and using almost any device and varying levels of internet connection.
Submitting Your Website
While submission is no longer required, signing up and submitting your site via Google’s Publisher Center does provide some additional benefits as described by Google:
- Content and branding control: Design, brand, and customize your publication’s sections and content in Google News.
- Monetization opportunity: Run ads inside your content area in the app. Google News supports ad serving via Google Ad Manager, including premium solution ads. Publishers can use paywalls in Newsstand through Subscribe with Google.
- Placement eligibility: Publications with business terms are eligible to be in the Newsstand section of the app (in applicable countries/regions). We do not guarantee placement. Publications are independently selected for Newsstand by our merchandising team based on promotional timing, quality of user experience, and relevance to promotional theme.
In addition, some publishers have reported being included in Google News much more quickly after submitting their site.
Meta News Keywords Tag & Editors’ Picks
Historically, Google utilized a meta news tag (meta name=”news_keywords”) and editors’ picks to allow publishers to identify the topics of their articles.
As Google News aggregation became more sophisticated and AI-driven, Google deprecated both features.
This change prevented publishers from abusing the tags and put even more emphasis on the best practices discussed above.
Get Listed In Google News: A Recap
There’s no doubt that there are many benefits of being listed in Google News and it can give your website an entry point to highly competitive search results.
It cannot be stressed enough, though, that Google accepts news content only.
Your content must be accurate, original, timely, relevant, and of interest to the Google News Audience.
Make sure to follow both the guidelines (general, technical, and quality) and the best practices discussed above, and you may well be on your way to getting your newsworthy website content into Google News.
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All screenshots taken by author, 2021.