Indexing your website on Google News can undoubtedly boost your traffic and bring you increased visibility. After a long period without algorithm changes, a major one has happened in summer 2018 dedicated to Google News. But what is Google News?
In this article, we will introduce you to the service and its history, how to be referenced on Google News, and the benefits.
What is Google News?
Google News is a free service that offers a digest of online press articles and automatically collected according to specific criteria. One can say that Google News is a search engine exclusively designed for breaking news.
The contents are split into 8 categories:
- USA (or the country selected)
- Local news
- Science and Technology
The strength of Google News lies in the enormous amount of data collected and the quality of how information is sorted on a given subject. Since its creation, the success of this news aggregator made by Google is a powerful tool to use for your SEO.
By definition, media (local, national and international) represents the largest share of websites positioned on Google News. Why? They produce a huge amount of content every day and are the first to be informed of an event, and therefore the most reactive.
Currently, Google News is available in 22 countries and includes over 50,000 different news sources.
Google News: how does it work?
Similar to the websites referenced on the SERP, Google gives great importance to the quality and truthfulness of the content available, in order to never betray the trust of its users. The bots in charge of indexing work in the same way. Just like the algorithms that dictate the functioning of the search engine itself, the Google News algorithm is top secret. What we do know is that the algorithm analyzes the content and highlights the most relevant ones according to various indicators such as the number of clicks, the reliability of the news outlet, its geographical proximity to the event covered, the date and time of publication, the contribution of new elements…
The contents referenced on Google News are grouped by subject/theme and remain accessible for a maximum of 30 days. At the end of this period, they are removed for more recent news. Nothing surprising here, as Google News favors up-to-date news.
If Google News is so popular, it is also due to the changes in the media world. The increase in media outlets inevitably leads to information overload, making it more and more difficult for online users to sort out and find THE right information. Entrusting this selection to Google saves a lot of search time, and ensures the quality of the information found!
6 reasons why indexing your website on Google News is important
Whether you are a media outlet or not, referencing your website on Google News has several advantages for your traffic and SEO.
A new source of traffic
It’s no secret that Google is the most used search engine in the world with a market share of over 90%, and close to 92% in France. Every week, Google News drives 1 billion visitors to the websites it references, and almost 6 billion more if we take into account “classic” web queries . On main news websites, Google News can generate up to 70% of the overall traffic.
In addition, the way the news is presented allows for quick and easy access to the related website. Last but not least, the click rate on the first links available “Google News” after a search can reach up to 20 to 25%. ”
Traditional press declines for the benefit of Google, therefore it is essential to be visible on Google News, and if possible in a good position!
Google News content in zero position
The Holy Grail of SEO for SEO agencies and companies is the zero position. It offers the best visibility to your content and highlighting it. The contents indexed by Google News appear in position zero on Google, getting the most clicks!
On mobile, the result(s) displayed in zero position take up almost all the available space on the screen. Once again there’s nothing more efficient.
Target your content to qualified readers
Google News users customize the tool according to their preferences and interests, whether personal or professional. This feature allows you to make a ”pre-selection” and automatically refine your readership. Therefore, it is a great way to get new leads as users reading your content are interested in the topic.
With Google News, you can also reach new readers who did not know about your content before.
In the same way, since Google takes into account the geographical position, the news displayed in Google News is based on the location of the user in order to provide relevant news.
Take advantage of universal search with the display of external results on the SERP
Available since 2007, the universal search consists of displaying resources of different types: video, shopping, maps, news, images… among which are the classic ”blue links” search results. Google News provides this ” mix ” of content to bring great and consistent information to users. This universal search has a positive impact on your SEO.
One of Google’s greatest strengths is the trust users have in it. In our digital world, the search engine is perceived as an extremely reliable source of information, much more so than the so-called traditional news channels (TV, press, radio…). When a website is referenced by Google News, it becomes instantly trustworthy. Being selected by Google is a genuine sign of quality, it also implies that the website meets all the criteria required by the American company.
Last but not least…
Google News can boost your SEO!
When working on your pages to reference them on Google News, you improve the overall SEO of your pages at the same time, therefore of your website. The indexing criteria are identical for the search engine and News part. So any effort made for one works for the other! Isn’t that great?
How to be referenced on Google News?
In theory, any website could be referenced on Google News organically, as long as you can quickly provide reliable and unique information. Contrary to popular belief, Google News is not, or at least no longer, exclusively reserved for big media.
In practice, you must respect a certain number of criteria. As you know, Google is very picky. Discover the checklist of essential requirements for Google News indexing:
HTTPS websites and legal notice
Security comes first, if Google plans to penalize every website that is not in HTTPS, referencing them on its News tool is pure fantasy. So, if it is not already the case, switch your website to the HTTPS protocol as soon as possible!
Also, if you want to be available on Google News, having a legal notice of your website is mandatory!
A section of your website dedicated to news
Your tree view should clearly show a differentiated section dedicated to current events. This section should be regularly updated with new content, to suggest that you have the latest information on a given subject.
A team of trustworthy and expert writers
You should not have a single writer for your website. Your writers must be professionals, follow an editorial review process, post a biography that justifies their experience, and be easily contactable by email or on social networks. Your content must be signed, dated, and of course written in perfect English!
Structure your pages and content
Hn tagging must be done with care, your pages and articles must be readable and structured so that bots can easily find them.
Another important point: your TITLE and H1 tags must be IDENTICAL!
Mandatory formats and image attributes
Text content should take precedence over visual content. If you add images to your content, make sure they are in GIF or JPEG formats and they include alt, width, and height attributes.
Provide qualitative and unique content daily
A few rules must be followed to guarantee the quality of the contents indexed in the News section. Your content must:
- breaking news and latest events must be covered impartially and analytically;
- user comfort is paramount, so focus on clarity and readability, don’t use too many ads;
- be unique and genuine, obviously, duplicate content is banned!
To maximize your chances of appearing on Google News, you must publish at least 3 articles every day. For more insights, have a look at our guide: 10 mistakes to avoid in content marketing!
Build on transparency and trust
After the 3 main rules, here are the 3 things to avoid doing:
- mislead online users by using cloaking, automated content, or hidden texts and links;
- keyword stuffing, artificial links, satellite websites, and other over-optimization techniques;
- writing only for robots, instead of readers!
As a publisher selected by Google News, you agree not to distort information nor to deliberately conceal data through your writings. Similarly, Google News content is not intended to promote your business.
Improve content indexing by GoogleNews bots
he articles must also respect a certain number of rules, namely:
- have a unique and permanent URL;
- be present on an independent page of the website;
- remain accessible for at least 30 days, during which the article will be available on Google News;
- respect the HTML format for the content itself, all other formats are not supported;
- include an optimized robots.txt file or Meta description tags;
- do not include multimedia content and audio files, except for Youtube videos.
So, do you follow all the rules? If so, you are now ready to fill out this form to submit your website! All you have to do is wait for the Google News team to get back to you! If your website is not accepted, you will receive some information on the blocking points. You will be able to re-submit your application 60 days later, after having made the required changes.
Our tups for optimizing your SEO with Google News
If you have been approved by Google, your articles now have a good chance of being available on Google News. To help you succeed even more, here are 4 tips to boost your Google News ranking:
- Submit a websitemap.xml file to Google News. Not mandatory but highly recommended, this file allows bots to detect news articles more quickly. Exploration and indexing will also be improved! Once again, it’s all about (update frequency, number of URLs, etc.).
- Post content regularly, at least 3 times a day, and go for unique titles. Google News will like you even more! Of course, do your best to be the first to write on given news!
- Work on your subject as much as possible, if your article has competitors talking about the same news, then Google will favor the one with the most information and latest elements.
- Use images (but don’t overdo) to attract clicks!
The history of Google Actualité
The idea of Google News was born in the mind of Krishna Bharat, a software developer, following the attacks of September 11, 2001. All over the world, people were looking for the latest information on the unfolding event. The American giant launched Google News in 2002.
In 2009, Google News was officially launched in beta in France.
The same year, the Mountain View company launched a tool called ” Custom Sections Directory ” thanks to which users can add various sections to their homepage in order to customize how news is displayed.
The American giant has suffered some setbacks since launching in several countries (France, Germany, Brazil, Belgium, Ireland, Spain, and China), mainly regarding copyright issues.
In France, Google News was attacked by several news outlets, AFP in particular, which claimed several million in damages to compensate for sharing photos and articles without prior authorization. Since then, agreements have been signed between Google, AFP, and the French government to avoid this kind of controversy happening again. But it’s for the better, as this service is extremely useful!
The main changes in Google News since launch
Since launching in 2018 in France, the news service provided by Google has seen few major changes except for two:
- October 2011: Release of a new interface and of a new category called ”Editor’s Choice” with a selection of the top 5 French news media, namely L’express, Ouest France, Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Libération.
- June 2017: New app design, for a better user experience.
The last important release was in May 2018. At its annual Google I/O conference, the American company announced that it had made several changes:
- improved personalized content based on the user’s location and preferences;
- more detailed and comprehensive subjects, referenced in a ”Full View” page inviting online users to debate and study a particular topic;
- subscription-based premium content
- more video content curated from Youtube channels;
- greater speed thanks to lighter page versions made possible by AMP technology.
This new algorithm has shaken the positions of websites that have been around for many years, on desktop as on mobile. A study by NewsDashboard reveals that the number of indexed articles has tripled, while the number of visible websites has been divided by two.
Another change has significantly impacted the top 10 websites available on Google News. While some media such as Le Figaro have seen their visibility dwindle, others such as 20 Minutes or LCI have soared. Websites in the ” People / Lifestyle ” category have almost disappeared from Google News.
To be indexed on Google News can be a powerful competitive edge for your website, both in terms of visibility and authority. However, do not forget that your pages are temporarily referenced on the tool. Don’t bet your entire SEO strategy on it as Google News’ referencing is strongly related to news articles. Unfortunately, you can’t decide on the latest news!