learn how to do SEO for news sites – WAU

Google wants to consolidate itself in every possible way as the oracle of the internet. To this end, it has improved its ability to deliver relevant news to users. See how your news site can benefit from this to attract more readers!

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There is no doubt that Google is one of the most powerful companies in the world. The search giant is responsible for determining most of the practices and technologies that will be used or abandoned by sites of all kinds.

But, like any successful digital company, Google understands that, in this competitive digital marketing landscape, there is no room for comfort zones.

For this reason, the company continues to create ways to create value for users and provide tools for businesses of all types to benefit from its products and platforms.

One such product is Google News, which can transform traffic to news sites and greatly boost your results. If you have such a website, you are in the right place!

In this article, you will see:

  • what is Google News?
  • Why SEO for news?
  • What are the Google News criteria?
  • What are the 4 mistakes to avoid when optimizing a site for Google News?
  • What are the 6 practical steps to take the news from your site to Google News?

Now see everything you need to know to optimize your website with the help of Google News and make it work for your business!

What is Google News?

Google News is a news aggregator with Google’s own quality seal. This means that it is the company that curates news content and presents it according to some criteria.

Google News home

The first one is obviously the user’s search intent. It has already become clear that this is Google’s main objective when answering any search.

After all, it is understood that, if their search intention is satisfied, the user will continue to use the tool. That is, if you find the best possible answer to the question you asked the searcher, you will do further research.

Another important factor is the browsing history and preferences of each user. So, Google can present news based on what you like to read, in general, or show headlines in response to a search done on the site.

Why SEO for news?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization), or search engine optimization, is one of the best ways to get a website or blog to get traffic, but there is a small problem. SEO takes time to start delivering results. And, as everyone knows, a news site needs to offer fresh, up-to-date content.

There is no point in optimizing today’s news if it will only rank well in 3 months, right? But that’s not how SEO works. It is important to understand that the optimization for search sites should not be done thinking only about each content, individually, but also about the site as a whole.

In other words, if you do SEO for your news site, it will be seen by Google with different eyes, and future news will be more likely to rank in prominent positions.

If you manage to be part of Google News, you can expect a considerable increase in traffic, since the tool receives around 10 billion clicks per month for participating sites.

Going a little deeper, putting your site on Google News can improve the authority of your domain and the number of backlinks received from other pages.

As these two factors are important in the ranking of search pages, counting on them is quite an advantage, in addition to the increase in direct traffic.

What are the Google News criteria?

It was to be expected that, in order to maintain the quality of the aggregator and not harm the user experience, Google stipulated some rules on who can and cannot benefit from the news tool.

And the first and most obvious is: you need to have a news site. News only. A news section on your blog or website is not enough, as the company wants vehicles with a journalistic approach.

Furthermore, you do not want to take the risk of highlighting low quality news or that only direct the reader to buy products and services.

What are the 4 mistakes to avoid when optimizing a site for Google News?

To begin, it is important to make it clear that the approval process for entering the Google News aggregator is not done according to the normal search engine standard. That is, the application journey is not as automated as you might think.

The company takes the issue of choosing relevant news sources so seriously that it has set up an evaluation team for the sites that wish to join the aggregator.

Humans are so used to using tricks that they understand when someone else does the same. Thus, there is no Black Hat tactic that can be used. Either your site meets the requirements, or it will be denied.

To start off well, here are some of the worst mistakes you could make in the application process and how to avoid them.

1. Not having an exclusive news site

As we already said, the process of evaluating sites that wish to enter Google News is manual. So, there is no kind of trick you can use to get your corporate blog approved.

There are no shortcuts and it would be a big mistake to think that your blog or commercial website could be approved in the process. But what if you have an exclusive news section or category?

It won’t do either. Unless your site is exclusively about news, your chances are nil. And this has a reason: Google doesn’t want to know about promotional content when offering fresh news to the user.

2. Produce content that violates the platform’s policies

The Google aggregator also has policies on the type of content that can be published by sites that wish to be part of the platform.

Of course, ignoring these restrictions will put your site right in the disapproval pile. To prevent something like this from happening – for lack of knowledge about policies – here is a brief summary of what is prohibited:

  • personal and confidential information: it is not allowed to disclose someone’s confidential information, not even in the name of a scoop;
  • copyrighted content: no use of copyrighted content without authorization.

In addition to these, we do not even need to mention that hate content, apology for crime, pornography and the like are strictly prohibited.

3. Being too generalist

Why would Google News want a smaller site that talks about all kinds of topics if it can already use the big newspapers and news portals for that? It is important to know how to differentiate yourself to conquer your space.

And one of the best ways to do that is to put generalism aside and specialize in a specific news niche.

Thus, it will be easier to be seen by the Google News team as a reference in that segment and be approved for specific news.

4. Update the site a little

Respected and active news sites are often updated daily, preferably several times a day. The aggregator’s assessment team will take this into account to determine the seriousness and commitment of your site to delivering relevant news to the public.

With that in mind, it would be a serious sin to publish news every few days and think that it will be enough to take advantage of the showcase that Google News offers.

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What are the 6 practical steps to take the news from your site to Google News?

After avoiding the main mistakes in trying to get your news site accepted by Google News, it’s time to learn what to do, right?

That’s why we prepared this step by step with the technical requirements you need to follow to get your site on Google News as soon as possible.

Some aspects seen here are not considered mandatory, but applying them will greatly help in your chances of being approved. So, it is better not to skip steps. Here’s what you need to do!

1. Organize your URL structure

Google wants its news and categories to have static URLs, so that the same types of articles are on the same URLs. This allows Google to crawl the same pages multiple times, without having to redirect.

Because of this, it is good to avoid dynamic URLs, as they are not very successful with Google News. It’s more worth taking that Google preference into account and keeping the URLs static.

2. Eliminate the weight of your content

Eliminating the weight of the content, in this context, means leaving it free of many styles and, mainly, scripts that would run on the page. Why is that so important? Because Google wants your content to load as quickly as possible.

If your content needs JavaScript to be viewed, it will not work well for Google News and your site will not be approved in the process.

It is important that all the news content is present in the HTML code when rendering the pages, so that the process works well in the aggregator.

3. Optimize the site code

Keep code clean is another fundamental step for your news site to be accepted by Google News. But what does that mean, anyway? In the HTML code, the part that corresponds to the news content must be a continuous block, from beginning to end.

Many sites have a messy programming structure, in which videos and related content are mixed with the code blocks that contain the news content.

The big problem is that this can cause Google to have problems when it comes to indexing the content and showing it to users. And you already know: any problem in the user experience takes your site further from being riddled with Google News.

4. Create an XML map just for the news

Officially, Google says that having an XML map just for news is not essential, but it is recommended. So, to increase your chances of being accepted, it is worth following the recommendation.

Basically, you can create an XML map that lists the news published in the last 48 hours. If your content production is very high, it is important to limit the number of articles to 1,000.

Some experts believe that this XML map is the first source Google uses when searching for updated content on its website. So, secure your map before trying Google News approval.

5. Mark your news with structured Google data

Structured data are clues given so that Google’s algorithms understand more quickly and easily what that page is about.

It is important to tag your articles with them to make Google News aware of what your site covers and why it deserves to be considered for the first results.

You can be sure that your chances of having a top story on the Google homepage carousel are much greater if you use structured data.

6. Make your application

Finally, after meeting the technical requirements and avoiding basic mistakes, just access the Google News Publisher Center.

Then just check your website’s ownership in Google Search Console and click “request inclusion in the Google News index”.

After that, just wait 1 to 3 weeks and log on again to see if the request was accepted.

Yes, Google News is quite a platform. The amount of qualified traffic it can take to your news site makes it worth the effort to go through the manual approval process.

Fortunately, you now have a complete guide with all the mistakes to avoid and the steps you need to take to make the most of this tool.

Did you like learning how to do SEO for your news site? Then, you will be even more impressed by learning one more trick to position your content on the first page of Google: the Featured Snippets!

Google Search Console Guide