It might look like the larger sites are the only one’s getting an invite to the Google News shindig, but thankfully there are quite a few things you can do to help your chances of getting in.
Sometimes all you have to do is ask. Whilst Google’s algorithm is responsible for the news rankings and the position your site appears at there’s actually an initial review process by their team that decides whether or not a site should be included (yes, real humans). So if you’re currently not appearing in Google’s news section then all you might have to do is ask Google.
What will get you in?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Google are after original, newsworthy content which was recently published rather than ‘how to’ articles or any spammy marketing or promotional material. They themselves say,
“Google News aims to organize all the world’s news and make it accessible to its users, while at the same time providing the best possible experience for those seeking useful and timely news information.”
Google say that you don’t ‘need’ a news sitemap but they highly recommend it (Read into that what you will). They do also mention that you might see some issues with any submitted before the site has been reviewed by their team so don’t forget to ask to get in. To help with building a news sitemap there are also a number of recommended third-party tools you can use.
Is a news sitemap any different from an ordinary sitemap?
It is, but only slightly. Some of the differences are:
- A news sitemap has some more tags specific to the news itself such as <publication> and <access>.
- They should only include the URL’s for your most recent articles. Google News isn’t interested in articles that have been published more than two days ago so don’t include them.
- Individual news sitemaps also shouldn’t have any more than 1000 URL’s included. If you are lucky enough to have that volume of news though you can use more than one sitemap and manage them through the use of a sitemap index file.
Happy that you’ve satisfied the above? Well now it’s time to go and submit your sitemap.
- Make sure your page loading time isn’t slowing anything down
- Double check for any broken links
- There’s quite a few technical guidelines to adhere to
- As online news hubs have multiple reporters writing content for their sites it’s been said that Google also recognise ‘multiple authors’ as an indication of a sites news authority. So now might be the time to start accepting those guest post requests that you’re probably starting to receive. Failing that you could look for some talented and ridiculously good looking copywriters who could help.
Any other tips you would care to share?