19 Tips on How to Get Your News Website Added into Google News
When you create a entertainment news website, whether that is a film news website or a television news website (or both), you will eventually want that news website to be featured in the news section of popular search engine. Google News is the top search engine news section that you want to be a part of when you get to the search engine news section inclusion period of your news website’s existence.
What is Google News?
Google News is a computer-generated news site that aggregates headlines from news sources worldwide, groups similar stories together and displays them according to each reader’s personalized interests.
19 Tips on Getting into Google News
One of my websites was finally admitted into Google News recently after four-to-five years of attempts at inclusion. I learned a lot through my numerous attempts and Google News Forum visits. I previously wrote How to Become a Google News Publisher but this article is far different. The former article provided general information on getting into Google News, information that you need to know before applying. This article is written from the perspective of someone that has actually been in the trenches pursuing admission and who was successful.
Below you will be able to read everything that I learned, all the tips that I followed to get included in Google News as a news provider.
1.) Presentation is Important. You need a professional looking news website. Invest in a great theme or have a great theme created for your news website.
2.) Easily Accessible News Categories. Make sure that all of your news categories and news stories can be easy found within ten seconds of landing on your website. I use Mega Menus and drop-down text menus, above the fold, at the top of the website.
3.) Multiple Authors. You need more than one author writing for your news website when applying to Google News. You need a team of authors with biographical information posted for them on your website, their social media accounts, etc. Google News wants “accountability and transparency.” At the time of inclusion, I had nine writers writing for my news website.
4.) Minimum 300 Words Per News Article. Each news article you write should be at or over three hundred words in length. If you quote something, it should only make up a small portion of your article, not the lion’s share. I found the latter out when I asked for a site evaluation in the Google News Forum. If you are quoting a large piece of text, make source that your original written copy exceeds the quote in length.
5.) News Sourcing and a Original Analysis. I used to place the sourcing for my news articles (if the source was another news website) at the end of each article. Do not do that. Integrate your sourcing into the body of your article, especially if you are hyperlinking to it. Here is the key though – when using another website as the originating source for the news article you are writing, make that news original by putting your own spin on the news. You can do this by adding your own unique analysis to the news story and your own perspective. No one else can do those two things but you. Show the reader your “voice.”
6.) Publish News Seven Days a Week. Your news website needs to be cranking out news stories seven days a weeks. Make shifts for the weekdays, weeknights, weekends, and assign them.
7.) Sitemap. Have a good XML Sitemap setup online for your news website when you apply to Google News. I use and recommend Yoast SEO for this. I wrote about the plugin here when it was called WordPress SEO.
8.) Enable Metadata throughout your website. Have Open Graph and Schema metadata in place and enabled throughout your posts and website. I use Yoast SEO for this.
9). Create a Thorough Contact Us Page. Your Contact Us page has to have your organization’s physical address, phone number (I use a Google Phone Number), and a email address on the page (not just a contact form for people to use). Google News wants “accountability,” “transparency,” and accessibility from its news sources.
10.) Create a Thorough About Us Page. Your About Us page needs to tell the reader the purpose of your news website, who its aimed at, what you publish (linking to those categories), who publishes those news stories, your site data numbers, and the site’s history. The more I read about good About Us pages and what Google News was looking for when it came to “author biographies,” “accountability,” and “transparency,” the larger and more extensive the About Us page on our news website became over time.
For the author biographies, I made sure to include with them links to each author’s social media accounts. This provided transparency. A person evaluating our news website from Google News could check and see that these were real people whom were leading real lives.
The site data numbers that we provided were: Page Rank, Alexa Global Rank (linking to Alexa), pages linking to our news website, and how many of the news website’s URLs had been added to the Google index. Again, this provided transparency to anyone looking at our About Us page for information about our website.
On our About Us page, we also provided a link to our sitemap and our Google News-optimized sitemap (we got ahead of ourselves with that). I use Yoast SEO for both of these sitemaps, the latter you have to pay for. Jetpack comes with free regular and news sitemaps when you download and activate their plugin on your website. You have to activate that functionality within the plugin. They will be deactivated until you do.
11.) Use good Grammar and Spelling. Use proper grammar and spelling in your news articles. This should go without saying. Invest in E. B. White and William Strunk Jr.‘s The Elements of Style. It will be extremely beneficial to your copy writing endeavors, now and in the future.
I read many threads in the Google News Forum where a person had applied for Google News inclusion, been rejected, and was asking for a site evaluation. These people had to link back to their site to be evaluated so I could go there to see its state and its content. Some of these websites were filled with awful grammar. On some sites, English was their second language and it showed in their copy.
If a Google News evaluator sees badly written sentences or misspellings, your news website will be rejected.
12.) News Article Pyramid Setup. I have written a manual for all of writers to follow. In the manual, I referenced the inverted journalism pyramid and how the crucial opening paragraph of a news article should be written.
This provided a baseline for the writers to follow, especially if they were unsure how to structure their news article.
When the Google News evaluator looked at our news articles, he or she saw that the new articles were laid out following the inverted pyramid of journalism.
13.) Get Your News Website Evaluated in Google News Forum. Go to Google News Forum and ask for a site evaluation. It’s free. Then act upon the advice that they give you, no matter how hard that advice is to take. Trust me (and them), they know what they are talking about. What they will tell you is unbiased. They will be harsh, they will be critical, and in most instances, they will be correct. Their advice helped get my news website up to the necessary standard for inclusion into Google News. They can help get your news website where it needs to be as well.
14.) Create a New Summary for Your News Website. Google News is going to ask you for a description of your news website on their “Request for inclusion in Google News” form. Don’t use the summary on your About Us page for it. That About Us page summary was written for a site visitor, who is a completely different type of person than the Google personnel that will be evaluating your news website. You need to write a description of your news website for the Google News website evaluator. You need to tell them: what news you cover, frequency, and the diversity of your news coverage. Those assertions need to be backed up by the content on your news website.
You need to make your news website attractive to the Google News website evaluator through your description. Like in Glengarry Glen Ross and Boiler Room, you have to “sell’ and “close” the evaluator by making an effective sales pitch for your news website to him or her.
“Sell” the evaluator your website. “Sell” him what it has to offer the Google News index and its readership. “Close” him with your news website’s description and the following point.
15.) Time Your Fresh, Original Content When Applying To Google News. In previous years, I applied whenever I thought that our news website was ready for inclusion. The last, final, and successful time that I applied for inclusion in Google News, I timed it. I applied right after we had attended a film festival and the coverage from that film festival, reviews and news articles from premieres that occurred there, were published on-site. From Google: “Sites included in Google News should primarily offer timely reporting or analysis on recent events.” That is exactly what we gave them. Google News also wants original reporting from its Google News websites. From Google: “Original reporting…[is an] important factor…for inclusion in the Google News index.” The news articles that we published from that film festival were original content and original news reporting.
We didn’t “pull a fast one” on Google News by waiting until we had just published film festival coverage before applying. Our film festival coverage went back five years across two continents. By waiting and being a little strategic, we put those facts front and center. When the Google News website evaluator clicked on our film festival category URL (speculation), they were able to see all of our previous film festival coverage for themselves.
16.) Diversify Your Original Content. When we applied for inclusion in the Google News index, we showed Google News original content through publication of an interview. When we applied to Google News, we had just published an interview with a director of a new film that had just been released in-theater. This was original content, content no other news website had (different / unique questions breed singular and original replies). We had also published a much longer interview with two directors months before. The Google News evaluator probably saw those interviews as a positive news publication pattern (speculation). During my previous attempts at inclusion into Google News, we had no interviews published on-site or there was no clear pattern visible. When we applied to Google News, we included the Interview category as a URL in the “News Section information” on the “Request for inclusion in Google News” form.
17.) Trailers, Clips, Sneak Peeks Videos are not News. I heard this in the Google News Forum when I asked for a site evaluation. I use to include trailers, etc. in my news categories (I would select the Movie News category and the Movie Trailer category for Movie Trailer articles). A moderator in the Google News Forum pointed out that a trailer, clip, sneak peek video, etc. are not news. I argued that they were in the forum but stopped selecting movie news for trailer articles, etc. When we applied to Google News the final time, we did not include the trailer, clip, or any video category as a URL in the “News Section information” on the “Request for inclusion in Google News” form.
18.) Separate Original Content from Aggregated Content. I also moved Movie Casting and TV Show Casting news stories into their own categories. Someone cast in a new film or TV project is news but I wanted to make the separation clear between that and say film or TV production news. This was me separating news content from possibly aggregated content. From Google: “If your site publishes aggregated content, you will need to separate it from your original work, or restrict our access to those aggregated articles via your robots.txt file.”
19.) I choose Blog when Applying. Maybe you should to, depending on your news website. When asked to “select all categories that apply to the content on your site,” I choose “Blog.” I didn’t want to but that was the one category available that most closely resembled my news website. The other choices were: Opinion content, Press Release, Free registration, User Generated Content, Satire, and Paid subscription. Bearing the other chooses in mind (and since I was accepted into Google News), I think I choose wisely. If you choose the wrong category for your website, you will probably be rejected.
My journey to inclusion in Google News was arduous. It took years to get my news website just right for Google News to accept it. The tips that I have included in this article should make that process far quicker for you and far less painful.
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