How to become a Google News publisher and getting Google News articles published is not an easy task, even following Google News guidelines, internet tips, and insights. I noticed a lot of movie websites with their stories being published in Google News. Having your news articles published in Google News brings additional traffic to your website in addition to the traffic derived from your posts in regular Google searches. I thought that other factors were keeping my movie website from appearing in Google News alongside other movie websites, especially since some of my posts were published before theirs were.
I was wrong. There was another reason.
Your site has to be approved by Google and added to Google News by their staff.
Being a movie webmaster, no one tells what’s what or how to do things (which is one of the reasons why ProMovieBlogger was created). You have to learn as you do. Sometimes you stumble on to the right answer to a question, sometimes you do not and have to ask. I stumbled onto the answer to my Google News quandary. I believe in typed in a broad question into the Google search engine about sitemaps, xml, etc.and was sent to a Google operated page with some responses. One of the responses was the question: have you signed up your site for Google News? “Sign up my site?!”, I thought. I have to sign up my site? I thought it just happened automatically, that my posts would just show up there. This is not the case.
Where Google News appears
Here is a search for The Dark Knight Rises in Google. The specific menu for “News” is on the left within a small red rectangle around it and a abated display of what is in Google News for that search is at the bottom of the picture encased in a larger red rectangle.
The Dark Knight Rises Google Search Results
This is how The Dark Knight Rises search results appears in Google News. You can clearly see (click to enlarge) numerous movie websites in the results.
The Dark Knight Rises, Google News Search Results
Guidelines for Inclusion
The first qualification is asking Google for inclusion into Google News. From Google: “If you’d like your news site or blog to be included in Google News, please send us the URL and we’ll be happy to review it. Please note, however, that we can’t guarantee we’ll be able to include your site in Google News.”
Here is where you can apply to become a Google News Publisher.
When we applied to Google News, they sent us this letter:
Thank you for your interest in Google News. Please review this message to
learn about the next steps in our inclusion process.
* REQUIRED ACTION
In order to help us deal with the large number of requests for inclusion,
we ask that you review our guidelines and reply to this email if your site
meets our qualifications.
* SITE GUIDELINES
We typically include sites in Google News that:
– have news content reporting on recent events — please note that we
don’t include informational and how-to articles, classified ads, job
postings, fictitious content, event announcements, advice columns or adult
– have content that is original to the site;
– are written and maintained by a clear organization, one that has
multiple writers and editors with accessible contact information;
– don’t solely promote their own activities or products;
– don’t violate Google’s quality guidelines, available at
Please let us know if your site fits these guidelines. Keep in mind that
we will not be able to include your site unless it meets our technical
requirements, too. You can review our technical requirements here:
After we hear from you, we’ll be happy to review your site for inclusion
in Google News.
* RESPONSE TIME
Please note that due to the high volume of sites we review it may take
several weeks before we’re able to respond. We’ll work to review your site
as soon as we can, but cannot predict exactly when you will receive a
response from our team. Furthermore, we ask that you refrain from
re-submitting your site for inclusion as it may create additional delays.
While we strive to include as many sources as possible, please be aware
that we can’t guarantee the inclusion of your articles in Google News. We
appreciate your support as we work to improve Google News.
The Google Team
1.) Have a well-constructed and thorough About Us page with your writers/editors listed. If you do not have other writers writing for your website, get some, list them, and get them writing before you apply.
2.) Have a Contact page with email addresses and/or phone numbers clearly visible.
3.) Have what type of organization you are listed prominently somewhere, try the About Us page, the footer of your site or both. Also, look into becoming a Limited Liability Company, an LLC, if you deem it an appropriate move.
LLCs mitigate the financial liability of their owners by limiting the financial liability to only the corporate assets. Conducting business can be highly litigious. The advantage to the owners and employees is that only the corporate entity is held liable for its business actions.
Keep in mind there is an annual state LLC registration fee.
Another area of concern
Another area not mentioned in this letter that would-be Google News Publishers should take note of is their website’s loading speed. Google News is published by an algorithm which takes server response time into account.
Google’s news bots are looking for pages that they can index swiftly, and that will load quickly for readers, too. News publishers should take frequent looks at their hosting situation, both to make sure that their servers are tuned for optimum day-to-day performance, as well as having the ability to handle a sudden traffic surge from a major breaking news event. Publishers using custom-built content management tools need to consider the added factor of code efficiency, especially code bloat, as they add and modify their system’s tools. That neat new “share this link” function might look nice, but you have to be careful that it, or some other new widget, isn’t slowing your pages’ load times.
I got rid of all the nifty yet extraneous widgets that increased the load time of our pages just because I wanted our pages to load fast but this isn’t as important as you make think for Google News. Slashfilm has a gaggle of elements that load when a post page is clicked, slowing down the page from loading fast. Alexa actually took the time to comment on their slow loading pages in their description of the site (in the past, not presently. Perhaps the site has improved its load times) but SlashFilm is still a Google News Publisher.
My advice to you is to hedge your bets and make sure your pages and your site load fast. A fast loading site is a good thing, Google News or not. Search engines and your site visitors will love it.
The Human Factor
After you apply to be a Google News Publisher, it is not an automated system that will be examining your site for compliance but a pair of human eyes. “Though Google News is published by an algorithm, the decision to include a particular website as a source in Google News is made by human beings,” Meredith said. From another source: “A human being will actually have to take a look at your site and decide whether or not to consider you.”
Benefits of being a Google News Publisher
I believed thatjust the basic traffic from Google News was the main benefit of being a Google News Publisher but there are others I was unaware of. Reading “the news is one of the top four things people do online…more people get their news from Google News than CNN.”
Your published news articles showing up in Google News can happen very fast. Showing “up in Google News for a keyword you want to be ranked for can happen in as little as 15 minutes, especially if your site is set up to be one of the sites Google reprints headlines and excerpts from.”
Google News stories show up in different areas of Google as well, “places that your prospects may be following that include or overlap Google News results, such as Moreover Headlines, and Google Alerts.”
I am unaware of how many organizations apply to Google News a month but if “you’d like to be one of the 25,000 publishers that is sharing 1 billion clicks a month, this just might be for you.”
Google News is a webmaster’s door into Google Alerts. Websites presence in Google’s “highly popular e-mail news alerts,…draw upon, and drive traffic to, Google News-indexed websites” says Google News’ Daniel Meredith. Meredith goes on to says that these “alerts don’t just drive traffic to the New York Times and CNN. News sites covering a niche area [like movie websites] can see hundreds, if not thousands, of new daily unique visitors if their stories are included in a keyword-driven Google News e-mail alert.
Finally, “being in [Google] News does buy you credit in Web” search results, Meredith said. News publishers undermine their search engine optimization strategy by not making a request for inclusion in Google News.”
Buys you credit in web results meaning you rank higher in SERPs because you are a Google News Publisher. That is a great inducement to becoming a Google News Publisher besides the other already stated benefits.
Once you’re in, a tip
Moving a site’s pages up “to the top of news search results” can be ameliorated with a sitemap.
Sitemaps are XML files that describe to a search engine robot all of the content available for indexing on a website. Think of it as a giant RSS-style feed that describes everything on your website.
Google enables Web publishers to submit sitemaps via Google’s webmaster tools service. (If you are a news publisher and have not yet signed up on Google’s webmaster tools, do it now. It’ll be the best thing you do today to help promote your Web traffic.) Some content management systems, such as Drupal, include modules that will generate a sitemap automatically.
I previously wrote about obtaining a Google sitemap here: Starting a Movie Website: WordPress Plugins.
If your site meets the criteria or if you can get it into compliance, apply to become a Google News Publisher. You should do so if you want increased traffic and visibility for your website and the posts and articles written/published there. If this is of no concern to you, you need not apply.