How To Improve Your Ranking in Google News and Why You Should Care
If you think getting listed on Google News isn’t important for your online publication, you might want to learn a little more about this powerful news tool.
Getting ranked on Google News and getting your best content to rank highly are two musts for any serious publisher. Even if your news site is highly regarded and trusted, having it listed in Google News is one of the best ways to signal to readers that your content is worth reading. According to the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer, more than 60 percent of people trust news results they find on Google more than they trust the actual source of the news.
Why Even Bother Trying to Get Listed on Google News?
While it should matter to you as a publisher that your site is reputable, trustworthy and respected in its own right, you may also be able to tag onto Google’s popularity and high amount of trust to increase your own.
In addition, Google News has a huge reach. As of last December, Google News supports 37 languages, including Bengali, Thai and Latvian. Their estimated potential reach, stated in this blog post, is about 260 million.
Google recognizes and upholds their reputation as a trusted news aggregator by sticking to firm journalistic standards and discouraging people from trying to get marketing or promotional content listed in Google News.
How To Rank in Google News
But how do you tap into this powerful, trusted news aggregator? Similar to SEO for non-news pages on your site, improving ranking for a news site focuses generally on making your site easier for Google to crawl while at the same time increasing posting volume and putting out high-quality content that satisfies your audience’s need for information.
1. Optimize Your Site for Google News
In their Help Center for Google News, Google states that ranking is based on a few things, including “freshness of content,” “diversity of content,” “rich textual content” and “originality of content.” Once you have a handle on these elements, here are a few more technical suggestions that could help your site rank more highly in Google News.
There are two tags that you should include with your articles: the news_keywords tag and the standout tag. These can help categorize your article and indicate that it’s worthy of being a featured article on Google, respectively.
Submit a Sitemap
Google recommends making and submitting a sitemap of your news site to help improve ranking and increase the likelihood that your articles are picked up. Taking this step will also help you see crawl errors, such as when an article is too short or long or if Google cannot find a date associated with the article. Having a news sitemap that you frequently update can also allow Google to crawl your site more quickly and efficiently.
Submit Articles for the Editor’s Pick
Publishers can submit up to five articles that represent their journalistic skill and ability. If you choose to do this, Google may take these articles and feature them on Google news pages, giving you even more exposure.
2. Improve the Reading Experience for Your Audience
While the tips above will help you get into Google News, you shouldn’t focus on those at the expense of the reader experience and value they receive from your content. One way to prioritize the reader and make your articles easier and more pleasurable for them to read is through AMPs, or, Accelerated Mobile Pages. In a nutshell, this involves simplifying the mobile reading experience, which makes pages load faster. Both of these elements make the reading experience much better for your audience.
So how do you make AMP happen? Yoast writes about a basic WordPress plugin for AMP from Automattic that can be coupled with either this PageFrog plugin or their own Glue for Yoast SEO & AMP plugin. Plugins are a fantastic way to increase the functionality of your site without having a deep technical background.
Get Listed on Google News With Original Content
All of the technical tips we’ve covered can have an effect on your news site ranking and help you get news content in front of the right audience, but there’s another important thing to remember. It’s so important that Google expressly states it in their Help content.
This quote shows that Google News prioritizes quality journalistic content. Keep this in mind as you optimize your news site to get on Google News.