Google News SEO: Everything You Need to Do to Add a Site to Google News

Google News SEO: Everything You Need to Do to Add a Site to Google News

Google News is a news aggregator that displays to users a configurable news feed containing events from the past 30 days.

News articles are subdivided into 7 or 8 categories (depending on your location and language) and are grouped according to their topics. This means that the news from different resources on the same topic (for instance, a stock market drop) will be displayed together avoiding the provision of duplicate information. The main purpose of Google News is to cover world news from different points of view so that users can understand it better.

The Google News beta version was launched in 2002, though officially the aggregator has existed since 2006. Its founder is Krishna Bharat, Google’s research scientist, who was disappointed by the inability to find trustworthy news after the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York in 2001.

Nowadays, there is no precise data on how many sources are used by Google News. In The Guardian article in 2013, it was mentioned that the number is 50,000. The resource is available in 127 countries in 65 languages.

Any user can get access to Google News in two languages. They only need to download the Google News application to have unlimited access to its news from around the world.

For any news site, the question of how to get on Google News is always relevant. It provides a wide range of advantages, including access to a huge audience and attraction of additional traffic to the site. To be included on Google News, the site and content have to be optimized with the help of Google News SEO. After fulfilling a certain sequence of optimization actions, you will have the chance to become a trusted resource. We will tell you in this article what should be done to achieve this.

Advantages of Getting into the Google News Search Results

Google News SEO is not just Google News traffic that your site will get if it reaches top positions. This is an automatic confirmation for readers that your resource is authoritative. If your site has gotten into Google News, in the search results, the content will be immediately displayed in comparison to the other resources that are not in the aggregator selection. If users often notice your resource in the news feed of Google, they will be more prone to interact with you.

Google supports publishers variously. For instance, in 2018, the company announced an initiative amounting to $300 million to support the raise of journalistic standards and to combat misinformation on the Internet . This initiative was developed for three years and included various tools that helped publishers manage subscribers and make a profit.

How Does Google News Work?

A major part of the news that gets into Google News is selected by algorithms based on the company’s search engine algorithms.

What is taken into account?

  • Relevance. Matching a story to users’ requests is performed. The article’s relevance defines if it will get into the main news.
  • Interests. Google News feed is configured based on the interests of a user. The articles they read most often will be available on the main page. The only thing that Google does not consider is political views.
  • Location. The resource will show local news. You can read more information on the matter in the article about Local SEO Checklist 2020.
  • Information That is on Everyone’s Lips. Articles that highlight the latest trendy events have a higher chance of getting to top positions compared to others. 
  • Novelty. Google prefers recent articles with up-to-date information.
  • Resource Credibility. To get to the top of Google News, your site has to be authoritative and trusted (backlinks can help you with this). Read more in the article about how to Build High-Quality Backlinks.
  • Convenience and Accessibility for Users. Google always takes into consideration such factors as adaptive design, load speed, and cross-browser site compatibility. A resource should be easy and convenient to use.

Aside from the work of algorithms, there are instances when the team of Google News manually selects the news for specific events.

The Structure of the Google News Aggregator

Let us have a look at what the Google News site is composed of.

On the home page, there is trendy news. Also, it is possible to switch between blocks (categories) of news depending on the topic you are interested in.

The category U.S. is the Google US news site with the latest trending events for the USA.

The Google News USA site is connected to the location of a user and will be displayed only if you are in America. In any other country, this category will be different.

There is also a category “For You” that offers a selection of news based on your interests and behavior on the Google News site.

In the category “Favorites,” the topics, locations, and sources you are currently viewing are stored. There are also the results of searches and saved stories.

We have figured out how Google News looks and how the aggregator works. It is time to answer the questions “how to make your blog a legitimate news source” and “how to get into Google News.”

The Main Requirements of Google News for Sites

1. Guidelines for Content from Google News

Google provides its official requirements to the content for sites that want to get into Google News. At first sight, everything is clear and simple: structured and quality content and the absence of grammatical and stylistic mistakes. 

However, there are other things that you should pay attention to, like the points below.

  • Advertisement and Paid Links
    The number of ads on your site should be adequate and reasonable. Also, you should not pose sponsored content as independent journalism. Google will figure out the truth and will apply sanctions to the site. For the same reasons, it is recommended to avoid a large number of paid and low-quality links. You can read more information in the article about Google Algorithms That Affect SEO.
  • Duplicated and Syndicated Content
    Google dislikes duplicated content. You should definitely use the canonical tag if there is duplicated content on the site. This will help the search system identify where the original source of information is located on the site. It is also necessary to be careful with syndicated content– only the original version should appear on Google News. Partners that promote external content should be careful with syndicated content for it to not be indexed by the search system of Google or Google News. For this, it is possible to use canonical links or block access for the search robots to this content. For more information, read the article about Rel=Canonical Tag.

2. Technical Requirements of Google News

Google News also has technical guidelines for sites. Fulfilling these rules will help the indexation of your materials by the Google system.

It is necessary to pay attention to:

  • Permanent Links
    All the articles have to be published in the same domain as the main site. The sections of pages must have permanent links. As soon as the site is included in Google News, it is possible to modify the site sections and their URLs or to add new sections with the help of Google News Publisher Centre. Every article should have an individual and unique URL that cannot be used for other articles.
  • Checking of the File Robots.txt
    Make sure that your file robots.txt, meta tags, and HTTP headers do not prevent access for search robots to the article directory of your site. It is possible to block access to certain sections of the site (with the help of the above-mentioned tools) so that they are indexed but do not get to Google News. More information can be read in the articles Meta Tags for SEO and HTTPS vs. HTTP.
  • Language and Coding
    If the site has content in different languages, adjust every article for the language in which it is written. This will help users get information in their native language. Avoid bilingualism in articles, as this confuses search robots. To get the best results, use UTF-8 coding.

How to Optimize a Site for Google News

After you have familiarized yourself with Google News guidelines, it is possible to proceed to the site optimization for Google News. We suggest a step-by-step guide on actions. Let us begin with technical characteristics.

Technical Optimization for Requirements of Google News

  • Design and Structure of the Site
    Check out if all of the main requirements of Google News to the site design are met. Make sure that articles on the site can be effectively displayed in regular HTML. Avoid using Javascript for the display of the main parts of the articles and links because Google News search robots won’t be able to crawl them. Make sure that the code is clear and structured and that it is correctly displayed on various devices and in different browsers.

The preferred text structure should be as follows: heading – image – main data – the body of the article.

The site structure should make it easier for Google to scan and crawl it. Adjust it in a manner that enables switching between the home page and any other page of the site in one click. Use sections, categories, tags for the classification, and arrangement of information.

  • Google News Sitemap
    Even if your site already has a sitemap, create an additional one for Google News. This file should contain up to 1,000 URLs of articles published within the last two days. Google News Sitemap meets the standards of XML but it also has additional elements.
    After your creation of the Sitemap, it must be ratified with the help of Google Search Console. Read more on this in the article Sitemaps XML Guide.
  • Micro-markup for News Articles
    Micro-markup helps search robots understand the content on the pages of a site and ensures the correct display of materials according to users’ requests. To install a micro-markup, prepare the HTML code with the help of Google Search Console. Then, add the code in the template responsible for the site micro-markup. Check if the operation is correct with the help of validation services.
  • AMP and Non-AMP Pages
    The correct implementation of AMP positively influences the rating of clicks in mobile search and the rating in general. As the majority of users read the news on their smartphones, this will enable you to improve your interaction with them. You can read more information on the topic in the article about What You Need to Know About Accelerated Mobile Pages.
  • Site Load Speed
    The speed of your site loading dramatically influences its ranking and crawling by search systems. Optimize your site to improve the speed of pages’ loading.
  • The Frequency of the Site Crawling by Google
    How frequently a site is crawled by Google depends on how frequently you publish articles. The more often you post them, the easier they are found and crawled by the search system. Note that the frequency of publications should not negatively impact their quality.
  • The Use of HTTPS
    Google is gradually displacing the HTTP protocol in favor of HTTPS with a higher level of protection. Sites using HTTPS are better raked and are trusted by users.
  • Links to Affiliate Content
    Aside from nofollow links, on Google, there are links with the attributes “sponsored” and “UGC.” The sponsored attribute is used to identify links of an advertising or sponsored campaign. UGC means user content. They can also be combined with each other. Nofollow links are now interpreted like recommendations, not like the Google directive. Consequently, nofollow links will also be taken into account.

You can read more information on this topic in the articles Technical SEO Checklist For 2020 and What is the Technical SEO Audit?

After technical optimization, proceed to content optimization on your site.

Content Optimization for the Requirements of Google News

  • Requirements to Headers
    Google News defines articles’ headings by the Title and H1 tags but can also use subheadings and the texts of articles. This can be the reason for the shortening of a heading in the news feed. To avoid this, make sure that the Title and H1 tags, as well as heading and anchor text, meet the requirements. Headings should not contain dates and times, nor should they be used as links in the text of the article. The length of the heading can vary from 2 up to 22 words and it has to contain a keyword or phrase.

Note that Google stopped using the keywords tag in 2009 and Google News stopped supporting this tag in 2017. Read more information in the articles H1 Tag and Title Tags.

  • Recent and Qualitative Content
    Recent and original articles have more chances to be displayed on Google News. An article should not contain more than one date to avoid confusion. The date has to be placed between the heading and text. If you are using a sitemap, make sure that the date is correctly indicated in the Google Search Console.
  • The Choice of Relevant Topics
    The choice of a relevant topic helps in site ranking. Users can subscribe to a certain topic to keep track of the news development. How can you show Google that you are specialized in a certain trend or topic? Demonstrate the actuality of content on the provided topic: use keywords, regularly post fresh articles with opinions, interviews, and analysis in this trending topic. 
  • Photo and Video Content
    Google News can include photos and videos integrated into articles if they are pertinent to them. Images have to be placed under the article heading before the date and the body of the article. Use structured data ( or the Open Graph protocol) to inform Google which photo is the main one and has to be used as a sketch near the heading of your article on Google News. The use of links to images is unacceptable. Read the article Open Graph Meta Tags for more information.

Video, in its turn, should be original, high-quality, and optimized by means of captions and descriptions. Also, the video should contain information about your organization.

  • Information About Authors
    Google News promotes articles when a specific article is assigned to a certain author. You can make a separate section on the site “Our Team” and briefly tell about every author who writes for your resource.

  • Location
    How do I get local news on Google News?
    Some articles will have a higher rating for certain users depending on their location. For this, it is necessary to cover events that are of interest to a certain location.

How to Add a Site to Google News?

For Google News inclusion, make use of the Google News publisher console.

To submit a site to Google News, you will need a Google account. Go to section News-Tools and sign in. If you have previously used the service for webmasters, the list of your sites will be displayed. To add one of them to Google News, press the button near the name of your site “Send a request to submit to the Google News index.”

If on the list, your website is absent, go down and find “Submit your site to Google News” and click the nearby link. Then, you will have to fill in the form and send a request for the site to be submitted to Google News.

Get ready to wait because the registration takes a long time and the term of a request consideration takes up to three weeks. If your request was declined, you will have the opportunity to resend it in 60 days.

To sum up and answer the question, “Сan I make a post on Google News?” you will get a positive response from us. However, it is crucial to follow the guides provided in this article, as well as Google requirements, and confidently upload your articles and keep updated about new articles.

About author
Anna is a creative writer, copywriter and radio presenter. Nine years of experience in marketing, advertising, promotion. Five years in the media sphere. Now she is studying and writing about SEO. Anna hopes she can offer you something interesting and useful.