10 Tips for Optimizing your News Publication + How to Get Featured in the ‘Google News’ Hub

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[Last update: April, 2020] Whether you’re a major news publication or a niche blog, getting your news publication indexed in the “Google News” hub expands your site’s reach drastically to potential visitors. From avoiding ‘link-baity’ headlines in your articles to AMP pages designed for the reader on-the-go, see my 10 tips for optimizing your news site for Google.

1) Submit your site to Google

Submit your site for inclusion via Google’s News Publisher Center. Ensure it complies to webmaster, content, and technical guidelines, first!

2) Cover Real, Breaking News

Post original content that covers recent events. Basic information, curated articles, or press releases won’t make the cut!

3) Have a News XML Sitemap

Separate from a traditional XML sitemap, this enables crawlers to find news articles on your site quickly and accurately. Visit ‘Yoursitename.com/sitemap.xml’ if you aren’t sure if you have one.

Foxnews.com has a separate sitemap for news articles.

4) Strategize Keyword Placement

Include target keywords and navigation category in all metadata elements. Sprinkle them throughout the article body, too!

5) Limit Use of Link-Bait Headlines

Link bait headlines are great attention grabbers, but are terrible for SEO. In a similar vein, search engines don’t understand puns the same way people do – so use in moderation.

People Magazine loves using ‘Link-Baity’ headlines and performs well. However, they are the exception to the rule because they are SO big.

6) Demonstrate Professionalism

Include author bylines, biographies, and contact information, as well as the date and time of all articles. Also, avoid spelling and grammar errors!

The NYT has dedicated landing pages for each of its authors.

7) Implement News Schema

This enhances your appearance in SERPs – such as inclusion in a top stories carousel and other rich result features. Check out this template code that you can use for your own website below. You can also find it at Schema.org.

See Also

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
   "@context": "http://schema.org",
   "@type": "NewsArticle",
   "url": "http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39324587",
   "publisher":{
      "@type":"Organization",
      "name":"BBC News",
      "logo":"http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/2015/newsspec_10857/bbc_news_logo.png?cb=1"
   },
   "headline": "Trump Russia claims: FBI's Comey confirms investigation of election 'interference'",
   "mainEntityOfPage": "http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39324587",
   "articleBody": "Director Comey says the probe into last year's US election would assess if crimes were committed.",
   "image":[
      "http://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/560/media/images/75306000/jpg/_75306515_line976.jpg",
      "http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/560/cpsprodpb/8AB9/production/_95231553_comey2.jpg",
      "http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/560/cpsprodpb/17519/production/_95231559_committee.jpg",
      "http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/560/cpsprodpb/CC81/production/_95235325_f704a6dc-c017-4971-aac3-04c03eb097fb.jpg",
      "http://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/560/cpsprodpb/11AA1/production/_95235327_c0b59f9e-316e-4641-aa7e-3fec6daea62b.jpg",
      "http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/560/cpsprodpb/0F99/production/_95239930_trumptweet.png",
      "http://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/560/cpsprodpb/10DFA/production/_95241196_mediaitem95241195.jpg",
      "http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/560/cpsprodpb/2CA0/production/_95242411_comey.jpg",
      "http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/560/cpsprodpb/11318/production/_95242407_mediaitem95242406.jpg",
      "http://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/560/cpsprodpb/BCED/production/_92856384_line976.jpg",
      "http://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/560/cpsprodpb/12B64/production/_95244667_mediaitem95244666.jpg"
   ],
   "datePublished":"2017-03-20T20:30:54+00:00"
}
</script>

8) Create AMP Pages

AMP pages load faster for mobile visitors, and are therefore rewarded with better SERP visibility. There are CMS plugins and modules to help you with this.

9) Monitor Trending Topics

Use tools like Google Trends to identify trending topics across various categories. See example below.

10) Embrace Twitter

Not a Google News tip, per-se. But, increasing your Twitter activity and adding Twitter schema can improve visibility in SERP carousels.

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