The Advanced Webmasters Guide to Google News
Google News is a great way of finding the latest news stories related to your industry. It’s an even better way to reach out to new readers looking for interesting new content to read.
Being included in Google News means you can write about a story an instantly start receiving targeted traffic from people who are actively interested in what you have written. Thanks to the large number of blogger that read Google News the websites that break the news first are likely to receive a number of high quality natural citations without any effort at all.
How to maximise traffic using images
You will notice that every group of stories have a thumbnail image associated with them. If Google chooses your image to show next to a popular story it can send hundreds or even thousands of visitors, even if you weren’t featured as a top source for the story.
In general the algorithm Google uses is, as you would expect, quite hard to figure out. To be in with a chance of having your image selected you need to follow some simple rules:
- Make your image either square or slightly rectangular
- A width of around 250 x 150px seems to work quite well
- Keep the file size as small as possible
- Use either a jpg or gif file
- Make the image interesting to improve click through rate
- Use alt tags & a file name similar to the article subject
- Insert the image at the start of the first paragraph of your story
Don’t be afraid of experimenting and if you are not getting the success you were hoping for sit down and look at the images that are being chosen instead of yours. What do they have that yours don’t?
How to use Google Hot Trends & Google News together
Making use of Google Hot Trends can also drive a huge amount of traffic thanks to the way Google embeds news results within the organic search results. Last week “how to carve a turkey”, “turkey temperature”, “turkey cooking time” were all very popular searches on Thanksgiving while “turkey soup” was the hottest the day after. These had hardly any news competition so you could quite easily have been the main source for a story about the best turkey soup recipes.
How to maximise traffic using keywords
Thousands of bloggers use RSS feeds from Google News for keywords related to your industry. Appearing in these feeds leads to targeted traffic and lots of high quality links. For example if I was writing a blog about social networking I would subscribe to feeds such as Facebook, Myspace and maybe even social networking.
Getting your content seen in these feeds isn’t too hard, simply including the keywords in the title tag is normally enough. Try not to think about keywords too much when you write your stories though in case it affects the quality of your content.
How to maximise traffic piggy backing stories
Piggy backing might not sound ethical but it is a great way to become an authority in your niche. All you need to do is keep a very close eye on breaking stories and try to be the second source to write about some very important news.
Once you see a story that you think could become popular sit down and write a post as quickly as possible (don’t rush it though). If you can get your story listed as a secondary resource underneath the main story you will get some very nice traffic.
Getting into Google News
It might seem obvious but the most important aspect of being included in Google News is that your site should be a source of news. If you run a one person blog then you won’t be eligible for inclusion. Make sure that you have been writing news worthy content on a daily basis for at least a few months before you consider submitting. Your stories should be original with high quality content and not just a rehash of other peoples stories.
Create a detailed “About” page on your site showing off awards, citations and traffic figures to make you appear a reputable source.
Having a strong editorial team is critical to getting your site included, make sure each of your authors has an easy to find page about them. Include awards, photos and contact details as well as a brief CV to show your readers how authoritative your website is.
Google has a number of fairly strict technical specifications that your site needs to meet before you can even consider applying for Google News.
Your article URLs should meet these guidelines:
Be unique. Each of your pages that display an article’s full text needs to have a unique URL that doesn’t change. We can’t include sites in Google News that display multiple articles at the same URL. For example, if your main news article is always located at http://www.google.com/news/story1.html, we won’t be able to include this URL every time the content changes.
Display a three-digit number. The URL for each article must contain a unique number consisting of at least three digits. For example, our news crawler can’t crawl an article with this URL: http://www.google.com/news/article23.html. It can, however, crawl an article with this URL: http://www.google.com/news/article234.html
If the only number in the article consists of an isolated four-digit number that resembles a year, such as http://www.google.com/news/article2006.html, we won’t be able to crawl it.
In order for our crawler to correctly gather your content, each article needs to link to a page dedicated solely to that article. Pages that display an article’s full text need to have a unique URL, and that URL needs to be a link available on one of your site’s main news pages.
Our robots can only crawl main pages with URLs that don’t change on a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Non-permanent URLs prevent us from crawling the site for new content, as we’re unable to detect the most current URL to be crawled.
Google News doesn’t currently include multimedia content. As you may know, our system can’t follow links to multimedia files; our news crawler can only gather content by crawling text articles. If your site displays text content (in addition to multimedia files), please send us your site’s URL. We may be able to include your articles in Google News.
Google will display certain crawl issues within Webmaster Central and you should be aware of these guidelines.
Common reasons for content not being indexed are your title being greater than 20 words or if the content of your story is less than 300 words.
How to Submit
Once you are satisfied your site adheres to the editorial and technical guidelines it’s time to submit your site via this form. The submission form is quite short and has a simple “Message” section in which you need to make your case for being included in Google News.
It is a good idea to compose your messaage in Word to avoid spelling mistakes and to think about the editorial guidelines while you are making your case for inclusion. Write about your traffic and why you are a worthy site that will add value to Google News.