Google News has always been seen as the exclusive domain of very large websites with comprehensive brand presence: no more!
Just follow these 10 steps and you will be on your way to Google News Glory!
This post has been written to help get your site ready to be submitted to Google News. Once you are accepted into the google news feed you can look forward to a captive audience of readers, more subscribers, free traffic and some great quality in-links straight to your site. Each of the 10 steps of this system is detailed below. Happy news writing and good luck.
1. Get A Top Content Management System. Wordpress is Best!
Having a great CMS is the first step to news management success. Being able to add, edit and time stamp content easily will make your news story posting a walk in the park. The flexibility to change the way your content works will allow you to be proactive if the feed rules ever change. I would recommend WordPress, its free, fast and well supported. You dont have to have your whole site within this CMS, it can just serve the news sections if you wish, but its also really useful for any blogging that you may wish to do. I have included a list of cool Content for SEO Plugins for Wordpress at the end of this article that you may find useful. If you dont like WordPress try one of these content management systems.? Movable Type, Drupal or Joomla
2. Bomb Proof Hosting - Keep Your Site Live.
Hosting on a cheap provider is not always a very good idea. You need a good reliable host that isnt going to go down as soon as your thousands of readers click on your latest story. Your server is just as important to your news work as it is to your standard SEO techniques. You may not need to pay a great deal more than you are already for a very reliable service.
3. Sort Out Your URL Structure - Follow Googles Guidelines.
URL structure is a vital element with very specific rules that need to be followed. The following requirements are very simple to implement on a CMS that allows bespoke URLs such as WordPress permalinks.
A: Unique URL
Each page of your news content must have its own unique URL. If your articles are all displayed on one page, such as a /news.php, the stories will not be accepted. This is a vital point, each story must have its own page for the spider to crawl it properly.
B: Permanent Links
Your links need to be permanent to ensure that Google can crawl the pages successfully. If for example you post your latest news story daily onto your web page news.html, it will not be picked up. In Googles words, the page cant be recycled.
C: Three Digit Unique Identifier
Google has a set of other technical requirements and annoying problems that you may encounter. You need to be aware of them in case your site setup needs altering. I will run through the issues in turn.
A: Dynamic News Content:
Google News indexes dynamic content, asp and php. Be careful with this sort of content as its not unknown for the crawler to just ignore them. If it becomes apparent that the page isnt being spidered either limit the parameters on the page or create a static version. If you create a static pager version remember to, robots.txt the dynamic versions.
D: Forum style URLS
Dont use forum style URLs as above as Google will simply ignore them.
board/ or /boards/
/forum/ or /forums/
?threadid= or &threaded
E: Framed Pages
As with most SEO related activities frames are bad. Google will however review the page to see if its OK. I would advise you remove any frames before submission to save yourself time.
F: Multiple Languages
Only use one language per page. They say per article but I think if you have an English version at the top and a Spanish one below you will encounter the same negative response.
G: Keep your news section permanent.
Obvious one this. Dont keep moving your news section. Some people move their content around to different areas of the site. Once its up dont change it. If you are accepted and the URL 404s they wont bother contacting you they will just drop the feed.
H: If you run a subscription model website
If your site runs a subscription service you obviously have to let the crawler in for free. Get your servers to skip your registration forms when spidered, ie: when the User-Agent is "Googlebot." The manual reviews arent keen on subscription either so I would look at a free feed option if you still want approval.
I: Rejected URLS
If your URLs contain the following they will not be accepted:
URL Cant end with: .gif, .hqx, .jpeg, .jpg or .zip
J: News Sitemaps
This is another feature like the directory of contributors that they are trying to get people to use. If you have the time or the inclination it could be worth building. In their own words, We encourage using the Sitemap protocol to create a News sitemap. I wont bore you with all the details as I dont feel this is a deal breaking feature, however if you require more information visit News Sitemaps.
4. Write A Great News Story
When you have all of the components mentioned above in place and ready to go you are finally prepared for some news content. I would of course advocate the use of a professional writing team for your news production due to the frequency of posting and the consistency of authoring. If you do decide that you would like to try writing your own stories you should follow my Great News Stories In 6 Steps post which details the journalistic formula to news writing success.
5. Posting Tips - Ensure Your Article Is Posted Correctly
I will write the next section assuming that you have WordPress installed. If you do not the features mentioned should be available in your CMS.
A: Create Multiple Authors -
Set up three to five author names in your system. You then project a multi- contributor face not only to Google but also your readership. Even if you have a single writer, select a different author name each time you post.
B: Date Stamping
Engineer the times of your posts. This can be very useful if you are out of the office or if you wish to back post or even pre-post. If you enter a time in the future WordPress will wait for that time to arrive and will then automatically post the article for you.
C: Tagging your article
Tag your article with appropriate keywords to your story; add at least three.
6. Post Your Articles Daily Without Fail
Your news must go up daily (Monday to Friday is fine.) This is vital as Google doesnt want sites with sporadic news; they need to know that your news is posted daily. I would recommend two articles a day. Once you get into the feed you may want to think about increasing the frequency so that your traffic is spread throughout the day.
7: Build Up A Back Catalogue - At Least 2 Months!
You need to have a back catalogue of news before you submit your site for the feed. Your site will be assessed for its suitability. They will look at your old stories and their posting frequency, etc. Time stamping can help you with this one if you are in a hurry. If you are starting from scratch and are just doing one or two articles at a time you should wait at least two months before submitting your site.
8: Submit Your Site To Google News
I will walk you through the final submission process, step-by-step.
A. Ensure you meet all of Googles Guidelines.
If you have missed something you will get rejected and have to put it right, so best do it correctly now.
B: Submit URL
You can Submit Your Site Here. Select the Suggest My news site to Google news.
C: Input Your Site URL
Fill in your top level domain only. In this case Purecontent.com. This is not for your news URL.
D: Directory Of Contributors
In the form they will ask for a Directory of Contributors URL. This is not an essential step but if you have time to create one it may be to your advantage. Just create a web page with a list of the author names and some details about your contributors. I personally believe that they do not even read this, but if there is a page on your site it just ticks another box for them.
E: Complete the form
You are asked a series of ordinary questions, name and address, etc. The only area of this form that needs close attention is the CONTENT INFORMATION SECTION.??This box is where you enter your news feed URLs. So however you have set up your news section the correct URL must go in here. You may have it on a standard page of your site, for example: purecontent.com/news.htm, or perhaps you have set up a sub-domain specifically for your news: news.purecontent.com.
9. Reply To Googles Email
You will receive the following email almost straight away:
Thank you for your interest in Google News. Please read this message
thoroughly for important instructions on how to finalize your request to
be included in Google News. In order to help us deal with the large number
of requests for inclusion, we ask that you review our guidelines below and
reply to this email if your site meets our qualifications.
We typically include sites in Google News that:
- have news content that is original to the site
- don't solely promote their own activities
- are written and maintained by a clear organization, one that has
multiple writers and editors
Please let us know if your site fits these guidelines. If it does, you may
want to review our technical requirements as well found at
http://www.Google.com/support/news_pub/bin/topic.py?topic=11665. After we
hear from you, we'll be happy to review your site for inclusion in Google
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
IMPORTANT - YOU MUST REPLY TO THIS EMAIL!
Say that you feel your site fits the requirements and you would like to be considered
10. Sit Back And Wait Your Submission is Complete!
Congratulations you are now submitted to Google news. They will now assess your site and get back to you via email. This process can take up to a month. Good luck, and if at first you dont succeed, try again! If you have any questions send me a mail and I will help further if I can.
Apendix 1: Common Issues and how to fix them.
If getting accepted is becoming a problem you will need to do some trouble shooting. Good places to start your investigations are mentioned below:
If they are spidering and you are displaying a date older than 2 days they probably wont accept the content. This shouldnt be a problem with WordPress as its put straight into your page code. If you are putting your stories into HTML yourself make the dates more prominent in their own line of code. Remove any other dates that may confuse the crawler.
The Google system looks at the pages source code and reads the title from the <title> tags. If you dont have one it will make it up; thats not good. Make sure its prominent in the code above the body copy and that it doesnt contain any links.
C: Article Content
I realise that this one might sound very basic but the crawler is pretty sensitive so the content must fit the guidelines.
Please ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the article too long or too short to be a news article?
- Does it contain well constructed and properly punctuated sentences??Is your formatting right?
- Single sentences will stop the crawl.? Does your article constitute the main body of the page or is it just a small section?
- Do you have a robots.txt and is it stopping the crawler?
If you are still having issues after this troubleshooting section contact google directly and they will help fix any issues that may not be covered here.
Appendix 2: Handy Plugins For WordPress.
If you decide to use WordPress install some plug-ins that will help you optimise your content. Some that are available are shown below and are recommended.
Head META Description - This plug-in will automatically write you a meta description tag for your post. It will change dynamically depending on the query type.
Google Sitemaps - If you dont have a compliant sitemap (in the eyes of Google webmaster tools) this plug-in will auto-generate the XML page necessary.
Sociable - This will auto insert all the social icons you could ever wish for, from Digg to Twitter.
Akismet - This is a spam filter. It checks any comments against their web service to ascertain validity. It will also check any track-backs for spam.
No Ping Wait - Fast posting by moving any old pings to an execute-pings.php. The link will take you to a blog that I have found that still has the install file. The old source has now been removed.
Written By: David Hobart
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Copyright Purecontent Media Limited 19/05/2013.