Getting Included in Google News

Google News can send tons of traffic and help you gather a lot of inbound links. In this article we discuss Google News editorial and technical requirements.

Editorial Guidelines

Content Requirements

Content must be 100% original. Google News does not support news scrapers. You can sign up for PR wires to track news updates from around the world (along with the clutter of press releases). Having buddies on the “inside” also goes a long way, since you can be the one to break hot stories (Search Engine Land, Wall Street Journal, etc).

Authors/Editors

Google requires more than one author for a website, so if you’re a one-man blog you won’t get into Google News. The number of authors/editors required is not specified, so all we can do is guess. Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Round Table managed to get into Google News with five writers/editors and two featured writers, so you need at least several people.

Some forums state that the minimum required number of editors is three, but those are merely guesses.

Google News only includes sites that they perceive as operational organizations. This requires a clear editor/writer structure, author bios, company information, a physical address, phone numbers, etc. In short, it includes anything that shows you’re an operational publication that can produce consistent, high quality, fresh content.

Number of Articles Per Day (frequency)

There is no official statement on this from Google, but it’s obvious they want to see at least two to three quality articles per day.

Number of Articles on a Website

Just as with article frequency, there’s no word on this directly from Google. Common sense tells us, though, that you need a few hundred articles in the archive before they include you.

Content Format

Each article must have a clear title (more on titles in the technical section), author name and date of publication. It should also be a minimum of 200 to 300 words.

Ads

Google is 100 percent okay with ads on the site. In fact, it encourages all Google News publishers to use the AdSense Network. Advertisements also indicate that the site has visitors and a functional business model to support authors and continue publishing.

Multimedia

Google is okay with images within content, but does not allow content that consists of images only. The same goes for videos. You can include You Tube videos, but there must be words in an article to qualify it for Google News.

Overall, Google wants to see quality; this is probably the reason they have no clear qualifications. If a small publisher can contribute to the Google experience, Google editors will include that website, regardless of size.

Also keep in mind that once publisher is accepted in the index, everything else is handled by algorithms, without human input, so Google editors naturally want to make sure that the site will live up to the standards.

Article Titles

Titles should be news-like and clear. Browse CNN and the Wall Street Journal to get a feel for news headlines. They usually summarize content and include the names of the main players. Including names of companies will increase the likelihood of the article showing up for company specific searches (i.e. Google, Yahoo).

Title length should be between two and twenty-two words.

Date and time are prohibited in titles. If you’re using a content management system, you can disable that feature. Article titles should appear in both the <title> tag and somewhere on the page, for example <h1> of <h2> tags.

Google does not support the usage of the title as a link (the usual case on blogs), so you must disable this feature.

URLs

To be included in Google News, article URLs should follow Google News bot standards. URLs must be unique, and each unique URL must point to only one article. URLs must be permanent, without the use of session IDs. Google does not support dates in URLs, so set up your content management system to exclude dates.

Each URL must contain at least three digits. For example:

Bad:

www.site.com/news/article/54.html

Good:

www.site.com/news/article/547.html

www.site.com/news/article/4534343.html

Google cannot crawl articles that include a year in the URL.

URL Attributes that Prevent Crawling

Any of the URL attributes below will prevent the Google News bot from crawling your link:

  • /board/ or /boards/

  • /forum/ or /forums/

  • /messageboard

  • /showthread

  • ?threadid= or &threaded

  • Anything that is similar in nature

Google does not support news posted in a forum format. 

Template

Your website template should look like a news source. Milind Mody of eBrandz recommends staying away from a blog format.

JavaScript

Google News does not support JavaScript in any form, such as links, navigation or content hidden within a script.

Redirects

Google supports redirects, meaning you can plug content (like ads) in between Google News and your article. Guidelines include no session IDs (&ID=), use of 301s for permanent redirects and a minimal number of redirects to get from one page to another. Also set the redirect time period for a short amount of time and make sure that redirects don’t point to themselves.

Many companies show ads with delays before taking users to the actual article; this is why Google supports various redirects. 

To find out how the crawler would see a redirect, disable cookie, JavaScript and CSS support in your browser. You will probably see plain and ugly pages.

Frames

Frames are evil; don’t use frames. Sites that use frames call upon the dark forces from the depths of hell to be punished by low rankings and crawler problems.

Language

Google News supports only one language per page. The best code is UTF-8. Keep only one language version of the article on one page to avoid problems. If you support more than one language, you can contact the Google Team to be featured in other countries.

No Support

Google News does not support PDF articles and non-permanent content (content which sits on a URL but changes from time to time).

 

Google’s news crawler can spider dynamically generated content, such as .php, .asp and others, but it can run into problems which can prevent articles from appearing on Google News. It recommends that you use static URLs rather than dynamic URLs, or set your content management system to produce static looking links.

If you must use both dynamic and static URLs, block the Google bot from accessing dynamic ones to avoid duplicate content penalties. You can block the Google bot in robot.txt file.

Flash, graphic/image or JavaScript links

Google News does not recognize or follow Flash, graphic/image or JavaScript links which link to articles. Its automated crawler is best able to crawl plain text HTML links.

Snippets of Content

Google shows content snippets in search results with keyword occurrences. It requires sites to have NO content, other than the article, in an area between the title and content.

Registration and Subscription Content

If you run on subscription revenues, Google can add more ROI to your bottom line. There are three ways to handle this, but first you must allow Google in. The G-crawler has to see content to classify it, and pay-walls prevent this. You can work around this issue by putting in an exception for the Google bot.

  • First, make sure the Google bot is allowed to crawl your pages (robot.txt).

  • Second, configure your servers to serve registration when Google bot comes from 66.249.64.0/20.

Once you let Google bot crawl your subscription pages, those pages will be featured on Google News. From that point on there are several options:

  1. First click free. With this option visitors can reads full versions of your articles when and only when they come from Google News/Web Search. All other clicks on the site lead to the subscription page. Google claims they’ve increased subscription rates for some publishers with this method, and I believe it works best.

    Once users read full articles, they have a clear idea of the quality of your articles, which is better than any marketing message. For example, from time to time I read tech-related Wall Street Journal articles and I am often amazed at their quality, depth and level of connections with stakeholders in the industry. After reading one of their articles I am more likely to subscribe then after reading only a small summary.

    You can contact Google to arrange the first click free feature. Please note that only Google News/Google Search users will have access to the full article.

  2. A subscription page. This one is plain and simple. When users click on the link they are directed to subscription page. This is not effective in getting more subscriptions.

  3. Snippets of the page. You can also feature a partial snippet of the article with an offer to subscribe.

Feeds

Google does not require RSS feeds, but you can definitely benefit from having one. Feedburner offers free feeds, and all blog platforms produce RSS feeds by default.

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