If you consider your website content news-worthy—whether it’s current global news or industry-related—you need to know how to show up on Google News.
Does getting into Google News mean another set of SEO rules and guidelines to follow?
Well, yes—Google News SEO best practices are needed to help your pages perform and be chosen.But, understanding how to get into Google News will be worth the time and effort spent as it’s the global go-to platform for local and international news.
It’s undoubtedly the most noteworthy news aggregator for current and industry-related events around the world. With more than 20,000 publishers in multiple languages, it provides users with high-quality and up-to-date real-time reporting.
Getting into Google News is a superb way to drive organic traffic to your site and increase your monthly click-through rates to promote engagement with your target audience. Let’s dive into what is Google News-worthy and how to be recognised as a trusted publisher by its crawlers.
What is Google News?
Unlike Discover, Google News is an app available on the App Store and Google Play that allows the user to explore multiple perspectives of a single story as it publishes trusted sources from around the world. Like Discover, it’s not keyword-driven, and you’ll need to comply with specific content policies and Google News optimization practices to land on the newsstand and feed.
Google News is your source for breaking news headlines and personalized news stories based on your likes and interest.
We know that Google is at the forefront of making the internet a trusted source of information again. The sooner website owners and publishers get on board with this Google strategy and deliver top-quality E-A-T content, the sooner they will climb the ranks on the SERPs and feature on desired apps like Google News and automated feeds like Discover.
So, what is Google News and what isn’t?
You don’t necessarily have to be a Pulitzer Prize winner to feature. Still, you must report with the same integrity and authority as they would if you want to be recognised by Google News as trusted, relevant, and authoritative.
It’s not only current events that make it to Google’s newsstand. If you’re recognised as an industry leader in your sphere of business and publishing thought-leading content, your articles could also be getting into Google News.
How does Google News work?
Google uses two methods to find relevant content for News. They draw from the Publisher Centre, or they find you via their typical web crawlers. It then uses *AI to serve news to users based on factors like relevance, interests, and location.
You can use the Publisher Centre tool to share your content with Google News by submitting RSS feeds, website URLs, or videos. To provide the best experience for readers, you can choose between direct control and traffic using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) or custom styling of feed-backed content.
If you have specific content that you don’t want to surface in Google News, you have the option to block access to content without affecting your typical indexing and ranking in Search.
*We discuss Google AI in more detail in another recent article about Google Discover, should that interest you.
Why should you care about Google News?
If you want to build brand awareness and trust, you must consider tested ways to get into Google News sooner rather than later. With an extensive reach globally, it’s the perfect tool to gain a larger audience for your website and be recognised as having topical authority in your field of expertise.
Signing up as a contributor through the Publisher Centre gives your content a boost in potentially appearing in the News feed and offers a variety of other benefits, including:
- Monetisation opportunities: You can set up paywalls via ‘Subscribe with Google’
- Branding: You can customise your publication’s design and branding
- Placement eligibility: The Google News merchandising team selects publications with business terms for the Newsstand section (in certain regions). It’s chosen based on UX quality, relevance, and promotional timing.
How to get into Google News?
Besides focusing on high-quality E-A-T content in every single publication, there are definite Google News SEO practices to follow for Google News optimization.
Best Google News optimization strategies
Although there are no set rules to follow that guarantees your articles will appear in News, you should follow these Google News SEO good practices as it increases the probability to be found by the crawlers.
PRO TIP: There are various content and technical guidelines to help you qualify for getting into Google News, and following these three steps gives your page a considerable boost:
- Stay on top of trending news and publish articles that elaborate on it with unique insight. You can follow the latest trending news at google.com/trends.
- Set up an XML sitemap for Google News
- Focus on creating a unique URL structure
Furthermore, you must focus on the following Google News SEO practices that will drastically improve your chances to be recognised by the crawlers as a good source of news:
Structured data markup
By updating your article’s structured data markup, you can ensure that Google will have the correct data for your published content. Google can use the information in specific fields when featuring your content in News, including:
- Datemodified in ISO 8601 format
- Datepublished in ISO 8601 format
- Image URL if it’s marked-up and specified image
- The headline must not be more than 110 characters
- isAccessibleForFree if your content isn’t behind a paywall
If you want to ensure that Google News can access your pages, you must make every page reachable from at least one static text link. Google can follow redirects to an extent, so when you use it, keep the number of redirects to a minimum. Use a 301 redirect if it’s going to be permanent. You must shorten your redirect timer and make sure they’re not empty and that it points to valid pages—not to themselves.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t use &ID= in your URLs. You can look at how the crawlers will find your site by using a cookie-less text browser to navigate to your website.
Enter a publication date
You can use various ways to ensure that News can determine your article’s date and time to display.
The best place to add your visible and apparent date and time are beneath the headline.
Google guidelines warn against refreshing your stories just for the sake of being displayed again. You should only consider doing it if an article is radically changed and updated. Also, avoid making only slight changes to a story, deleting it and redirecting it to the new one.
Remember to use structured data—especially the dateModified or datePublished fields—and enter the right time zone. You must also use a <publication_date> tag in your Google News sitemap. You must include the publication date of the article in each URL in W3C format.
Avoid inappropriate or missing images
Net user’s engagement of late is driven by imagery and storytelling. It’s crucial that your accompanying photos represent your content well and gets indexed correctly.
You must follow the Google News SEO best practices to ensure the correct lead image is associated with your story.
Avoid using your company logo or slogans and ensure that your images are relevant to the article.
Your photos must preferably be around 60 x 90 pixels and have good aspect ratios. The image crawler will identify your thumbnail better if you use og:image or Schema,org tags.
The placement of your images is also vital. Place them as close to your titles as possible. It needs to make sense and be relevant. Use good and intelligent writing to label them and give them standard filename extensions. Stick to using .png, .jpg, or .jpeg. Always double-check that access to the image isn’t blocked by a metatag or robots.txt file.
Keep in mind that Google can randomly select your images and pair them with other stories. It enables them to give the user a wider variety of sources.
Use correct article titles
Google crawlers scan your pages to choose the best headlines for your article. By following best practices, you’ll assist them in displaying the right title.
Right off the bat, make sure that all article title lengths are mobile friendly. It should be between 2- and 22-words max, with a ten-character minimum.
Placement is crucial at the top of your article, and you must use the <H1> tag. Make sure the page’s HTML <title> tag matches the <H1> tag. Don’t add the time or date in your title. Try to match all anchor texts pointing to your article to the page’s title, but don’t use the title as an active hyperlink on your article page.
Block all content that’s not intended for Google News
Google News provides users with access to content that is original and journalistic. If you have content or pages on your site that does not comply with these standards, it’s an excellent call to block the crawlers from finding them. You can also use canonical.
You must block any republished works from other publishers or scraped content—even if you’re publishing with permission from the original creator.
Google News Content Policies
We want to make it easy for users to find news from publishers who consistently produce independent and original work, with a significant source of fresh and purposeful content. Our content and behaviour policies help ensure a positive experience for our users and publishing partners. To be eligible to appear in Google News or news surfaces, content should follow best practices for article pages. Content shouldn’t violate Google Search’s overall policies or these policies for Search features.
Topics to avoid are:
|Dangerous content||Manipulated media||Hateful content|
|Medical content||Sexually explicit content||Profanity and vulgar language|
|Terrorist content||Harassing content||Deceptive practices|
Google also says:
We generally do not include how-to articles, advice columns, job postings or
strictly informational content such as weather forecasts and stock data.
It’s vital that your organisation follows Google News SEO best practices to be featured on millions of screens globally if your business is at the forefront of publishing current or industry headlines.
Google is the trendsetter amongst all search engines, and if you succeed in satisfying their gruelling—albeit necessary—guidelines and crawlers, you’re sure to be noticed as a leader in your field. It’s good for your reputation, brand awareness, and bottom line: especially if you want to expand your markets.
As we always say, we know you want to focus on your core business daily, not necessarily staying up to date with Google’s updates and requirements. If you’re ready to optimize for Google News, Contact us, and one of our senior team members will be happy to discuss new strategies.
Author: Estelle Slabbert