Google News is the free news aggregator that’s operated by the search engine giant, which ‘watches’ tens of thousands of news sources from around the world and aggregates content from a similar number of publishers.
There are many obvious benefits to appearing in Google News – increased brand visibility, reach, website traffic and authority, all of which have the potential to lead to increased sales. More than that, websites that appear in Google News are perceived to be more trustworthy, according to Search Engine Journal, and this perceived trustworthiness can impact long-term user behaviour and attitudes.
However, as many of us know, not all content is created equal, which means that not all content is suitable for inclusion in Google News. So, what kind of content is eligible, and how does your website fit into Google News’ guidelines?
Google News general guidelines:
Google News states that sites must offer relevant and timely reporting on matters, which excludes how-to columns, advice columns, job postings, or informational content like weather forecasts and stock data. Google News can accept blogs, satire and press release sites (which have their own set of guidelines here). Overall, for a website to be included in Google News, it must add value to the audience, and must publish news content on a daily basis.
The key to everything on Google News is that your content Must. Be. Original. Furthermore, they’re definitely not interested in promotional content such as advertorials or marketing material. Google News is particularly drawn to sites that identify a niche and present a well-defined, well-written position on a topic. Like any good website, Google will like it even more if a website proves their credentials with an address and contact number.
It also has to be current, which means that your turnaround time for putting together news articles needs to be extremely fast, and you’ll need to have access to breaking news within your industry.
As with all established news sites, you’ll also need to adhere to strict journalistic standards – think fact-checking and introducing style guidelines to ensure that your writers aren’t writing blog-like content, but rather hard news stories. It’s likely you’ll need to appoint or establish an editorial team who can work on your newsroom every day and set the direction of your content. A key part of their role will also be to forecast your site’s content so that you can publish several times a day. Google News also requires you to list your editorial team on your website on a separate page, which you must do before submitting your site.
Most websites will have to apply to be included in Google News, but the fact is that the search engine has the ability to pick and choose which news content they’d like to include. The application process is fairly rigorous – there are lots of detailed questions about your website that you will need to answer truthfully before Google will accept your application. In this way, it pays to have a look through Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines, which lays out some basic principles and techniques of which to steer clear.
Of course, there are a host of technical tips for getting into Google News (for starters, try here and here, as your site map and webmaster tools will need a once-over), but these content guidelines should set you on the right path for turning your website into a newsroom. As with most things with Google, it pays to be patient and do things properly so you can reap the rewards down the track.