How To Get Into Google News
Google news can be complicated to get into. Many site owners just submit there site without understanding the requirements on both the technical and editorial side of things. If you have one and not the other your site will not be allowed into Google news. In this article, I’m going to include some of the unique situations I’ve come across that you won’t find in other Google news checklists. I’m hoping this will help you think outside of the box when it comes to how you should approach your Google news submission.
Is your site dedicated to news or does it occasionally report on the news?
In order to get into Google news someone from Google will first manually review your website and if the majority of your content is full of personal opinion pieces, magazine-style articles or full of how-to articles – you’ll be rejected. In my experience, the only types of sites that can get away with a mix of content are large publishers. These are sites that have a high level of credibility with Google.
Before we go into specifics for getting content in Google news, you must be already following Google’s general guidelines. If you can’t check everything off of this list, don’t bother applying for Google news.
Below are some of the more common issues that I’ve seen over the years that can hold a site back from being included in Google news search results.
Stick to the news – Avoid adding sales copy to the end of your news stories. If you write news stories about “car accidents” and you’re a law firm and at the end of the article, you tell readers to contact you if they too have been in an accident, Google will reject the content. You must avoid any type of sales information. This is news content. Now, you can have an add offering your services on the page, but you can’t have sales material in the body of the article.
Authorship is important – Content needs to be written by real people. Each article should be assigned to a writer. That author’s name should be a link that goes to their bio on the site. This section should contain all of the articles that the person has written. As well as a photo, bio, and links to their social media accounts. Avoid using “admin” as an author of news content. That’s a guaranteed denial.
Stand out – When reporting on the same story as other sources, it can be difficult to rank for them if more trusted sources are reporting them first.
Google isn’t looking to rehash the same content written in a different way. Think about what you can do to make your content different and stand out. Did you have different sources, different images or videos that no one else has? Did you interview someone that other organizations haven’t? Maybe, you have a video of that interview? Think about what makes your organization different and leverage it.
Create a Google News Sitemap
It should be obvious, but if it is not – only news articles should be in the news sitemap. Additional criteria include:
- Avoid adding prefixes to news stories. This is a sure way to have your content rejected. An example would be some of your articles fall into a subcategory of your site and you lead with that subcategory in the title of your news story.
- Never place your brand name in front of your title tag. Always lead with the story headline.
- Do not add press releases or content from other sources in your Google news sitemap.
- Avoid personal opinion within news stories.
Your stories will NOT be included in Google News without a news specific sitemap. Google relies on this sitemap to help it find news only stories. While Google claims that it isn’t required, it’s better to have it. Especially, if your site is not 100% news.
Having a “news” only sitemap is also helpful to you. If Google rejects your stories you may receive notifications within search console. These notifications can help you identify issues and fix them. This is the first place I look if someone was already included in Google news and they don’t see their stories appear.
What are the requirements for a Google news sitemap
- There should be content no older than 48 hours in the sitemap
- Only news articles should be in the sitemap
- Unique content, no sponsored content or news content from other sources such as AP
- Submit the sitemap to Google news and place a link to it in your robots.txt file.
If you’re using WordPress you can use this plugin to easily create a Google news sitemap.
Submit your sitemap to search console. You need to verify your website within search console. One you do. You can upload a sitemap as well as a Google news sitemap.
Additional on Page Considerations
Schema for Google News Articles
Schema is often overlooked when it comes to websites in general, but there is a huge SEO benefit in doing so. Schema helps your content stand out more which in turn helps increase traffic from Google.
What is schema for Google news?
Schema for Google news is markup that helps search engines such as Google understand what your content is about and allows them to pull snippets into search results, increasing your content’s visibility.
Is it important for Google News?
Marking up your news content with Schema will help Google pull your content into the news carousel and other features that they may roll out in the future. You can see a full list of schema for news articles on Schema.org
What is speakable markup?
As Google home grows in popularity Google wants to be able to pull news from content that is “speakable” so it can read it to users. News organizations can capitalize on this function by marking their content with this schema code. If your content is selected and read over a Google device a link will be sent to the user on their phone if they want to learn more about the topic from your site. This could give you an edge over your competitors.
Google News Requirements
How to submit your site to Google news?
- The URLs of the site must be static and not change. You can update the stories (recommended) just don’t change the URL.
- Do not place content in PDFs or images as Google cannot read content in those formats.
- Google must be able to crawl your content. Do not block Google from crawling the content. This includes the robots.txt file or meta tag no, index directives.
Once you’ve gone through everything in this article you’re ready to submit your site. Below are the steps to take in order to request inclusion.
- Set up your site with search console.
- Head over to the Google News Publisher Center.
- Click the website you want to be included (if you have more than one site verified) in Google news.
- Add your website details and news sections if you have more than one.
- Click submit.
How long does it take to get approved into Google news?
It can take anywhere from 7– 21 days for the process to take place. Once your site has been reviewed you can review your status by login into your publisher account. If you are approved you’ll see “included” under news. If your site was denied it will read “Review complete: Site rejected.”
If your site isn’t 100% news be sure that there is a “News” or “breaking news tab in your main navigation so that when your site has manually reviewed the person conducting the evaluation can clearly find your news content.
Google News Submission Rejected
If you’ve tried everything in this article and your Google news submission is still being rejected it could be due to other various issues that require an audit to undercover any technical issues that could be causing problems.
- You can join the Google publisher forum here. Once there you can ask the community for help on your site issues and see if someone there can help.
- Your other option is to schedule some time with me to discuss your situation and determine if I can help.
Getting into Google news can sometimes be as simple as meeting the Google news technical requirements. Other times it can much more complicated. If you’re still not sure how to get into google news or are running into roadblocks, contact me.