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Google News Optimization - How To Get Websites In Vertical Search

The main idea behind Google News, according to Google, is that “readers typically first select a news medium and then search for headlines that interest them. We take a slightly different approach: The goal of Google News is to present its readers with news with personalized options and more diverse perspectives. "

How does Google News work?

Google itself explains the provision of news in Google News as follows:

“Our headlines are selected exclusively by computer algorithms that take into account, for example, how often and on which websites a message appears. At Google News, there are no editors who select news or decide which news should receive a top ranking. "

Illustration 1: Google News in Austria

The content of all websites listed in Google News is displayed directly in the vertical search of Google News, but also in the search results, provided that this content deals with current topics with strong user demand. Not every topic is immediately considered “news” just because it is new. To recognize news as such, Google takes into account the timeliness of the publication on the one hand and the general demand when searching for a topic on the other.

The websites that were successfully included in Google News are constantly being crawled and rated by "Googlebot News". The crawler follows very specific rules. If a website is not geared towards this crawler and delivers content that is not suitable for the news, it will not be read and in the worst case the website will be removed from the Google News. It is therefore important that the general, technical and quality guidelines of all websites are strictly followed.

Website optimization for Google News

Who doesn't want their website to be read as news in the vertical Google News search or directly in the search results? However, a website is included according to strict guidelines and a manual check by Google itself, because not every website is suitable for appearing in Google News.

How is a website included in Google News?

In order for a website to be included in the Google News service, the general, technical and qualitative (or content) requirements must be met. These are checked manually by Google before this website is confirmed and accepted.

general guidelines

1. The website must offer content that relates in time to current events and topics and for which there is general interest. Reports such as a weather forecast, general advice or pure informational texts without a time reference are not included in Google News.

2. The “traditional values ​​of journalism” must be fulfilled. This means that the reporting is based on honest sources and must be prepared by an editor as the original reporting. If reports from several sources are combined, the reports must either be separated or Google's access to the individual sources must be restricted using a robots.txt file.

3. Based on survey results from Google, it is recommended to provide biographical data and contact information for the authors of the respective contributions. Not only does this increase the authors' credibility and authority, but it also increases the likelihood of the site being successfully included in Google News.

4. Easy readability without spelling or grammar errors are an essential part of a positive user experience, which has a significant influence on the inclusion in Google News. In addition, you should avoid too much advertising material, such as banners or videos, on the website, as they have a negative impact on the user experience. Spelling and advertising can therefore be exclusion criteria for Google News.

Technical guidelines

To find the latest news, Google uses its own algorithm that searches all websites included in Google News. It is important that these websites follow the technical guidelines and meet certain requirements so that Google can quickly recognize new reports and deliver them via the search results.

Google itself says:

"The news content of your website can only be included in Google News if our crawler can easily read and capture the layout and format of your website."

The technical guidelines cover the following aspects:

1. The URLs of the articles must be unique and permanently accessible. In order to only enter new articles, it is necessary that the URL consists of at least three digits.

2. The new articles should be well linked internally and thus made easily accessible. Ideally, the links to the new articles are placed directly on the home page. It is important that the links are HTML, otherwise the crawler could have difficulties indexing.

3. All articles must be in HTML format. PDFs or other formats will not be included in Google News.

4. Multimedia content, such as videos or audio files, is not yet included in Google News, with the exception of YouTube videos.

It is also recommended to create a Google News Sitemap and submit it via the Google Search Console. However, as long as the website has not been included in Google News, error messages can occur due to the News Sitemap in the Google Search Console.

Quality guidelines

Google News only publishes news. It is therefore important to separate the non-news content types from the actual news reports. Content that is not considered to be messages must either be placed on hosts or in directories that are different from the messages. These directories or hosts must be blocked for the Googlebot news via the robots.txt file. This ensures that the crawler only reads and indexes current messages.

example: Block out Googlebot news via robots.txt:

User agent: Googlebot-NewsDisallow: /news.html

In order to strictly separate different content types such as blogs, satire, press releases, opinions and news from one another, the content types should be specified using their own HTML tags. With these tags, a distinction is made between and , which are specified for each URL in the Google News sitemap.

tag:

This tag indicates the accessibility of the content:

  • Subscription: The content can only be read for a fee.
  • Registration: The content is only readable if you create a free account.

tag:

This tag contains one or more values ​​and indicates the type of content. The following types can be specified:

The user-friendliness and correct use of the Google News meta tags also play a major role in terms of the quality and thus the inclusion of the website in Google News.

Google News Dashboard

In the Google News Publisher Dashboard, the inclusion in Google News can be requested for all websites to which the registered Google account has access via the Search Console. This initiates the manual verification process by Google.

Figure 2: Google News Publisher Dashboard

After the admission process has started, a form must be filled out with information about the person and the website.

Figure 3: Application form for admission

Google News Sitemap

The Google News sitemap in XML format works similarly to a classic XML sitemap and provides Google with information about new content, publication dates, language, title and availability or genre.

However, only URLs that are not older than two days are taken into account. After these two days, they can be removed from the sitemap. However, all URLs will remain in Google's news index for up to 30 days after publication. Afterwards, these are completely removed from Google News because they have lost their relevance and thus the interest of the news readership.

Meta tag "Keywords" - still relevant?

In Google News, the Keywords meta tag in the of the source code is still relevant for the website's output in search results. This tag should be used to describe message texts so that Google can assign them correctly right away. In addition, ambiguities in search terms can be better explained.

example:

< meta name="news_keywords" content="WM, Brasilien, Spanien gegen Niederlande" >

In this example, it could be any World Cup in Brazil where Spain and the Netherlands meet or have met. As you add more terms, the alignment of the article becomes clearer:

< meta name="news_keywords" content=" WM, Brasilien 2014, Spanien gegen Niederlande, Fußball" >

Conclusion

In principle, inclusion in Google News is not a particularly complex process as long as the requirements for successful inclusion are met. Above all, the content standards of journalism should be taken into account and adhered to.

The five most important aspects for inclusion in Google News summarized:

  • Credibility through original reporting, sources and author information
  • Maintain regular and up-to-date publication frequency
  • Use technical features such as Google News sitemap and meta keywords
  • Pay attention to correct HTML formatting and internal linking of the news
  • Maintain a strict separation of news and other types of articles!

If these rules are observed and adhered to, nothing stands in the way of inclusion in the vertical search of Google News!