Google has many different sections through its search engine. For current events, news, and trending items, the News feature can be extremely helpful. This is particularly relevant for YMYL content that pertains specifically to people’s lives. But just like the rest of Google, the News section has its own algorithm and ways you can rank on it for your content. 

But how does Google News work? Google News collects and aggregates news headlines and stories from countless sources around the world and displays them based on factors like relevance, location, user’s interests and preferences, content newness, and authority. In other words, the kinds of things you need to succeed with any SEO campaign! 

Users can access it directly on News.Google.com, or also on the main search results page where it has a prominent place, typically under the heading ‘Top Stories’ or simply News. 

This article will go through who would want to rank for Google news, why you should try to rank in the News section, and ways to get your content ready for Google News if you have the right kind of content. 

 

Who Should Try to Rank on Google News?

Honestly, ranking on Google News isn’t the easiest thing to achieve. It can be a very niche part of the internet that features great content, but not all content. Even Google’s public search liaison Danny Sullivan said “If you aren’t a news site, Google News and it’s web crawlers won’t likely show you love.” But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Individual industries can have new developments or earth-shattering updates that people need to know about.

Evergreen content doesn’t play well on Google News. These are current events and industry updates that can impact people’s lives. To be considered, your website needs to be a dedicated news site, no matter your industry. You need to have credible authors with independent and original content. So it is true that not every website can appear in Google News. But if you have a website that has new content based on current events and trends, we’ll tell you how to get that content ranking. 

 

How to Rank on Google News

Like with every other kind of content on the internet, there are some guidelines and recommendations that everyone should follow to get their content ranking. Google News Engineering and Product Lead Trystan Upstill stated that working with most recent Google News algorithm is like using “a new set of AI techniques to take a constant flow of information as it hits the web, analyze it in real time and organize it into storylines.”

Keeping this thought in mind, let’s dig in to understand what is required to successfully deal with the ever-changing Google AI algorithm to see your work featured on Google News.

General rules for ranking on Google News

Upstill adds “Google News understands the people, places and things involved in a story as it evolves, and connects how they relate to one another. At its core, this technology lets us synthesize information and put it together in a way that helps you make sense of what’s happening, and what the impact or reaction has been.”

So as you’re making content in the current events or News-relevant categories, you need to take a few steps to help the Google algorithm take note of your story, and how it connects with your other website content.

1. Relevance of content

This is valid no matter the kind of content. If you’re a website focusing on skincare techniques and suddenly start talking about dental implants, it’s not considered relevant. Google’s official support page places this at number one on their list of factors that algorithmically determine ranking. Content must be timely and relevant to the Google News audience. It must be timely, with sourced and relevant information, and not be trying to sell something or an opinion. Relevance is key when writing YMYL-type content.

2. Prominence

While it is important to capitalize on the current buzz everyone is talking about, simply following the masses doesn’t cut it when it comes to featuring on News. See the piece with a fresh set of eyes and differentiate yourself from the others with a new approach. Ranking well also comes with time building up the authority of your website and your brand as one who covers news topics accurately and with authority will help to build your brand. But unique information, well sourced, that gives an accurate picture of a news event will do better in the Google News Section. 

3. Authority

Publishing unique and quality content instead of refurbishing existing work goes a long way in building authority among readers and also higher priority than other similar articles. This goes back to E-A-T guidelines. You need to establish credibility and your authoritativeness in the subject. Back to my previous example, you need to post about things that are relevant to your website. Show your expertise on the subject. When you become a trusted source, it builds strong authority with readers and with Google.

4. Expertise

This one is obvious but can be easily forgotten when it comes to reporting news in a sought-after field or even otherwise. Content that offers a clear opinion, provides expert information and depth in the concerned industry has an edge over any other news content.

5. Post Quickly and Often

In the world of journalism, being first matters. Proactiveness and being able to forecast beyond breaking news is crucial. Besides speed, keeping track of new developments and updating content timely keeps Google and your readers well-served.

6. Keep in mind the principles of good journalism

If you’re in an industry that could be talking about news and noteworthy events and updates, it’s important to create articles that adhere to good journalistic principles. That means the who, what, where, when, why, how of the story gets answered quickly in the upside-down pyramid model. It means you have a strong lead. That you write comprehensively and compelling stories that people can quickly understand and apply to their lives. 

Technical Rules for Ranking on Google News

The general rules by themselves are pretty useful in upping your SEO content in general. These are basic practices you should follow no matter the kind of articles and content you right. However, to make it to the top stories featured on News, you will need some technical gems in your toolbox.

1. Set up Accelerated Mobile Page (AMPs)

On the surface, these are news pages stripped of all their non-text content so that they can load faster on smaller devices for people on the move. Essentially, it makes sure your content has all the important stuff, but removes some of the excess that could slow down loading times. Google is all about a good user experience right now, and crawls pages based on mobile first. In breaking news situations, having your content as AMP can help boost the rankings. This is not appropriate for all content types however. So do some research base on your industry and speciality.

2. Add ‘structured data’ to your news stories

This can enhance your Google search results appearances. AMP with structured data are candidates for the Top Stories carousel on mobile devices, visual stories etc. Structured data makes it easier for Google to crawl your content and understand it. And it if likes what it finds, with the right keywords, to rank it higher. 

3. Add strategic keywords

As with other content, traditional SEO guidelines apply to Google News articles as well. URLs and anchor links must be descriptive, relevant and permanent. Keyword research is a cornerstone to all SEO work. You can learn more about how to select the right keyword from our previous articles. 

Additional Rules for Ranking on Google News

Google evaluates the overall quality of a web page using the concept of E-A-T — Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Just getting the basics of content for news right could get you a long way in the Google News rankings list but some other points could also boost your chances for a larger audience share.

  1. News aiming to feature as a Top Stories candidate shouldn’t have salesy language. Google News accepts news content only. Any attempt at marketing or PR is discarded by the algorithm. For quality guidelines, refer to the Webmaster Quality Guidelines.
  2. The Google News Publisher Center allows you to submit your publication’s information such as contact details and headquarter information. According to Google Support, this aids content and branding control. Subscriptions and advertisements can be shown in your content area and publishers can use paywalls in Newsstand through Subscribe with Google.
  3. Google allows publishers to enhance their storytelling and customize their news content and show readers news based on relevance and interest by highlighting issues and events. This is through News Showcase which is a handy module based on promotional timing, quality of user experience, and relevance.

With a large audience worldwide consuming online news everyday, Google’s old YMYL concept with respect to news has taken different turns materializing in various algorithm developments. In September 2019, Google rolled out an update which shook a lot of companies’ tactics around rankings. That update and the following ones have all driven home the large emphasis Google places on content quality towards the well-being of its consumers.

How does Google News Help my Website?

While it is important to feature under the News section, attaining a higher rank is instrumental in getting more people to see your work. It helps to:

  1. Boost brand interest and visibility. This is a no-brainer. Showing higher up on Google News can increase brand reach and also lead to a rise in sales and website traffic.
  2. Build reader trust. 60% of news readers trust Google News over its competitors. This translates to broader business value compared to traditional value metrics like clicks and impressions. Down the line, this leads to favorable results for your website and brand.
  3. Increase site authority. The Top Stories carousel for mobile and desktop sites is a coveted spot for breaking news to surface on the Google Search ecosystem. Being placed here shows the brand’s authority and while users click and bookmark your site link, Google rewards your site in the SERPs.
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Kristine is the Director of Content with Boostability. She brings a decade's worth of communications strategy work to the company. Kristine has a Masters Degree in Leadership and Communications from Gonzaga University and graduated from BYU with her undergrad in Broadcast Journalism. She's worked in television news, public relations, communications strategy, and marketing for over 10 years. In addition to being a part of the marketing team, Kristine enjoys traveling, sports, and all things nerdy.