Google Webmaster Central recently published a blog post to help news agencies increase their chances for ranking in Google News Search. I found the information to be very helpful, not just for news organizations but for all of us.
Here are some highlights:
- News sitemaps are very helpful
- 4 of the most important ranking factors include: fresh and new content, duplication and novelty detection, local and personal relevancy, trusted sources (section and edition)
- For multimedia content, submit YouTube videos
- Use large inline and nonclickable jpegs near the title
- PageRank is not very important
- Publish dates between the title of the article and the body
- Don’t break up the article
- Use unique URLs
- Optimize your titles
Let’s briefly discuss the most interesting of these criteria:
Ranking factors – Google makes a point to mention 4 specific ranking factors for news content. Of those 4 ranking factors, the most interesting are the duplication of content and novelty detection and trusted sources. Google wants to deliver searchers to the freshest, most relevant information so those factors make sense. If your article isn’t first to publish on a particular topic, it will benefit you to link to the article that was. That’s what is meant by “duplicate content and novelty detection”. If a large daily beats you to a story and you know this, it will actually help you in the rankings to cite it as a source. And the more trusted of a source you are, the better you’ll fare in the rankings. I actually think Google misses the boat on this one in News Search because often you’ll find The Huffington Post ranks higher for certain local content than the original local news source that broke the story. Still, becoming a trusted source is important.
Multimedia Optimization – If you are doing any multimedia presentations in your news then you’ve got to submit them to YouTube. It’s interesting that Google mentions that specifically. If your news organization is publishing news videos then it’s important to start a YouTube channel and publish your videos there as well as on your own site.
Image Optimization – Three things really jumped out at me here: The mention of jpegs as the preferred format, making your photos and images nonclickable, and placing them near your title. Your image should be large and with text wrap at the beginning of the article. Huge optimization factor in News Search.
Now that you’ve read the commentary, take 15 minutes of your time and watch the video. If you are trying to get your news articles to rank higher in News Search, get your information straight from the source – Google News.