The number one question was receive from publishers is generally how they can increase their traffic from Google News. Here are some best practices and tips for publishers who want more success on Google News.
Headlines and Date Format
Below are a list of best practices from Publisher Help Center. But the name of the game here is to publish and format headlines clearly.
- Place the title of your article in a prominent place above the article body, such as in an
- Match the title of your article page (in the HTML
<title>tag) to the title of your article (in
- Match the anchor text that points to your article in your section pages to the title of your article/page
- Avoid using the article title, or a substring of the title, as an active hyperlink in your article page
- Do not include a date or time in your article title
- Article titles should be at least 10 characters and between 2 and 22 words
- Do not include a leading number (which sometimes corresponds to an access key) in the anchor text of the title to make sure that your article title displays properly on mobile devices
Show the date the article first appeared on your site. If the sitemap doesn’t include a date for the article, the article won’t be included in Google News. The WordPress News Plugin will always include the publication date. But if you’re not using it, then you’ll likely see a “Date not found” or “Date too old” error for the article in Search Console.
- Place a clear date and time for each of your articles in between the article’s title and the article’s text in a separate line of HTML. This should help our crawler correctly identify the publication date for your article.
- Remove any other dates from the HTML of the article page so that our crawler doesn’t mistake them for the correct publication time.
- If you created a Google News sitemap, the sitemap entry for this article needs a
<publication_date>tag. Each URL needs to include the article publication date in W3C format.
- Implement structured data and ensure that each article has both the
dateModifiedschema. The WordPress News Plugin will handle this, as well.
UPDATING STORIES: Do not update a story without adding significant information, unless you have another valid reason. Do not create a very slightly updated version of a story from one previously published, then delete the old story and redirect to the new one. That practice is against Google News article URLs guidelines.
Google News elevates independent, original content. They do not allow duplicate content—including scraped, rewritten, or republished content. If it slips by them, they will try to ensure the original content is ranked higher than what they may view to be duplicate content. Below are publishing guidelines they offer:
- Block scraped content: Scraping commonly refers to taking material from another site, often on an automated basis. Sites that scrape content must block scraped content from Google News.
- Block rewritten content: Rewriting refers to taking material from another site, then rewriting that material so that it is not identical. Sites that rewrite content in a way that provides no substantial or clear added value must block that rewritten content from Google News. This includes, but is not limited to, rewrites that make only very slight changes or those that make many word replacements but still keep the original article’s overall meaning.
- Block or consider canonical for republished content: Republishing refers to when a publisher has permission from another publisher or author to republish an original work, such as material from wire services or in partnership with other publications.
Publishers that allow others to republish content can help ensure that their original versions perform better in Google News by asking those republishing to block or make use of canonical.
Google News also encourages those that republish material to consider proactively blocking such content or making use of the canonical, so that we can better identify the original content and credit it appropriately.
- Avoid duplicate content: If you operate a network of news sites that share content, the advice above about republishing is applicable to your network. Select what you consider to be the original article and consider blocking duplicates or making use of the canonical to point to the original.
- Be transparent: Visitors to your site want to trust and understand who publishes it and information about those who have written articles. That’s why our content guidelines stress that content should have posts with clear bylines, information about authors, and contact information for the publication.
- Don’t be deceptive: Our content policies do not allow sites or accounts that impersonate any person or organization, or that misrepresent or conceal their ownership or primary purpose. We do not allow sites or accounts that engage in coordinated activity to mislead users. This includes, but isn’t limited to, sites or accounts that misrepresent or conceal their country of origin or that direct content at users in another country under false premises.
Additional Publisher Tips
- No link schemes: Just do not participate in link schemes, such and including large-scale article marketing programs. Do not sell links that pass PageRank. Here is a resource on Google News Publisher re: link schemes for more information.
- Implement structured data: The WordPress News Plugin will always implement the newest version of structured data, including schemas specifically developed for news publishers that you will not find in other plugins. The use of structured data on AMP and non-AMP pages can make your content eligible for rich snippet results or carousel-like presentations. If you do not take advantage of the plugin’s features, then we cannot help you.
- Protect user data: Secure your website with HTTPS to protect the integrity and confidentiality of the data users exchange on your site. At one time, this was optional. But at this point, there really is no reason not to do it. This link will take you to best practices on how to implement HTTPS. Contact us if you need an affordable (even free) hosting package for HTTPS.