If you want to boost your news site’s visibility and optimize for Google News in 2021, these are the best tips to follow.
Google News has undergone some pretty major changes in 2021. Over the past year, many of the fundamental elements involved in ranking in Google News have changed. Now, more than ever before, publishers that want to boost their site’s visibility need to focus on transparency and authority.
How do you build authority and transparency in the eyes of Google’s algorithm?
In a recent article on the Google Search Central Blog, Google Search Product Manager Jen Granito wrote that transparency is an important element of Google’s news policies, which help to determine what content is eligible to appear on Google News and other News surfaces. Google uses certain indicators to determine whether a publication is a trusted and authoritative source. The greater Google scores a publication in trust and authority, the higher the publication’s content will rank in Google News.
In the blog post, Granito also wrote:
“To determine what constitutes meaningful transparency from news sources, we consider what types of information an ordinary person might find helpful if they want to assess a site’s credibility. This is strongly aligned with information we know is important based on academic research, journalism industry best practices, and our own user testing.”
That’s good information to know, but if you’re a digital publisher, you might still be wondering how to get your website content to appear in Google News. If your website is already ranked, you might have questions about how to improve your position, or increase the number of people who see your articles.
In other words, what are the best tips to boost your news site’s visibility and optimize for Google News? Here is what we know based on the latest information:
1. Provide information about the article and site.
One way that Google determines whether a website is trustworthy is by looking at the information that’s provided about each article. Ideally, your articles should include information such as the publishing date, byline, and information about the reporters, the news source, the publication, or the network behind your publication. Google considers this to be relevant information because it helps readers learn about the content they are reading and the people who created that content.
2. Give your readers context.
At the article level, Google considers information that gives readers context about the information they are reading. The more context you provide, the more transparent your website becomes in the eyes of Google. In addition to the tips mentioned above (making sure to include bylines and publication dates alongside articles whenever possible) you can add context and make your publication more transparent by labeling article types. For example, you can add a “News” or “Opinion” header to articles that fall under those categories.
3. Define your site’s purpose.
Google is looking for information that helps readers understand a publication’s purpose. Is your publication’s mission purpose posted clearly on your website where anyone can find it? If so, you’re already one step ahead. Google is now recommending that all news sites post a mission statement, editorial policies and standards, contact information (non-generic), staff information, and bios for every member of the editorial and business teams. Your mission statement and editorial policies should include information about the publication’s owners or funding sources.
In addition, Google also recommends that publishers do an analysis to ensure their website organizational structure meets the latest guidelines and best practices for search. If web crawlers can’t easily access your site, then it’s unlikely you’re going to rank well in Google News.
4. Linking to meaningful content.
Links in Google News work similarly to elsewhere on Google. That is to say, Google recognizes and rewards publishers for linking to high-quality relevant content. That reward comes in the form of increased visibility across Google News and other News surfaces. Whenever possible, use sidebars and photo galleries to redirect users to relevant pages on your website. You can also create specific landing pages for things like news categories or author bios. Putting relevant links in your articles will drive traffic and improve the overall user experience.
To Sum Up
We know that Google News is frequently changing, however the best practices outlined here will continue to apply even if the algorithms are adjusted in the future. Boosting your site’s visibility in 2021 requires a dedication to transparency, trustworthiness, and authority.
To learn more about the the latest SEO tips for local news publishers, click here.