by Steffen Heringhaus
This post is a short tutorial for those lucky guys among us eligible for Google News. But even if you are not included or eligible for Google News you still can learn something.
Google News is a special Google product that crawls just trusted and manually approved news sources, which thereafter are automatically ranked. Many developers and even SEOs tend to oversee the importance of Google news as they think few people would use it (with the exception of the US). While this is perfectly right for many countries, Google News results are blended in the general SERPs and become for a short time a regular ranking on the first page of Google. Moreover, a page doing well in Google News might rank temporary even in the regular search results. This is a maximum of three possible listings on page one!
Yet, this approach is quite reasonable as usual PageRank orientated ranking approaches, not caring about freshness, have some shortcomings: newly created pages have few opportunities to gain the required link juice (but from your home- or category pages) and SERPs used to be dominated with static and established results.
I.e. if you performed at earlier times a query for, let’s say [Haiti] you would get returned some images blended in (with a map, some beaches etc.), the Wikipedia result, the embassy of Haiti and some tourism related sites. However, for those searching for [Haiti] due to some recent events, such as the earthquake, those results are worthless.
Here is where Google News comes in. Short after the event in question has taken place Google will notice a rise in queries to the subject, let’s say [Haiti]. This is what triggers the blending of Google News into general SERPs to be observed at Google Insight for Search. The higher the rise of queries related to this very subject, the higher the News results will be blended in. This is what should trigger you and your copywriters to prepare some articles on the matter.
Personally, I am not a big fan of the plain “Content is king” mantra. There are too many spammy sites in the SERPs to convince me about that. But for Google News, it is perfectly true. You will obtain best results if you stick to the following procedures
- Prepare more articles on the topic, become an authority in this regard
- Start with a short article first, to announce Google News that you are in, then give way to the more comprehensive ones
- Do all the on page optimization stuff you always would do: If you cannot care about keyword density, include them in the strategic places. These are title tag, title, teaser, beginning of paragraphs, closing of the article. Use headlines with h2 and h3 to structure the article, containing the keywords – of course
- Be as complete as possible: write a long text, divide it with several h2 and maybe h3 tags
- Include images (the large versions, too, nut just thumbnails) and give them alt, title-tags plus a caption. Write complete, descriptive sentences but use the main keywords
- If you have a video, include it with a caption – be complete
- Longer titles are preferred over shorter titles; include all relevant aspects of the article. The more information you include, the more queries are you likely to catch
- Set your tags, but be specific about them “Haiti earthquake” for example is better than just “haiti” and “earthquake”
If your competition was not better or faster than you, you should now be number 1 in Google News and somewhere between the first and the last place on page 1 on Google – and this for several possible queries regarding the subject. However, Google news is a short time of happiness and soon, somebody else will be there. Thus, I recommended preparing more articles. Of course, you need to have something new to say, not just to rephrase the original article as plain spamming will not be rewarded or might lead to exclusion (I am just guessing, did not try it). Once some other publisher takes your place, just give way to the next articles and you soon shall regain »your« spot again.
This way, we (me and my client) took for nearly one month the best spot for the query [youtube] at our local Google engine and drove a LOT of extra traffic to one of our sites. Then, the party was over and Google stopped featuring news result for this query. But there are always others. Studying Google Insight for Search should be part of your daily routine.
However, even if you are not included in Google news, you can still benefit from writing about new things and trends. For example, when the game Farmville was new, I happened to write some short articles about the game and certain aspects on it. Being one of the first sources, it was not only relatively easy to get into the SERPs but I earned also a good bunch of backlinks, mainly from news aggregators and scrapers and mash-up sites. This earned me a PR 4 in short time and few work, but some sloppy onpage optimization.
Think about it.
About the Author
I am Steffen Heringhaus, in-house SEO and free SEO consultant. Starting out 10 years ago as a web designer I supervised over time the launch of several web-applications, including dating sites, social networks, online-shops and newspapers – not only from an SEO perspective. Feel free visit my personal blog and contact me for your challenging SEO projects.
Note on the images: The pictures are screenshots of Google Insight for Search and Google.com results. They are provided for educational purposes only, and I have no relation whatsoever, to any of the sources shown within.
back to SEO blog