Google News: a new way to spread the story
Google News is a service that aims to organize all the world’s news, while providing the best possible experience for visitors seeking useful and timely news information. Companies can use Google News as a new channel to distribute their news, however little is known yet about the impact of Google News and how to get your news included. Find out more about this new way to spread the story.
When the Global Financial Crisis occurred in 2008, traditional news media was hit hard. As thousands of journalists lost their jobs, they left a big vacuum in the field of content publishing. Around the same time, Web 2.0 was just taking off, with Facebook, Twitter, and most importantly Google, spreading their influence into the media industry.
These tech giants allowed citizen journalism to proliferate, and for PR, this meant that companies could now become the source of their own news. No longer would they rely on journalists to publish their news – PR departments stepped past journalists to begin producing and disseminating brand journalism to the audiences that mattered most.
One of the tools that greatly enabled this is Google News, a product launched by Google in 2006. With Google News, brands could now become legitimate providers of news.
What is Google News?
But let’s start with the basics. Google News is a service that aims to organize all the world’s news, while providing the best possible experience for visitors seeking useful and timely news information.
Google gathers the news for different topics/themes, providing readers information that is most relevant to them. This is not just news from The New York Times or other big news outlets. Any legitimate news source can be incorporated in Google News if they follows the guidelines Google has created. These guidelines help Google maintain fairness and consistency when determining which site they will include. Getting indexed on Google News relies on several factors:
Topic factors: How interesting or popular is the news topic?
Story factors: How relevant and fresh is the content specific to this topic?
Brand reputation: Similar to Domain Authority, except this is just for news.
Timing: Timeliness of a news story is vital, but also hard to predict. But if you are the one that breaks a huge story first, a lot of traffic will come from the first page of Google News.
Why should you have your news included in Google News?
Having your news indexed in Google News can have a positive effect on your website Search Engine ranking. Indexation improves your reach and visibility, which results in more traffic. But there are some other important reasons as well:
Over 60% of people trust Google News more than they trust the news outlets contained in Google’s Index (2016 Edelman Trust Barometer). So if a headline is featured in Google News, people are likely to trust it more than if they read the same headline on the original source. The level of trust, when combined with the previous expected returning visitors, opens up a broader business value outside of the traditional search metrics of impressions, traffic and revenue. Trust can be a core online differentiator between brands and websites, impacting user behavior at pre-click (advert), and post-click (website) stages.
Making more out of your content
For every company, it is important to get your content out there and make the best use of it. Having your news included in Google News is just another way to use your content in a more optimal way. In terms of time, effort, and money, Google News provides a better ROI than most other forms of content distribution.
When we talk about Google, then SEO is definitely a topic that we should address. While SEO-friendliness involves many technical and editorial actions, having your news included in Google News will have a positive effect on your SEO. Since Google sees its own product ‘Google News’ as a trusted source, an indexed story will appear higher in search results than other news results.
Why a good newsroom is essential
The starting point for this whole story is of course having a great online news center. It is important to keep your online newsroom up to date with regards to the factors that determine your inclusion in Google News. Does your newsroom:
Allow you to categorise your content?
Offers you the option to specify the standout URL? (If you place the tag in the HTML header of one of your articles, Google News may show the article with a ‘Featured’ label on the Google News homepage and News Search results.)
Gives you the opportunity to manually edit the meta tags, description and titles?
Have a sitemap? A sitemap for Google News lets you control which content you submit to Google News, so it is important that your newsroom allows you to generate one specifically for your news.
How do you get your news included in Google News?
There are a couple of guidelines that you should follow to maximise your chances of being included in Google News:
- General guidelines: type of content, originality, readability, expertise, trust. View all general guidelines.
- Technical guidelines: At a top-level you need to ensure the following:
- URLs and anchor links are descriptive of the content, unique and permanent
- The domain on which the content is hosted needs to be accessible to search engine bots
- View all technical guidelines.
- Quality guidelines: Quality is an aspect which is extremely important for Google, however this sometimes can be difficult to define. Take a look a Webmaster Quality Guidelines to objectively compare your content to the top ranking sites on the same topic. Ensure that you content exceeds the basic requirements such as depth, variation, opinion, expertise, trust, and statistics.
News content only
This might seem like a no-brainer, but keep in mind that Google News only includes news content. It has no use to try to get all of your content included, because that won’t work. Overall content that is industry-specific and company-neutral, so not marketing or PR-based, has a larger chance of being included. You can increase your chances by including expert quotes and opinion, as long as it is not a business advertisement or a promotional piece.
PressPage provides a SaaS PR platform with additional services for creation of advanced social newsrooms, virtual press centers and online media hubs. It enables brands to publish and distribute rich content, and provides direct insights into the results. PressPage empowers PR professionals by adding efficiency and effectiveness to their daily work routine.