So, you think you have something important to say about your industry and would like to have more people see it? There are many ways to do so, one being you get your company blog accepted by Google to be included in their news feed.
Getting in Google News opens your business to a whole new stream of traffic. How much? I saw one estimate that puts the number of total referrals near a billion visits in a month.
Want your piece of that action? Of course, Google doesn’t just bestow this honor on just any website. Not only that, the criteria is such that it’s simply not realistic for all businesses to achieve. That said, if you think you can manage to pass the test on the various criteria, it could mean a traffic boon for your website.
Is Your Content Newsworthy?
One of the criteria that Google emphasizes for getting your content into their news feed is that it's news, which means timely and not promotional in nature. It needs to also be unique. You're not just avoiding plagiarism, but thinking like a journalist. What would a good reporter be doing? Try to get as much original information into your story as possible, which could include getting a quote from a person yourself, instead of from another publisher. When you pull information from other sources, source them.
Are You an Authority Figure?
Since Google is trying to dispense newsworthy information from sources that are also trustworthy, you need to show that you are an authority on your subject matter. This is especially important given the added emphasis Google is giving to this through its AuthorRank, the search signal that ranks how much the content author can be trusted regarding the subject matter.
Part of conveying your authority is trustworthiness, which means to include bio and contact information. Google says they like to see an email, physical address, or phone number to show trust and transparency.
While Google is emphatic that their news feed is "not a marketing service," this isn't entirely true. Well, I’m sure they really mean it when they say they aren’t, but there is plenty of marketing going on when they publish press releases, which are one of the most basic forms of marketing or publicity for a company. That said, a press release needs to go through a reputable third party press release distributor to get picked up.
There is some disagreement over how much you need to blog to get picked up on Google News, but if you are just blogging on occasion, don’t hold your breath. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be posting 10 times a day, but a single daily blog will put you on the right path.
Many of the requirements are simply things you need to be doing on the website optimization front, things you should do regardless of whether or not you are trying to get into Google News:
- Make sure your website loads quickly?
- Articles are in HTML format (not a PDF, for example)
- Each blog must have it’s own unique URL
- Each blog has an identifier code (at least three digits)
That last requirement can be usurped by creating an XML news sitemap, which lists news articles that have been published on your site within the last two days.
Some of these factors are also a part of determining how high your content shows up in Google News results, not unlike normal search. It’s likely going to take some trial and error, persistence, and patience. But if your hard work pays off, it’ll be worth it in the end.