Optimizing Your Website For Google News, Top Stories, and Discover Fixtures

Google's new features increase exposure potential. Here's how to get your content optimized for Google News, Top Stories, and Discover.

If you operate a news website and want to increase traffic and reach more people, Google News is the place to be. Google News is a Google news aggregator that was created in 2002. By 2013, the network had over 50,000 verified news sources and received 6 billion monthly views.

Google News gathers news stories from its verified domain list and offers them to users depending on their interests and geography. It is accessible in over 60 countries and 35 languages. Users may get up-to-the-minute local and global news via Google News. Users may also tailor the material they view by specifying their interests.

The method of optimizing sites to appear in Google News, Top Stories, and Google Discover differs from the process of achieving rankings in the 10 blue organic links in many ways.

This is due to the fact that Google employs a number of distinct organic SERP elements to highlight current or noteworthy material, each with its own set of ranking rules and reporting tools.

To complicate matters further, Google only offers specialized reporting on some – but not all – of these News-related elements via Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

This creates some uncertainty about where a specific item may be driving traffic and impressions in the search results.

Google provides criteria for appearing in products such as Google News and Discover.

These papers, however, are frequently technical in nature (for example, this Google post offers technical advice for blocking material from being indexed on Google News without impacting its performance in normal Search).

While there are some recommendations, it is difficult to find precise guidance in Google's literature regarding how to arrange and optimize material for performance in Google News or Discover.

It is best to examine the performance of your own material to discover what works and what doesn't in order to understand how your sites perform in News, Discover, and similar features.

This column will teach you about the different Google SERP elements that show recent or trending news, as well as how to improve and report on them.

I'll also offer some aggregated statistics and insights about the performance of my own clients across these aspects.

What is Google News

Google News is a news aggregation service that may be accessed via a mobile app or by visiting news.google.com in your browser.

Previously, publishers had to manually submit their sites to Google News for approval through the Google Publisher Center, and the approval process was infamously onerous.

Google, on the other hand, has revised its rules for which sites are qualified to appear in Google News.

And it says "Publishers no longer need to submit their site to be eligible for the Google News app and website. Publishers are automatically considered for Top stories or the News tab of Search."

All publishers need to do to appear in Google News, according to Google's guidelines create high-quality material and conform with Google News content rules.

To comply with Google's News content rules, you must not create anything that is violent, bigoted, harmful, or misleading.

Reading between the lines of these new standards reveals that material from any site is technically feasible to appear in Google News.

However, most websites do not experience this frequently.

Google has rigorous standards for which publications to display in Google News, regardless of how frequently a site publishes information.

News sites, as mentioned throughout much of their material, must exhibit good E-A-T: expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

In fact, the description of “YMYL – Your Money, Your Life” material in Google's Search Quality Rater Guidelines begins with “News and current events” as the first example of the sort of site that might impact a person's future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.

This suggests that the criteria used to evaluate content and websites for Google News may be subject to more E-A-T scrutiny than those used in other sections of Google Search.

This would be consistent with numerous articles and films produced by Google in recent years, confirming that Google is increasing its emphasis on the authoritativeness of publications when it comes to breaking news, disinformation, elections, and times of crisis.

Google also claims to encourage “uniqueness” and a “diversity of viewpoints” in its News article rankings.

One such aggregator website's SEO visibility is seen here, with blue letters signifying Google Core Updates:Google released an essay in late 2019 highlighting the value of original reporting in its ranking of news material, with the objective of delivering higher ranks for the story that have all the qualities it requires.

This tip should not be disregarded if you want to rank highly in Google News.

Many aggregator websites and websites that predominantly syndicate material from sources such as Reuters or the Associated Press may have seen reductions in organic visibility in recent years as a result of this issue.

One such aggregator website's SEO visibility is seen here, with blue letters signifying Google Core Updates:

While syndicated material is popular in driving traffic, attaining long-term, sustained performance in Google News necessitates distinguishing your content by delivering original reporting or presenting a distinct viewpoint not seen on other sites.

In fact, Google recommends that syndicated material not be indexed, despite the fact that for many publishers who want to index it, this sort of content frequently delivers considerable organic traffic.

When it comes to optimizing material for Google News, Google provides some guidance on its criteria for ranking content in Google News, which include:

  • Relevance
  • Prominence
  • Authoritativeness
  • Freshness
  • Location
  • Language

Unlike traditional search, where timeliness may be a minor influence (depending on the query), timeliness is everything in Google News.

This is especially true if a breaking news event occurs.

Sites that post often will be the first to accumulate links and social shares, which will only increase their performance in Google News.

Technical criteria for inclusion in Google News include the use of NewsArticle structured data and News XML Sitemaps.

What is Google’s Publisher Center

Google provides a Publisher Center for news publishers to manage their Organization's information. This contains general information about the organization, which categories are available on the site, official brand logos, feeds, and other resources.

If you want to rank in Google News, you should definitely use the Publisher Center to manage crucial information about your business.

Google News visibility

While Google News strives to present a diverse range of perspectives without favouring one side of the political spectrum over the other, highly authoritative publications have dominated in recent years.

Meanwhile, many fringe journals appear to have faded into obscurity.

Looking at the news publishers with the highest Google exposure over the previous year might throw some insight into what it takes to be regarded as a news authority in certain areas.

Google News Traffic Reporting

Google Analytics and Search Console may both be used to track Google News traffic.

Google News traffic will appear in Google Analytics under the referral source news.google.com.

Google Search Console has also just included a separate Performance report for Google News traffic on the left sidebar's Google News category. You may obtain a more in-depth picture of the data by integrating Google Analytics and Search Console, such as viewing click-through rates for your story headlines in Google News (by adding Page Title as a secondary dimension in Google Analytics).

What is Google Top Stories

Google's Top Stories carousel is a goldmine of organic traffic for news publishers.

It's worth noting that only AMP articles are presently eligible for the Top Stories carousel on mobile devices.

However, Google has announced that this need will be removed in conjunction with the Core Web Vitals upgrade, which is scheduled to be released in May 2021.

Following that date, every article has the chance to appear on the Top Stories carousel.

However, if the big publishers continue to use AMP, non-AMP publishers will struggle to compete with the lightning-fast load speeds of AMP content.

There is presently no specific reporting area in Google Search Console or Analytics for the Top Stories carousel.

To get an idea of performance statistics from Top Stories, go to Search Console's Search Appearance page, filter by a mobile device, and choose AMP article.

This is by no means ideal, as AMP content may still be seen in other sections of Google. However, it can serve as a representative set of Top Storie's clicks and impressions (and other places).

After launching AMP, browse to this view to observe if the articles are getting momentum in Top Stories.

One of the most essential ranking criteria for ranking in Top Stories is the inclusion of keywords in headlines. Unlike Google's regular organic blue links, which display the title> element as the ranking page's title, Top Stories display the h1> headline as the page's primary title.

As a result, it is critical to concentrate on optimizing the article headline, such as ensuring that the name of the targeted object (person, location, or item being written about) is expressed clearly and early in the headline.

For best results, article titles should be no more than 22 words long.

It is also critical to avoid using vulgarity, clickbait, or anything else that is improper or confusing in story titles.

What is Google Discover

Google Discover is a customized news feed offered to mobile users via Android smartphones or the Google App for iOS.

Google Discover may also be accessible by visiting Google.com when signed into a Google Account on a mobile device using Google Chrome.

What distinguishes Google Discover from other areas of search is that the list of articles is selected before the user enters anything, based on previous user behaviours throughout Google to predict what the user may find interesting.

As a result, a person who reads dog-related newspapers, shares dog articles on social media, or uses dog-related applications on their phone may be more likely to have dog material show in their Discover feeds.

Without the use of any special structured data or sitemaps, content is eligible to show automatically in Google Discover.

Google does need a "compelling, high-quality image" that is at least 1,200px wide and enabled by the meta tag:

<meta name="robots" content="max-image-preview:large">
or by using AMP.

Before Optimisation, Note that website should be a news website.

This is self-evident, yet it bears repeating. Content must come from a pure news website in order to appear on Google News. Businesses or corporations that include a "News" section that serves as a blog are ineligible to appear in Google News.

Original and timely content should be published

Plagiarism will significantly reduce a news website's chances of appearing in Google News. Publishers should continue to follow the rules of journalism. Content should also be current, especially if writing about current events.

Be Open About Your Sources

The date and author of the articles should be clearly stated. The publication's and company's names should also be accessible on the website. News stories that identify their sources as anonymous will not be regarded as reliable. E-A-T is a significant issue in this case since Google only wants reputable suppliers on the platform. An excellent indicator is clearly showing information about writers and the company's background.

Fill out the Google News Publisher Center form to submit your website

While you are not required to register on any platform, submitting your website to Google News Publisher Center gives a number of advantages. The Google News Publisher Center was created in 2019 to allow news publishers to tailor their Google News content choices.

Publishers may manage their branding and how they appear in Google News using the Google News Publisher Center. You may include basic information about your magazine as well as submit logos, photos, and videos.

Instead of waiting for Google bots to crawl your website, you can submit your material immediately through the Google News Publisher Center. You can contribute your material in the form of feeds, URLs, or videos.

Another fantastic feature of Google News Publisher Center is the ability to monetise your content via the platform. You may connect your Google AdSense account or set up a price system similar to premium memberships.

There are several more advantages to using the platform. It's free and simple to use, and properly employing it may dramatically increase the traffic you receive from Google News.

What You Shouldn't Do on Google News

The Google News Content Policy strongly opposes sexually explicit speech, violence, hostile information, medical advice, illegal activities, harassment, and misleading content.

Having material that falls under any of these categories is equivalent to earning a penalty in Google search results.

The Big Idea

Google News is a fantastic tool for consumers, and they are doing an excellent job of keeping the site clean and credible. While getting material into it is challenging, the advantages far exceed the difficulties. The traffic Google News can provide to news publishers, large and small, maybe quite beneficial.