Getting your blog listed in Google News is a straightforward step-by-step process for serious news bloggers.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can read the whole Google News publishers’ help section and get information on all the above plus answers to more specific questions, such as how sites are ranked in Google News, how to setup Google News sitemaps and lots more.
But if you want the 5-step process of what you need to do to have your blog accepted for inclusion in Google News, read on:
Step 1: Article URLs must be unique and include a 3-digit number
Related reading: Article URLs
In order to identify separate news items, Google requires publishers to have unique, permanent URLs for each article. For blogs (and especially WordPress blogs) that’s not a difficult thing to manage, but Google have a second requirement that ensures that each article included by Google is unique.
Google requires each url to include a unique number consisting of at least 3 digits. How you do it for your blog depends on your blogging / CMS platform, but for WordPress users there’s an easy fix:
Go to Settings / Options > Permalinks, select the ‘custom’ option and copy-paste the code below in the text box:
This causes your post urls to have a unique number at the end (you can set this up any way you want, with or without the slashes, put the numbers at the start or at the end).
Thanks to the overarching need for having a quality website to be accepted by Google News, your site / blog will need to be in existence for a few months before it can be considered for listing. In that time you *should* have at least 100 or more posts on your blog, allowing you to always meet the requirement for the unique number to be at least 3 digits.
If you are changing your URL structure, you can use this permalink redirect plugin which allows you to do an automatic 301 redirect from your old permalink structure to the new one.
While sticking to the default permalink structure that a WordPress installation offers works for Google News (see here),using keyword-rich permalinks will help you in improving your search rankings in Google and making your site more reader-friendly.
Step 2: Avoid Non-Standard Content
Google News might have problems with frames, and it definitely does not support multi-language pages or non-html (your WordPress posts are html) content such as images, PDFs and Flash videos. With most blogs this shouldn’t be a problem – just make sure that each article that you have dedicated to image(s) / video(s) / other non-standard content has descriptive text about it in the post.
Step 3: Meet Google’s Quality Criteria
The big secret to getting listed in Google to build a quality site, make sure you meet 1 or 2 structural requirements (they need some specific information to be available on your website) and you’re good to go.
Here are a few explicit requirements (taken directly from my own experience with Google News):
>> have news content that is original to the site
That’s a no-brainer – Google doesn’t want duplicate content on their News site.
>> Don’t solely promote your own activities
News about something, just not about yourself / your company.
>> is written and maintained by a clear organization, one that has multiple writers and editors and has easily accessible organizational and contact information
This is met by maintaining a ‘team’ page (examples: SL Authors, SE Roundtable Authors),providing detailed contact information (including a physical address) on your contact page, and by providing a history of your website / organisation on your about page.
In other words, they want evidence that your website is backed by a serious organisation dedicated to providing quality news coverage. Give them all the indications that you are one.
A word on ‘organisational information’ – in my experience a formal detailing of responsibilities was not required, but then again I had provided roles and designations on the ‘team page’ itself. You might want to add a ‘company’ page if you want to cover your bases. If I was to do it all over again, I certainly would.
Step 4: Review
Make sure everything is in order before you submit. Of all the requirements, proving (more than just showing them names and pages) that your site is a serious news source is something that requires time (I’d recommend 6 months to 1 year for small companies, 3 months for large organisations). You need to build an archive of quality articles and demonstrate that your news site has been (and is being) regularly updated for a long period of time. It’s part and parcel of building a good site with the added requirement of having a team of writers (instead of a solo blogger). How you manage that is up to you – I managed it by bringing in guest columnists and paid editors.
Step 5: Submit
You’re ready to go – submit your site using this form.
Questions? Let me know in the comments.