Optimising for Google News


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My presentation for the Manchester SEO mini conference on Oct 29th 2010 on how you can optimise your content for the Google News vertical.

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  • Optimising for Google News
  • Why should you care about Google News?
    How to get yourself in to Google News
    What to do to increase your visibility in Google News
    Questions at the end
  • Why care about Google News?
  • Google News vertical
    Latest news stories as identified by the GN algo
    Laid out in news clusters
    As you can see, big news sites dominate
  • Belfast Telegraph traffic sources (according to Google Analytics): 20% direct, 30% Referrals, 50% Search
    How many of you recognise this traffic division?
  • Google News (news.google.xxx) is a referring site in Google Analytics
    Good for only about 6%-7% of the site’s traffic
  • But Universal Search results from Google News are seen as Search Engine traffic – and it takes up a large chunk of that traffic
    Exact figures are hard to come by, but by stripping out branded searches and looking at which keywords bring in the traffic, I suspect that Uni traffic from News is between 30% and 40% of total site traffic.
  • You’ll see Google News results on SERPs for many high volume keywords, such as “uk seo”
  • Also a huge keyword is “compare insurance” – again, a news result
  • And what about “web design”? Several news results on the SERPs there.
  • See here where one news article shows up on three different high volume keywords: “web design” / “seo agency” / “internet marketing miami”
    So the big traffic potential for Google News is not in its own vertical, but as Universal Search results on the regular web search SERPs.
    From what we’ve gathered CTR on Uni SERPs are quite good – people like to read relevant news on topics they’re searching for.
    Neil Walker, who will be speaking later here, has done research on CTR – he may be able to explain more.
  • Google News is also very important for total SERP domination.
    Search for Coca Cola and you’ll get News results first.
    If you want to totally own a query space, you need to invest in news.
  • First, you can start your own news site
    There are some requirements to follow – to be explained later in the presentation
  • Belfast Telegraph is a generic news site – but is also a niche site for local Northern Ireland news
    Google News works with so-called ‘editions’:
    Country- or regional news editions
    Topical editions based on the topic of the news – i.e. business, sport, mobile phones, whatever
    -combined editions – i.e. rugby in Northern Ireland, manchester business news, etc.
    A site can be part of multiple editions: NI sports and UK political news for example
    Some sites are – I suspect – marked as ‘generic news sites’ which means their content will show up everywhere. The Belfast Telegraph is one such site.
  • SearchEngineLand is a niche news site (search and online marketing news) included in Google News
  • SearchNewsCentral wants to be a niche news site in Google News.
    Starting a news site is generally not worth your while
    Investment in staff (journalists & editors), infrastructure, design, and unique content
    Probably not appropriate for many niches
    But might be worthwhile if you’re trying to establish yourself as a leading brand in a niche.
    Note that a news site needs to be separate from a commercial site - but of course you may cross-link as much as you want.
  • Second, you can create and distribute Press Releases
  • PRWeb / Mynewsdesk / Business Wire / PR Newswire
    Press releases work!
    Also very useful for linkbuilding as many press releases will include a link
    If you’re not doing PR, why?
    Nichola Stott is the person to talk to
  • Repeated slide: Here is the same Press Release on 3 different high volume search queries
  • Two examples I came across recently: Kansas City Star & San Francisco Chronicle both republish press releases with little scrutiny
    Probably not the only sites that do this.
  • Advertorials (also known as ‘paid content’) [boo hiss]
  • Manchester Evening News advertorials
  • Belfast Telegraph commercial content (with followed link!)
    Newspapers are struggling to make money
    Paid content is an extra revenue generator for them
    More and more are going down this route
    So definitely worth exploring. Some companies specialise in paid content distribution - QUAD London is the chosen agency for the Belfast Telegraph
  • 5th Solvay conference in 1927 in Brussels, 17 Nobel Prize winners in this picture
    Google’s web search ranking algo is smart – very smart – but still fallible.
    Not quite Nobel Prize level, but getting close – especially on the Computer Science / Information Retrieval front
  • Laurel & Hardy – simple but happy.
    Google News universal is simplistic, but happy:
    It’s not spam proof by any means and tends to get things wrong regularly (wrong articles in news clusters, badly formatted headlines, the wrong headline for an article, etc)
    But when you abuse it too much, GN will just kick sites from its index – happy!
  • For reference, the Google News vertical algo is more like a tight social clique / in-crowd
    It’s hard to break in to, and usually reserved for big generic news sites.
    Exception is when there is big news in a specific niche – niche sites can get in to the vertical then – such as local stories, industry news, etc.
    Make sure your content is mostly original – don’t just duplicate from AP/Reuters news feeds
    Multiple authors give your site more authority and will help with generating content
    Post new stuff regularly, and don’t be afraid to update existing articles – as long as it’s done when the story is fresh. Updating old articles (>3 days) doesn’t help much, it’s better to write an entirely new article then.
    Develop an editorial specialty, like local stories, or news on a specific niche/industry
    Make sure the images that accompany your stories are non-clickable – so they can function as a thumbnail. Google doesn’t like linked images as it wants you to show the most relevant image directly with the story itself in a proper viewable size.
    Google News xml sitemap is a must-have – you’ll see that GN will index the sitemap more often than your actual site, which is interesting: Google will pick up new stories from your News Sitemap and add them to Google News straight away. Then later Google will do a manual index of your site and might amend its listing of your story – or create an entirely new entry for your story in GN if it cannot find a match.
    1. The Uni SERPs are simplistic keyword matching
    2. Content published on generic news sites gets in to Uni SERPs very easily
    3. Generic news sites publish paid content and republish PR with little scrutiny
    This is a win scenario, as it means you can get your articles in to uni SERPs quite easily for big keywords
    Write unique content and invest in a good copywriter – if the article is good news sites will be more willing to publish it
    Don’t be afraid to go for the big keywords!
    A good accompanying image will serve as a thumbnail image in the Uni SERPs (as long as it’s not linked)
    Spread your articles wide – a Press Release can be republished on many different sites, but a paid article should be unique to one site
    With good content on topical articles you can become an online editor’s BFF
    Which will enable you to submit news regularly and get published frequently
  • Any questions? (time permitting)
  • Optimising for Google News

    1. 1. Optimising for Google News Barry Adams Manchester SEO Mini-Conference 29 October 2010
    2. 2. About Barry Adams • Dutchman (yes, really.) • Online industry since 1999 • SEO since 2004 • Belfast Telegraph (via Visual Script) since January 2010 • Transition period from Visual Script to Pierce Communications – Dec 1st • SEO blogger on State of Search & Search News Central
    3. 3. Why Google News? How to get in to Google News Google News Ranking Q&A What I’ll be talking about
    4. 4. Why Google News?
    5. 5. Google News
    6. 6. Belfast Telegraph
    7. 7. Belfast Telegraph
    8. 8. Belfast Telegraph
    9. 9. How to get in to Google News?
    10. 10. 1. Start a news site
    11. 11. 2. Press Releases
    12. 12. 3. Advertorials (paid content)
    13. 13. Google News Ranking
    14. 14. Google web search ranking algorithm:
    15. 15. Google News universal ranking algorithm:
    16. 16. Google News vertical ranking algorithm:
    17. 17. Tips for News Sites • Original content • Multiple authors • Regular updates – publish new stories and update existing stories • Develop an editorial speciality – unless you want to be a generic news site • Non-clickable images • Google News XML Sitemap
    18. 18. Breaking in to Uni SERPs with Google News 1. Universal SERPs = keyword matching 2. Content on generic news sites gets in to Uni 3. Some generic news sites republish PRs 1 + 2 + 3 = WIN!
    19. 19. • Write a good article / press release • Integrate high volume keywords • Pick a good accompanying image • Spread your articles far & wide – Press release distribution channels – Submit to news sites that accept PR – Paid content (advertorials) • Build relationships with [online] editors • Generate news regularly (but don’t spam) Tips for Google News Uni SERPs
    20. 20. Q&A badams@piercecommunications.co.uk twitter.com/badams