Best Practice for Google News Search Optimization

News search optimization by Brent Payne

At SES Chicago, Benu Aggarwal had an opportunity to interview Brent Payne, SEO Director for Tribune Company (Chicago Tribune, LA Times, Baltimore Sun, KTLA, WGN and more):

A few tips to get your website in Google news

  1. Use Google News Submission form to submit your website/news.
  2. Before filling it out, have some fresh content on your site. Do not report on existing news; try to have original unique content.
  3. Google news looks for mentions of your news items. Mentions show credibility. Terms like “reported by,” “source,” etc. in other press items help in gaining news rank.
  4. After submitting your website, keep your content fresh for a few weeks. Google news is very picky. They do not want to include sites which do not have fresh content posted.
  5. Set up a news site map – a specific format only for Google. Have time stamp, key phrases etc. If you do not have site map, have a three digit number in the URL. is a company that can help create news sitemaps.
  6. If you make any changes to the site, let Google news know about it.
  7. Do not have huge blocks of HTML in your body text. Google bots stop crawling the story content.
  8. Use h1 and h2 tags. Make sure to get your keyword tags in h1 and a portion in h2. Do not use too many h1 and h2. One h1 and may be two h2 should be good.
  9. Get important keyword in title twice
  10. Google news recommends press releases in different folder.
  11. Images: Google like 4:3 images. Larger images are preferred rather than small images.
  12. Canonical Tag – Google news typically ignore that.

Key Factors of SEO Success of your press/news:

  • Popularity, authority and relevancy are some key milestones to remember while writing news.  Here are few steps to remember: Relevancy – on page, off page etc. Headline, Subhead. Be more relevant rather than using adjectives. On page relevancy makes a difference: “Hudson River Plane Crash” headline is direct and communicate message.
  • Use Google keyword research tool – while writing press releases.
  • Try changing from photos to pictures while writing. People are looking for pictures more than photos.
  • Google Trend – Update every hour. Use for list of top search terms, powerful for breaking news, historical top terms by date, focus on longer tail.
  • Google Insight for search is good for hyperlocal search such as what are people looking for in that geographical area which might be newsworthy.
  • Keywords in Title, h1 and h2.
  • Getting keywords twice in the title works well.
  • Highly Relevant headline.
  • May be one h1 and two h2 tags.
  • Get h1 relevant.
  • Meta description will help in conversion – use keywords.
  • Try not to repeat whole keywords in h2: just portions in h2.
  • Blue link (cookie crump) – automatic download Word Press plugin for linking.
  • Social Media helps create more links to your site.
  • Get involved in social media.
  • Get entire organization talking about you online.
  • 300+ choices: pick one and get social.
  • Twitter can build links too.
  • Try to think magazine style – 15 Ways, Top 10.
  • Make social profiles personable. Individual/company, interesting/useful, Personal/insider. Emotional and intellectually connect.

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