Google’s SEO best practices for news websites
Google Search proponents Daniel Waisberg and Cherry Prommawin shared valuable insights on best practices for news websites in a recent video.
Google wants to help news organizations increase the visibility of their content and generate more traffic.
The Search Advocate team recommends the following to achieve a greater presence in search and news interfaces.
Where News Appears on Google
Waisberg and Prommawin start the video by explaining how news content can be displayed on Google.
They highlighted two important places for Google News content to appear – the top stories and the News Tab.
The Top Stories carousel, a search feature that displays relevant and quality news content, varies in appearance based on the user’s query, device and location.
The News tab focuses on news-related results and is different from Google News itself.
They then looked at four common search result elements that content creators can influence.
- text results
- Rich results
- image results
- video results
The couple stressed the importance of understanding your audience in order to decide where to focus your efforts, with data analysis vital to the process.
SEO tips for news websites
By providing SEO tips for news websites, the Search Advocate team emphasized the importance of generating helpful, reliable content created for people, not search engines.
Waisberg and Prommawin discussed the importance of EEAT factors (experience, expertise, authority and trustworthiness) in prioritizing content.
Prommawin explains (emphasis mine):
“Experience shows the extent to which the content creator has the necessary first-hand or real-life experience for the topic…
expertise indicates the extent to which the content creator has the required knowledge or skills for the topic…
authority shows the extent to which the content creator or website is known as a focal point for the topic…
Trust is the main member of EEAT. Even if the content creator is highly experienced, knowledgeable and authoritative, a financial fraud will always be untrustworthy.”
Regarding technical optimizations, Waisberg and Prommawin recommend using structured data to provide publication dates so that Google can better understand when the article went online or was significantly updated.
Finally, they recommend building a website around breaking news and ensuring relevant images and videos are used.
Permission for Google News
Publishers must meet Google News eligibility criteria to appear in Top Stories or the News tab.
These criteria include a high EEAT level, a consistent history of producing news-related content, and compliance with Google News policies.
Transparency is key to these policies. This means that clear information about the authors, the publication and the publisher should be provided.
Outbound links, paywalls and more
Waisberg and Prommawin emphasize the need to prevent advertising and other promotional material from going beyond the news content and emphasizing paid placements.
Leaving untagged links to spam, paid, or user-generated content on a site may violate Google’s spam policy.
In order to make the content searchable, it is crucial that Google can crawl and index content behind the paywalls.
Implementing a counter, paywall, or login wall with the appropriate structured data can help Google distinguish paywalled content from cloaking.
Finally, Waisberg and Prommawin encouraged publishers to visit the Google News Initiative website to learn more about how to be successful in search.