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SEO Best Practices For News Sites

In the dynamic world of digital media, news portals are always on the lookout for strategies to enhance their content’s visibility and drive more user engagement. Google’s Search Advocate team, spearheaded by Daniel Waisberg and Cherry Prommawin, recently shed light on the key SEO strategies for news portals.

The Cornerstone of Quality Content

The duo underscored the pivotal role of quality content. They stressed the importance of E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) as a fundamental criterion for Google News eligibility. The content should be designed to be informative, credible, and tailored to the audience’s needs, rather than merely catering to search engine algorithms.

Harnessing the Power of Structured Data

The team also emphasized the strategic use of structured data. By providing publication dates using structured data, Google can better comprehend the timeline of the article, including its publication or significant updates. This technical tweak is a key factor in enhancing site performance.

Managing Outbound Links and Paywalls

The duo also highlighted the importance of managing outbound links. Websites that leave spammy, paid, or user-generated content links untagged could potentially violate Google’s spam policies.

Furthermore, to ensure content is searchable, it’s vital that Google can crawl and index content behind paywalls. By implementing a meter, a paywall, or a login wall using the appropriate structured data, Google can distinguish paywalled content from cloaking.

Decoding News Appearance on Google

Waisberg and Prommawin clarified the ways in which news content can be featured on Google. They identified two primary areas where Google News content can appear – the Top Stories and the News tab. The Top Stories carousel, a search feature that showcases relevant and high-quality news content, varies based on the user’s query, device, and location. The News tab, conversely, focuses solely on news-related results, separate from Google News.

Influencing Search Result Elements

Content creators have the power to influence four common Search result elements – Text results, Rich results, Image results, and Video results. Understanding one’s audience and investing efforts accordingly, with data analysis being crucial to this process, can significantly impact these elements.

Eligibility for Google News

To feature in Top Stories or the News tab, publishers must meet Google News’ eligibility criteria. These criteria include high levels of E-E-A-T, a consistent history of producing news-related content, and adherence to Google News policies. Transparency is crucial to these policies, meaning clear information about the authors, publication, and publisher should be provided.

Balancing Advertising and Promotional Material

Lastly, it’s important to ensure that advertising and other promotional material do not overshadow news content and that paid placement is clearly distinguished.

In conclusion, mastering SEO for news portals involves a deep understanding of these best practices. Google encourages publishers to visit the Google News Initiative website to learn more about how to succeed in search. By adhering to these guidelines, news portals can optimize their content for Google Search and News, thereby increasing their visibility and driving more traffic.

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