Thursday, 15 May 2008

Getting more hits from Google News

This week i've been mostly looking at Google News.

It's a common story - you've ensured that all your news is in the right format for Google News, you've submitted your site, waited 2 months, realised that it's still not appearing, submitted again, gone on to Google Webmaster, checked for news errors and finally your site appears on Google News.

If you're anything like me you sit back and admire your work and watch hits finally start to dribble in from the god of news aggregators. 'At last i can tick this off my list', you say and go and do some real work.

Google News single article search result
Image 1 - Google News single article search result

Google News multi articles search result
Image 2 - Google News multi articles search result

Well don't give up so soon, there are a number of methods of improving your performance on Google news and increasing clickthrough.

First off is getting images to appear alongside your images. Why? Well it will make your stories look prettier (image 1), which is always a trigger for web surfers.

Secondly your image may appear on it's own, for example when stories from different sites are batched together with one image (image 2) - this is just another opportunity to get your story seen.

Google indicates the following tips to get your images indexed:

  • Label your images with well-written captions.
  • Make sure that your images are fairly large in size.
  • Use images that have reasonable aspect ratios.
  • Ensure that your images are inline (not clickable).
  • Place your images near their respective article titles.

Other 'secrets of google news exposed' from the Google News Blog contains other gems such as:

  • Don't update your article after posting it - Google News Crawler only visits each article URL once.
  • Ensure every article contains text - not just video or images.
  • Use webmaster tools to check for errors.
  • Provide a news site map.

Well that's enough to keep me going for another month or two. Next week i look at why many news publishers now have a shrine to Google.

Update: I've since found another tip, make sure you're one of the first publishers to release an article on a specific story. I'm still not sure quite how much (if any) priority Google gives to the quickest off the mark but getting in there first does mean your story is more likely to be seen when there is less competition / less stories on the same subject.

Related pages
Should Google News pay publishers for their content?

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