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Google News is accessed daily by millions of people around the world who are looking for quick access to a variety of articles on a given event or topic. This tool was conceived by software developer Krishna Bharat in 2002 following the attacks on the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001, which created a need to access information very quickly.

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To appear on Google News, your site must be validated by the Google team. While your site is considered eligible to be published on the news search engine, you are not guaranteed to have your place. Google reserves the right to publish your article. Several factors can affect rankings, so today we will see the main editorial constraints and tips on how to appear in Google News.

What is Google News?

Google News is like a newspaper, but only available on the Internet. It compiles articles from several thousand sources. Over the years, Google News has changed considerably, although its core has remained the same. It includes all kinds of sites, not just news sites. That's why it's so coveted by SEOs around the world.

Google relies on a well-kept secret algorithm. It automatically crawls the content looking for quality indicators in order to decide what position to give to the article on Google News. Among the hypothetical ranking criteria, studies have shown that the number of clicks they generate, the popular consensus on the reliability of its author, the relevance of the topic and its freshness (date and time of publication) are taken into consideration. For example, Google News is more likely to rank Spanish news sites at the top of the list when the story is about a major event in Spain. Reports about the same event from foreign publishers will rank lower.

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In addition, the way topics are organized depends on the recurrence of specific keywords in the publications and the level of public interest, a data accessible through user searches.

What's new in the 2018 application?

Google News updated its mobile app in May 2018, which is available for Android and iOS. Its look and feel is pretty much identical to Apple News, the native news app for iPhones. However, Google News boasts artificial intelligence (AI) technology and advanced features to personalize news feeds. Users can indeed enjoy a personalized experience, but they can also choose to see non-personalized trending news under the "Headlines" tab..

The app divides the News into four tabs: "For You", "Headlines", "Favorites" and "Newsstand":

  • "For You" is a personalized daily brief that is based on data determined by Google's continuous learning technology.
  • "Headlines" does not filter news by preference. The news displayed in this tab includes all news stories from all topics and sources. "Headlines” gives users direct access to comprehensive information. Google believes that as useful as customization is, it is important to give you free access to all topics.
  • "Favorites" as the name suggests, gives readers the ability to mark and save their favorite articles or editors.
  • "Newsstand" allows readers to subscribe to favorite magazines and sites and download them directly to their devices. The majority of these subscriptions are paid.

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What editorial constraints are there?

In order to have the best chance of ranking your articles on Google News France, make sure you follow Google's content rules which are mostly based on common sense. For example, it is forbidden to publish plagiarized content, hateful content, apology of terrorism, etc. Google News is also very strict about content that disguises or attempts to misrepresent sponsored (paid) content as independent editorial content. So if you want to get into the good graces of the Google News algorithm, it is best to limit advertising and paid ads or feeds.

In addition, Google News Googlebots need clear instructions to crawl only the news pages on your site. These instructions can be given via the robots.txt file which allows you to prohibit the exploration of pages that are not intended for Google News. Be careful though, this technique should be used with caution because you could penalize your entire site. Its use must therefore be well studied beforehand.

But the Google News bot does not stop there. To have a chance to be positioned, you must respect other constraints.

Hn tagging of articles

Titles and Hn tags must be clear, visible and contain no links. They must not display any notion of time or date. The titles must be at most 22 words long and contain the targeted keywords.

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Google also needs to know the precise date and time of the article, which are indicated in a dedicated HTML tag, even if the time displayed on Google News corresponds to the crawl time.

Duplicate content

The ban on duplicate content applies to all types of sites. Algorithms now know how to identify duplicated content (scraped, rewritten or republished) and downgrade it. By "duplicated content" we mean of course similar external content but also internal content, on your own site or network of sites. It is therefore necessary to transmit to Google only one unique content and use the rel=canonical tag.

Write transparently and do not mislead readers

In order for readers but also robots to trust your articles, it is necessary to display the author’s name. If the name is not enough because the author is not especially known, you can write a biography.

Also you should write to add value to your site and not to deceive your readers. For example, it is useless to usurp the identity of an author or an organization in order to hide your identity and/or your intentions. On the web, everything is known and information spreads very quickly. Google has in its sights the media that conceals or lies about the country where the article was written to mislead users. This is very often the case for fake news sites that spread false information in order to manipulate public opinion or create false controversies.

Among the deceptive practices, we can also note cloaking, which consists in showing a different page to Internet users and robots. This technique has been used for a long time by SEOs, but it is now very risky and can easily lead to an algorithmic or even manual penalty.

Use structured data to make yourself better understood

Google advises to integrate structured data to your web pages to help robots better interpret the content you put online. This data is an opportunity to enrich all your articles for free and quickly.

NB: in addition to these multiple editorial criteria, Google recommends reducing the loading time of the article page as much as possible. Performance is a major ranking factor, on Google News as well as in the SERPs in general. Do not hesitate to evaluate the performance of your pages with tools like GTMetrix or PageSpeed Insight.

Conclusion

Google News has quickly established itself as a media in its own right, thanks to the considerable number of daily users it attracts. It has also found its place on mobile devices thanks to its dedicated application that allows Internet users to quickly access complete and/or personalized information. To feature on Google News, the editorial constraints are numerous, but the expected visibility is worth spending a few hours to refine your article.

   Article written by Louis Chevant

Further reading

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