There is a utopia for online media outlets. A place where online media outlets can grow exponentially, and reach traffic rankings that previously did not seem possible. A place where a website can move from the periphery to the centre of mainstream media.
At the online sports newspaper, VAVEL U.K., live text coverage of football games went from having 5-10,000 views to having 125 000 views within one week of reaching this online media erewhon. The website also went from averaging 100,000 views per month, to over 1 million views per month.
The place in question is Google News, and below is a list of guidelines that will help your online media outlet be accepted into it.
Regular and up-to-date content
Ensure that your website produces, at the very least, fifteen news articles per day which are up-to-date, and deal with breaking news. Google News will only accept an online media outlet if it can provide “timely reporting on matters that are important or interesting to our audience”. Keep an eye out for breaking news and report upon it as quickly as you possibly can.
Avoid plagiarism at all costs
Plagiarism is a cardinal sin in the journalism world, and is treated as such by the Google News algorithms. The least SEO friendly thing an online media outlet can do is copy another published article word-for-word, so avoid doing this at all costs. Try not to copy quotes from news press conferences word-for-word either. Instead, write a summary of what was said in the news conference, adding one or two words in quotation marks throughout. This will ensure that your work will not be flagged for plagiarism.
Write lengthy news articles
Google News values quantity, but it also values quality. The more detail that is in your news piece, the more likely it is to stand out from the rest of the articles that are aggregated by Google News on the same topic. Set minimum word limits for news pieces at your online media outlet (around 500 words is strong), to ensure that your coverage is detailed and expansive.
Thorough proof-reading is essential
One small, silly spelling error can be the difference between being accepted into Google News and being rejected by it. Thoroughly proof-read every single word in every single article that is to be published on the news website. Google News explicitly cites “correct spelling and grammar” as being paramount to the worth of a news article, so ensure your website’s articles are highly readable.
Create a unique URL and add links to articles
A news article can stand out from the crowd by having a unique URL. This is something that can be achieved in less than ten seconds, and is well worth doing. Google News also cite HTML links which are linked to anchor texts as being of importance. Adding links throughout your article is another small task, and one that can be hugely beneficial to your application for Google News.