A few weeks ago, Google published a blog post on its webmaster blog sharing some tips on how to get more success in Google News search in 2019.
2019 will be a hard fight against fake news as fake news outlets are increasing with time. Along with some social media platforms, Google is also responsible for the spreading of fake and misleading news. If you are running a clickbait rich site with a lot of crappy content, you may encounter Google’s punishment this year.
Generally, Google looks at these five factors when ranking news articles:
- Rich textual content
- Originality of content
- User preferences for topics or publishers
To succeed in 2019 your news content should be original, authoritative, and should provide timely news information.
Six important tips for news content
- Articles’ headlines should be clear. Keep it in the H1 tag. Headlines should be a minimum of 10 characters, between two and 22 words.
- Use proper time and date. Show clear and visible time and date below the title and above the article. Use structured data.
- Be transparent in your content. Fake news is a major problem on the internet, especially from the last American presidential election. Google will try to scan out fake news content in 2019. Best practice for this time is to create a very user-friendly site, not something crappy with lots of pop-ups and ads. Add detailed information, mention sources, make it authoritative.
- Don’t be deceptive in your content. Don’t mislead. Misleading information in the content can ban you from Google.
- Secure your website’s every page with HTTPS. A website that uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) confirms a secure connection between the browser and user. It protects users’ sensitive information. For a news site, it is a very good search signal.
- Don’t participate in link spam to increase your ranking. Don’t buy links.
The five ‘w’s
To write your news content, you can use this popular news writing formula. Ask yourself the five ‘w’ questions and answer them all in your first paragraph of news content. The main aim is to provide a lot of information in the first paragraph.
Internet readers have a small attention span and most people scan the content, instead of line by line reading. This is especially true for news.
Write your first paragraph answering these questions.
Use proper nouns in the headline
Generic nouns will not get as much attention as proper nouns in Google search. Use proper names of brands, organizations or of people related to your news in the headlines. If you can creatively use proper names where other news outlets are not, you will get a huge advantage in the Google News search.
Graphics, images and video content
Use graphics, images, and videos on your news content to explain your news or to provide more information. Google loves this. With engaging videos and graphics, you can attract more readers, and make your content more shareable.
But before sharing your multimedia follow the guidelines of Google.
Beware the sensational, exceptional, negative, and current (SENC)
SENC is sensational, exceptional, negative, and current events, which is a general definition of current news. But, if you follow this definition to produce your news, they will not be authentic or convey real helpful information.
Shocking, scandalous things can be viral, but these types of sensational news should not be your priority.
If you prioritize only exceptional things, your content will become misleading.
Current news is full of recency bias. The present most recent things, without much in-depth and background information. But every recent event has a root in something old and slow systematic change. In your news content, you should present the actual root cause as much as possible to make the content more authoritative. It will earn you good links and build your brand.
Your news should be foundational not sensational.
On publishing breaking news, you should not be in a hurry to publish it faster than your competitors. Instead, before publishing the content, ask yourself what new information your article will provide that is not found elsewhere.
Pay less attention to CTR, dwell time, and other UX signals on the landing page
According to recent AMA of Gary Illyes, Google webmaster trends analyst:
“RankBrain is a PR-sexy machine learning ranking component that uses historical search data to predict what would a user most likely click on for a previously unseen query. It is a really cool piece of engineering that saved our butts countless times whenever traditional algos were like, e.g. “Oh look a ‘not’ in the query string! Let’s ignore the hell out of it!”, but it’s generally just relying on (sometimes) months’ old data about what happened on the results page itself, not on the landing page. Dwell time, CTR, whatever Fishkin’s new theory is, those are generally made up crap. Search is much more simple than people think.”
This thread from a couple weeks ago caused quite a stir. Perhaps we distract ourselves too much from the “simplicity” of what is actually search?
Ps — what are your thoughts on RankBrain and UX? Leave a comment below!
Muradul Islam is a Business Analyst at WeDevs. He can be found on Twitter @muradt20.