How to get Google news approval for your website

Basic Principles

  1. You should design your pages to ensure a good user experience. Avoid designing only for the search engines. Focus on the users.
  2. Avoid being deceptive to your users in any way, including concealing or misrepresenting information about you or your website.
  3. Avoid engaging in any activity intended to trick the search engines to give you a good ranking. Ask yourself whether you’d be comfortable talking about your tactics with someone who works for Google, or someone who’s competing against you.
  4. You should ensure that you set your website apart from the websites of your competitors. Be sure your site provides a unique value to users.

Specific Guidelines

Avoid doing the following:

  • Generating content automatically
  • Using link schemes to build more links.
  • Creating pages that have unoriginal content.
  • Cloaking, which involves displaying separate content to users and search engines.
  • Sneaky redirects, which involve redirecting users to a URL that’s different from the one they tried to visit.
  • Using hidden text or links to manipulate rankings.
  • Doorway pages, which can result in a bad user experience.
  • Publishingscraped content just to increase the number of pages on your site.
  • Blatantly promoting affiliate links or content without much value to users.
  • Keyword stuffing.
  • Distributing content or software that engages in malicious behavior.
  • Abusing rich snippets markup such as using it to hide content from users.
  • Sending unauthorized automated queries to Google.

Follow good practices like:

  • Monitoring whether your website experiences hacking, and then promptly removing any form of hacked content.
  • Preventing user-generated spam, and promptly removing any that appears on your site.

Avoid posting job notifications, how-to articles, advice columns, event announcements, etc. Google will not consider your content as news if you also post strictly informational content like stock data or weather forecasts. If you do post such content, make sure it’s excluded from the news sitemap.


#2. Journalistic Standards

Google News approval requires that sites maintain quality journalistic values, such as honest attribution and original reporting. If you’re going to add syndicated content, then mark it with the syndication-source meta tag. For original content, you can mark it with the original-source meta tag.

If you’re going to publish aggregated content, make sure these are not mixed up with your original work. You can separate the two, or use your robots.txt file to restrict Google’s access to the aggregated content.

#3. Authority

It’s important to exhibit clear expertise for Google News approval. Regardless of the category of content you publish, becoming a strong authority figure in the field will always help your site ranking and reputation. Therefore, it’s a good idea to write about what you know best.

For example, Engadget writes mostly about technology news and publishes about 8-10 posts per day.

Technical Guidelines

Google News automatically crawls news sites using a computer algorithm. This makes it crucial for you to follow the technical guidelines so that the system can distinguish the articles on your web pages.

The following are some of the most important technical guidelines required for Google News approval:

#1. Article URLs

Each news story you publish should have a unique and permanent URL. For the articles to receive Google News approval, each of the URLs should be unique pages that can’t be replaced by other articles.

Previously, Google required that news article URLs contain a minimum of three digits as a post ID number for further identification. For example, fits into those criteria set by Google.

Take a look below at the unique URL for a news story found on Lifehacker.

Google announced in 2015 that the 3-digit unique post ID is no longer required. However, the URL should still be unique and permanent, so having a unique number in the URL can still help with Google News approval.

#2. Article Links

The Google crawler will scan your site looking for HTML links. These links need to have anchor texts with at least three words. Avoid using JavaScript or graphic links because Google won’t be able to crawl them. You should also avoid using links found in frames, which can’t be crawled by the search engine.

#3. Article Formatting

Your news story should be an HTML article since this is the only format Google can crawl. If your article is published in PDF format, it won’t be granted Google News approval. Stories with only a video or image won’t appear in the news section either. They’d be placed under “Images” or “Videos” instead.

Quality Guidelines

Google keeps a lookout for websites that indulge in manipulative, deceptive, and misleading practices.

Before you submit a request in the publisher dashboard for Google News approval, make sure you adhere to these guidelines.

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