SEO Extent


How to do SEO for a News site the right way

We have been offering SEO services for the last 12 years. We always have had an idea that it’s difficult to do SEO for news sites or blog sites.

Because we have been taught to believe that…

Every time I asked my senior or my support staff ‘why’ it’s difficult, I never got a clear answer from any of them. My senior has got 2 years more experience than mine, and he was kind of clueless in front me. When I asked myself ‘why’ it’s difficult, I could only discover that choosing keywords is difficult because of the wide variety of topics or categories it covers. This idea was back in 2015 and it remained until 2019 when I wanted to take a risk. In 2019, I realized that blogs are no more a place to get content from across a list of topics or categories; rather they’re becoming more niche-specific covering one particular niche. And news sites are following the same path too.

So, I took the risk.

Towards the end of 2019 I engaged in a talk with a fresh news site owner and actually closed the deal after just two meetings. The age-old notion quickly turned out to be a myth after I found my support team did a really good job ranking that news site in the first page for about 10 different search terms within just 4 months.

And today we have over ten different clients that are running either blogs or news sites. And we’ve been achieving some growth for them in terms of ranking and traffic every month consistently.

So, in this article, you will learn what exactly we do as a specialized SEO agency for news sites in particular, and you can follow the same techniques for your own clients as well.

I have 5 useful tips for you. Let’s get into them.

Tip #1: Have a good design.

What is a good design to you? Anything that looks pleasing to your eyes?

If yes, you are right. A good design must look good to the human eyes in the first place, so the readers are going stay on the page. They shouldn’t leave away as soon as they land on the page.

But from SEO standpoint, a good design is that what looks attractive to the eyes on all device screens. So, it’s more like a performance thing than just the appearance thing.

Make sure your website looks good on computers and mobiles, which means the site should be built based on responsive design architecture. Better if you use the AMP technology to make your pages load quickly on mobile devices. The theme must be clean with plenty of spaces throughout the site to allow the page and its content to breathe well. Modern-day users don’t like too much information or fluff on a site. The logo should be clear and prominent, and the colors used on the site must complement each other. Don’t use too many colors, limit to just 2 or 3 colors for the entire site.

Tip #2: Structure your content well

User experience plays the most important role when it comes to search engine ranking. Search engines tend to rank those sites or pages that the users like the most. And in order to give a great experience to your users, you need to structure your content well. Use clear fonts, set proper size of the fonts and format the text really wisely, so your users don’t get any discomfort while reading the news content. There is a specific style of writing news related content. If you see that your client or their writers are missing it at any point, correct them, guide them.

If you’re wondering whether it is also coming under the SEO process, I’d say yes it’s coming under SEO these days. You might not write content for them, but you should always guide them how to write for the readers and for search engines. That is a strategy we use for every client even though it adds a little bit more stress to our technical SEO team. It’s kind of a responsibility more than a strategy.

Tip #3: Optimize the site for Google News

This is very important. Some technical expertise is needed to learn, understand and implement this technique.

Make sure the content of the news site is showing up on Google News. For this, the news site must meet the content guidelines for inclusion set by Google. Almost all popular news sites are following these guidelines already.

After making sure the site meets the content guidelines for inclusion, you need to check whether the site meets the technical guidelines for inclusion or not. If yes, Google would easily crawl the site and understand the particular pages that include the news content. If no, do that immediately. Read Google’s content guidelines for inclusion and technical guidelines for inclusion for a better understanding.

After you have made sure that the site meets content guidelines and technical guidelines for inclusion, you can then submit the site for Google’s approval. It would normally take about 2 to 3 weeks for the site to get approved.

Once this step is over, ask your client to keep producing useful and evergreen content on a regular basis. If you have been given that job, instruct your content team to get this done without fail.

Tip #4: Make sure the site meets the Crawl Speed criteria

Websites must load fast. A slow loading site is a disaster. As it frustrates users search engines kind of throw it to the bin with no chance of ranking. Even if a slow site ranks by chance (due to a quality link building) it never stays there because of the terrible user experience or high bounce rate.

The reason why I’m telling all this is because you have to make sure the news site you’re working on must load fast, so Google bots crawl and index it quickly. If your site can’t, there are hundreds of others to outrank you. These days you come across trending or breaking news every minute, so your site must be the leader in your niche when it comes to showing breaking news content to the users.

There are a few factors that determine the Crawl Speed criteria of a news site. Those factors are Site Speed, XML Sitemaps, and Hosting Performance. There are certain differences between News sitemaps and other sitemaps.

Add only 1000 URLs or less in your sitemap.

If you need to include more, you can break the URLs into multiple sitemaps, but don’t go over 50,000 sitemaps in your sitemap index file.

To attract Google bots, update your news sitemap with fresh content regularly. Just update your existing sitemap rather than creating a news sitemap for each new news article.

Use non-Google plugins when creating your sitemaps.

Be consistent with posting content on your site because Googlebots would like to come to your site often if they find new content with every crawl. But keep in mind that quality is always better than quantity.

You may read the Google’s News sitemap guidelines for more details.

Tip #5: Don’t ignore regular SEO

Google News counts on the same basic SEO principles like keyword optimization, social shares, industry authoritativeness etc. just like organic search does. Those are important factors for ranking both on Google organic search results and Google News.

Although doing SEO for a product-based eCommerce site or a general service site is a lot different from doing SEO for a news site, you should not ignore your regular SEO tasks that you do for other sites in case of a news site. Invest your time and effort in regular keyword research, ethical SEO techniques, quality link building tasks and social media promotion to make sure they work well for the new site’s ranking.

Internal linking has a lot of benefits to news sites and blog sites that have a ton of content. You probably already know that adding keywords in anchor text and Image Alt text has many SEO advantages. Internal linking is able to improve your reader retention and decrease the bounce rate.

So, the concept and process of regular SEO that you do for other type of sites also hold true for news sites that aim to rank in Google News. Don’t ignore your regular SEO techniques.

There are of course some differences between how you do SEO for news sites and how you do SEO for other types of websites. You should learn the Google’s guidelines really well and implement the SEO techniques the right way on the news sites you are working on. These 5 tips are always going to help you a lot down the road.

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