Often when you perform a search, Google will incorporate current relevant news stories within the search engine results pages under the heading ‘News For’.
For sites that carry any sort of news, these news results are an excellent opportunity to increase search visibility and traffic.
News results (or news integrations) often incorporate thumbnail images which make them stand out on the page and attract high click-throughs. They are part of Google’s Universal Search integrations which include images, video, maps, shopping etc. that are blended in to search pages.
We analysed the total number of news integrations within Google.com searches against a database of millions of keywords and found that they grew by 70% during 2012 (see our Study of Universal Search integrations).
We also found that news makes up 6% of the Universal Search integrations that are displayed on Google.com.
And news integrations are being drawn from a much wider range of sources, with a 15% increase in the number of different news sources, including news sites, blogs and other publications, over the course of the year.
Getting into these news results represents an opportunity for sites that produce news content and want to improve their search visibility and traffic.
Because news integrations always appear on page one and are often blended near the top of search engine ranking pages (SERPs) they offer an opportunity to be listed high on the first page, even for competitive search terms you might struggle to rank highly for using traditional Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Sites have to apply and be vetted by Google before they can be accepted as a news source into its Google News channel, giving them the chance of appearing in news integrations.
The Google News team will review the site to assess whether it fits their criteria for inclusion and as you’d expect one of the key things they’ll be looking for is whether the site is frequently updated with news.
This can be very specific news related to your niche. But it must constitute news, not factual articles, analysis or opinion.
Once accepted, you need to maintain a news sitemap via Google Webmaster Tools that automatically updates each time you publish a new article.
And if you want to rank highly and have a chance of appearing in News integrations you need to be reqularly creating timely, fresh and relevant content. Google’s news crawler seeks out pages with the freshest content relevant to high volume news related searches.