February 11, 2010

Getting to the Top of Google News


Hostway Team

By Gail Seymour

Getting to the top of organic search engine rankings used to be a simple matter. Choose the right keywords, use them judiciously, and high rankings were fairly easy to achieve. Now, with more competition and more off-page ranking criteria, getting your Web site listed on the front page of Google is tougher.

You may not get into the top 10 results in the standard search, but there are other ways to get on the homepage, and getting your press release picked up by Google News is one of them.

How Does Google Rank News Items?

Google displays news items related to searches at the top or bottom of the first page, depending on how “hot” it thinks the term is. They're also fed into search boxes on iGoogle. Plus, competition for keywords in Google News is less than in general search.

In September, the search engine released a new visual way to display news, called Flipper. MG Siegler at TechCrunch says it's likely to reward sites and authors that use good visuals as well.

Remember though, items will only remain in the News index for 30 days, and Google returns newer items above older ones. If you want to make this an effective part of your promotions, you'll need to deliver fresh content on a regular basis.

Google draws its news from traditional newswire services such as PR Newswire, and from other news feeds. If you have more than one person writing news content and a demonstrable “editorial review process,” you can ask Google to include it, by filling in the “suggest a news source” form on the "News Contact" page.

Tara Jacobsen at the Small Business Marketing blog recently wrote an excellent post that explains how she got the number seven spot on Google with her press release.

Creating Your Own News Feed

  • Create an easily updated , such as a blog, for your Press Releases
  • Update at least weekly. Daily is preferable. If you don't generate much news, expand coverage to your sector. You can use RSS feeds to post news from other sources, but you need to add commentary for Google to view your site as genuine and credible.
  • Create Press Releases of sufficient length to give Google Newsbot something to spider. Optimize your releases the same as you would Web page content for your keywords.
  • Suggest your site to Google news. Even if you don't get accepted, you should maintain your press releases on your Web site to benefit from the ongoing traffic, and build up a Press Kit for journalists following up on press releases submitted using one of the services listed below.

For a detailed walk-through of how to optimize specifically for Google News, check out Using Google News—Search Engine Marketing Optimization Strategy.

Using a Submitting Service

If your blog is not accepted as a news feed, you can still get your press releases listed in Google News by using one of the submitting services. PR Log.org is a free service and can schedule up to two weeks in advance. Marketwire.com is relatively low cost but well respected. Prweb.com, PRNewswire.com and BusinessWire.com are all traditional newswire services with fairly high per release costs.

Whether you chose to use a newswire service or manage your own will depend largely on whether you want to attract the attention of journalists or use Google News as a way to generate more traffic. traditional newswire service will not only help you get into the Google News, they will help you target journalists individually.

About the Author

Gail Seymour has been a Web site designer for more than ten years. During that time she has won three Sitesell design awards, and has provided the content and copy for dozens of Web sites and more than 50,000 Web pages.

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