So you are handling the SEO project of a news website.
You can tell better why SEO for news portals is different from regular SEO.
News websites are large and have to publish a huge amount of content every day. Search engines like Google don’t show any article older than two days in its News section. Even worse, some articles are not featured in Google’s 48-hour news index before they get rendered, thanks to Google’s “not-so-ideal” indexing process for online news.
Top of that, search engines have dedicated guidelines for news.
That’s why simply publishing your news content doesn’t guarantee that it will gain traffic or rank well in the results.
That doesn’t mean your new or small news site is meant to struggle to outrank those big news publishers.
With the right SEO strategies coupled with relevant and timely content, you can gain significant visibility and traffic in the world of online journalism.
Publish Evergreen Content
Evergreen content, as the name suggests, stays fresh and relevant for readers for years. The best examples are health tips, psychological disorders, and historical topics.
But can evergreen content work for a news portal?
This is because a news website is supposed to provide the trendiest and timely content. And this content is likely to receive less and less traffic as it ages. Well, this is likely to happen in the news industry. You have to keep pumping out more news articles to stay in the searches.
But that doesn’t mean evergreen content takes a backseat in a news publishing website. Evergreen content can do the trick for a website to get more traffic. It can go parallel to your news articles. For example, you can offer tips to get protection from COVID 19 while publishing COVID 19 news alongside.
How to incorporate evergreen content into your news portal? You can manage it into dedicated categories as The NY TIMES did (if not on the home page.)
See how they place their evergreen content among their news pieces on the health section.
While NYTIMES can generate traffic through its news articles, it has built-in evergreen content opportunities to get more consistent flows of traffic.
Follow the Google Rules
Make sure to get your content listed in Google News.
You can do this by following the content guidelines for inclusion. Many top news sites have already followed these directions by Google. Your content should be accurate, timely, relevant, and of interest to Google News viewers.
The next thing is to check the technical guidelines for inclusion so that Google can crawl your site and pick news articles from your website.
Once you tick all the boxes, submit the site to be approved by Google. You will be notified within 3 weeks if your site has been accepted.
Focus on Clean Architecture
SEO can be challenging for news portals, thanks to their large and ever-evolving appearance. Creating good site architecture is important to keep your news portal discoverable for readers. It also helps a search engine crawl it.
- Provide enough tags and categories for users to find what they’re looking for. If your website has multiple tags and each of them has a few articles, try to combine things with a smaller amount of pages with more content.
- You also have to consider how many clicks does it requires to reach from the homepage to any other page on the site. Try to keep the click number lower as possible.
- Search engines are likely to crawl your site by tracing links from one page to the next, and the lesser link your site has, the more likely it is that all pages will get indexed.
- Also, add pagination to the bottom of each page, rather than just providing “NEXT” and “PREVIOUS” buttons. This will allow your users to land specific pages without going through irrelevant pages first.
Use Appropriate Structured Data
Structured data helps search engines understand what your page is all about. This is also true for news content. To tell a search engine that it is a piece of news, you need to use NewsArticle Schema markup. Yoast SEO News SEO plugin automatically inserts the markup for your news content. Here you can mention your news content as a News Article that will look NewsArticle in code.
Here’s how your NEWSARTICLE will look like in code.
Image source: Yoast.com
Make It Mobile Friendly
Mobile responsiveness is critical for any website nowadays, but for news portals, it is even more important. This is because most people view news on mobile phones.
Your site should have a responsive design that fits the screens like mobile, tab, or desktop used by a viewer.
For this, you can get started with AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), an open-source framework that helps website loads faster on mobile devices as it trims the design and fancy stuff.
Work On Crawl Speed and Site Load Time
Your piece of news, especially breaking news, should be indexed and crawled fast by Google. People are less likely to wait as they have so many options for news.
Luckily, there are many things you can work on to improve crawl speed, including hosting performance, XML sitemaps, and site loading speed.
But keep in mind that your news sitemap is not like your traditional sitemap.
Google has created certain guidelines for that…
- The news sitemap can only hold news from the last two days while the articles will remain in the news index for 30 days.
- Upgrade your news sitemap with fresh articles as they are uploaded.
- You should add no more than 1,000 URLs to your sitemap. However, you can add more by breaking the URLs into multiple sitemaps, but make sure not to add more than 50,000 sitemaps in the sitemap index file.
- Avoid building a new sitemap per new article. Instead, upgrade your existing sitemap.
For more info on Google News sitemaps, visit HERE.
Work Over EAT Driven Content
EAT stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust. These are three factors that Google wants to look at in its content.
Google wants to protect the users from deceptive, low quality, and inaccurate content. That’s why it has introduced the EAT metrics which are particularly important for news portals, finance, and health domains.
This snapshot of a news article has the author’s name as well as references and sources, making it EAT-friendly content.
You might have seen that top news portals link their author name to their profiles listed with them. If Google finds that the articles have been written by a clueless author, published on an unreliable website lacking authority, then the odds of that content being misleading or inaccurate are high.
Use Live Blog Posting Schema for Live Coverage
Liveblogging (live coverage) not only keep your viewers updated about ongoing events but also improves your visibility in the search results. With real-time coverage, you have good chances to appear in Google’s Top Stories.
All you need to use is the LiveBlogPosting schema. It is structured data that lets you inform search engines that your content is being updated in real-time. This way, search engines can confirm that your page is getting frequent updates for a certain period.
Educate Everyone on SEO
SEO shouldn’t be confined only to your online marketing team. Your content creators should be aware of the basic methods. Tell them how to find appropriate keywords using analytics tools and how should they be incorporating into the parts of the content.
Hope this piece of blog would help you optimize your news website for better visibility, improved traffic. What do you think? Let me know by commenting below!