Whether you’re running a blog to make money, get yourself heard, or spread useful information among countless internet users, you’re unlikely to reap any benefits from all your hard work unless it attracts traffic. This is precisely the reason why search engine optimization (SEO) is considered so invaluable.
SEO can be pretty tricky for you to do on your own, and outsourcing it to an expert may not be a viable option since SEO experts and companies generally charge somewhere between $76-200 per hour. That is a lot of money for something that may not even become to show effect for at least a few weeks or months (if an SEO expert promises to give your blog a boost in lesser time, it’s best for you to turn away and run!).
So what’s the best way to gain prominence and attract traffic? Even better, what’s the best way to attract organic traffic? As it so happens, the solution is simpler than you may even realize. You can use Google News to your advantage. Millions of Google users visit Google News to get their daily fill of latest stories from around the globe. If you can get in there, you’ll be able to generate more traffic than you can even imagine. And that too without spending a cent!
Now it’s time to answer the million-dollar quest, i.e. how to get into Google News? Although many people are of the opinion that breaking into the coveted area is not easy, the reality is somewhat different. If you’re willing to make a little bit of effort, then you’ll find your posts getting featured in the news section on Google quicker than you can imagine.
Here are a few things that you need to do in order to regularly have your posts featured in Google News.
Proper Blog Structure
This is perhaps one of the most basic things that you need to take care of right away after you’ve made up your mind to aggressively present your work to the world. You need to ensure that your blog doesn’t contain any broken links, empty pages, scripting and coding issues, malware, and other such things that may cause your blog to look half-baked or spammy. Remember, the more time and effort you invest in ensuring a properly fault-free structure, the more it will pay off in the long run.
This is yet another basic thing that you need to look at. You don’t want your visitors to feel lost upon reaching your blog. You want them to be able to easily navigate their way through your blog and reach the content that they’re seeking. In order to ensure that, pay close attention to your navigation bar and menus, categorization and placement of content, and visibility. Making the blog visually compelling may also help in wooing the visitors and making them stick around for a longer period of time, whereas Google will also acknowledge the effort that you’ve put in.
Create Author Biographies and Maintain a Staff/Writers Page
It’s really important for you to maintain a staff or writers page on your blog. Google has learned over the years that users trust those posts more for which they can identify the people penning them. Author biographies also help in this regard as they add a certain level of authenticity to the content. Including contact information in the biographies such as Facebook, Twitter and email ids can also help a lot.
Focus on Quality
Once you get to the writing part, make sure you remind yourself that you’ll stick to the proper writing process and won’t make any kind of compromise on quality. You shouldn’t expect yourself to get away with writing something that comes off as sloppy and even stupid. Typos and other mistakes should be minimized by properly editing your blog posts. Do not consider a piece finished until you honestly deem it nothing short of perfect.
Minimum Word Count for News Articles
Although Google hasn’t published any hardline on the minimum word count for Google News posts, word on the digital streets is that it’s 80. So be sure to touch, or even better, exceed this figure.
Publish Newsworthy Information
Now this is extremely important. When writing a post, make sure it’s about a person, place, product, or event that actually matters to people, and is time-bound. This basically rules out all content that may be identified as guides, advice columns, reviews, promotions, and pretty much everything that cannot be attributed to a specific time period. Furthermore, writing informational pieces, including weather forecasts, won’t help the post make the Google News cut either because the latter is a place to show news, not strictly informational content.
Create Original Content
Here comes the tricky part. Google isn’t fond of copied content. If it’s copied word-to-word, it’s considered plagiarism and thus faces a potent risk of getting penalized. And if it’s copied but rephrased, then it’s considered aggregated and therefore marked as low-quality. Both plagiarized and aggregated content is generally filtered from Google News, though it’s not unusual to find aggregated content in there every once in a while.
In order to leave nothing to chance, focus on writing completely original posts. Mine for information by following key people and brands of the niche that your blog focuses on, and grab whatever newsworthy information or quote you can get. Even a small string of words from a key person or brand can help you create a powerful and original piece.
Perform On-Page SEO optimization
Although SEO is pretty technical, there are some aspects of it that you can easily implement on your own, particularly those related to what is known as on-page SEO optimization. After getting done with the post and while you’re preparing to publish it through WordPress or some other publishing tool, make sure you make proper use of meta tags, namely meta title, mete keywords, and meta description. Just spend a day or two on learning how to use meta tags properly so that you know what you’re doing, and why. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll not only have an easier time featuring in Google News, but the Google search engine ranking of your posts will also improve substantially.
Submit Your Blog to Google News Publisher Center
After you’re done taking care of everything above, you’ll need to Submit your blog to Google News Publisher Center for assessment. A manual check by a living person rather than an algorithm is performed in order to assess whether your blog meets the criteria that has been set for Google News. It may take anywhere from a few hours to even a few days before the checking process is completed. Therefore, be patient and hope for the best.
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