Adam Barber

How Google News can support your online marketing

Google News can be a great way to earn more search traffic and boost your brand authority. Whatever industry you're in, there'll be relevant stories that you can report on to engage your audience and keep your website fresh and relevant. Here's how to make Google News part of your online marketing strategy.

google newsI like to think I'm pretty familiar with Google News, but I learned something new about it this week. I was watching a really interesting video posted on Google's official blog about the evolution of search. Armit Singhal, a Google fellow who's been very visible during the whole Panda algorithm update, revealed how Google News came to be.

Apparently it was in the aftermath of the tragic events of 9/11 that Google realised its users wanted a way to access fresh results and not just super relevant pages that had been indexed a month ago. The solution was Google News. Now, a decade later, Google News is an established member of Google's search stable. So let's have a look at how you can use it as part of your online marketing activities...

Why you should bother

Google News is a search index restricted to websites that regularly publish news stories. You may think that because your business is not a news provider that it has no business trying to get into Google News and that the rest of this article won't therefore be relevant to you.

But you'd be wrong. Every niche has its news stories – its product announcements, its public comment, its opinion pieces. Yours is no exception and there's no reason why, with the right help, you can't become a provider of genuine, useful and relevant stories.

Getting into Google News will add real authority to your brand. You'll appear alongside mainstream news providers and well-known industry blogs, gaining credibility and building trust. It's also great for the corporate ego, which shouldn't be dismissed as facile, as it's exactly the sort of thing that senior execs notice and like.

Above all else, Google News can be a great source of relevant traffic. Searches are much less competitive, because there are far fewer pages to index. The algorithm has an even greater bias towards fresh content, meaning you can out-muscle established sites with a well-timed article. And you might even get your links pulled into the universal results page, which will give you great exposure to wider search traffic even it's only for a few hours.

How to get indexed

Gaining entry to Google News is more complicated than getting pages indexed in Google's universal search. The Google News Bot won't stumble across your content on its own, you'll need to apply and pass an assessment by a human gatekeeper.

Google publishes Google News guidelines to help site owners prepare properly for a submission. In short, what its assessors are looking for is evidence that your site is regularly publishing original, news-driven content, written by multiple authors. It can't be produced purely to flog your products or promote your business and you'll need to have an archive to show you've been publishing for a while.

This obviously isn't something you can throw together in an afternoon, but if you're developing an online marketing strategy for your business, getting into Google News is an achievable and legitimate objective.

Take a look at the technical requirements and either produce the content in-house or find an agency that can do it for you. When you have a decent-looking archive, make the application. Google can be a little slow in responding (up to three months depending on the level of demand), but will usually be constructive when it says 'no', giving you pointers on what you can fix before re-applying.

Finding trends in your niche

Once you're in, you're going to want to take full advantage of your newfound access to trending search traffic. Outside of social media, Google News is your best way of tapping into what people are looking for right now with some fresh and original content.

You can use Google News itself to see what's being written in your niche. You're then in a great position to write a reaction piece or find a new angle and pick up some of those people following the story as it develops.

Of course, Google News is not immune from gaming efforts. But, like any attempt to fool Google's algorithms, a short-term kick in (probably irrelevant) traffic is likely to be outweighed by the longer-term damage to your brand. Once someone realises your widget website doesn't have anything to do with Justin Bieber's new haircut, they won't be back again in a hurry (and they might even bag you out on Twitter).

That's not to say widget websites can't reach outside their industry when looking for ideas for news stories. Ahead of Thanksgiving in the US last week, bloggers of all shapes and sizes were flavouring their regular topics with turkey and cranberry sauce. Mainstream trending topics not only present great opportunities to tap into demand for fresh content, but they also offer interesting new ways to present complex or dry information. Do a good job and Google News can help you get traffic, links and some social media kudos. 


COMMENTS

Posted by Tim Letscher, 1 December 2011

With the lag, this is indeed a long-term play! I like it and will use it as a proof point for why brands need to put a bigger spotlight on content strategy.

Posted by Kestrel Lee , 17 January 2012

It's important to embed the paid search words (from your SEM efforts) into the press release within the headlines and subheads as if you are writing copy for a webpage. And when this press release is reproduced in news feeds, RSS and other syndication network, there will be an organic search impact on traffic to your website.


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Adam Barber Castleford Media Pty Ltd Adam Barber
Company: Castleford Media Pty Ltd
Position: Director
British new media professional living and working in Sydney. Interested in developments in online content, search, social media and the digital world in general.

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    ABOUT ADAM'S COMPANY

    Castleford Media Pty Ltd

    Castleford Media is an established content marketing business based in Australia and New Zealand. We can produce customised news, blogs, web copy, whitepapers, case studies and infographics for your website and social media.  More info & Contact Details



     

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