The fast-paced world of news demands constant attention not only from readers, but also from search engines. In this digital landscape, ranking high on Google is important to increase traffic and attract new readers.
But how do you optimize your news website for SEO success? Here are some tips and best practices to help you capture Google’s attention and keep your audience engaged:
If you are running a news website you cannot ignore search engine optimization.
Why? Because SEO helps your website to rank higher in search engines like Google.
This is especially important for news websites, as they often face heavy competition from established websites with strong backlink profiles.
According to Search Engine Journal, more than 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine like Google, Yahoo!, or Bing. So, if you are ignoring SEO while running a news website, you are losing a lot of traffic and money to your competitors.
Do you want to learn how to do SEO for news websites in 2024? Then, you have come to the right place. In this free guide, you will learn;
- Best SEO Practices for News Sites
- A quick checklist to get your news site ranked higher in Google
- Real life examples and more
Are you ready? let’s get started!
How to Do SEO for News Websites: The Ultimate Guide
1. Get Your Website Listed in Google News
Google News is a news aggregator service developed by Google that delivers the latest news coverage from multiple sources around the world.
Here’s what it looks like;
Google News is free, and you can choose the topics you are interested in and Google will provide you with the latest articles.
The good news is that Google not only shows articles from big sites, but also consistently shows content from smaller blogs with interesting articles.
So, how do you get your news site listed in Google News? Unfortunately, there are no guaranteed methods, as Google selects relevant news stories based on factors like relevance, EAT concept in SEO, etc.
But here are some best practices that can help you stay consistent on Google News.
- Create a Google News sitemap, as this helps Google properly find and index each page on your news site.
- Submit your news site to Google’s Publisher Center, which is free.
- Create a Google News section from part of your website. Here are the guidelines officially given by Google.
- Be sure to create news articles that are accurate, original, timely, and relevant.
- Optimize your content and images for Google News.
2. Build a Clean Website Architecture
As a news website, you will be publishing a lot of content.
When a visitor comes to your news site, they should find your content easily.
This is where a clean and organized website architecture comes in handy. Here are some proven ways to create a well-structured website architecture for news websites.
Homepage: Your homepage is the first thing most people will see. It should be clear and load fast. You can consider using the following things to make your news website homepage user friendly;
- A prominent search bar so people can easily find what they want (place it above the fold)
- A carousel slideshow (or slider) that shows top headlines or breaking news
- A curated selection of recent and trending articles
- Clear navigation to main sections like World, Business, Sports and Entertainment
News Sections: You can divide news content into multiple sections based on categories, like;
- Sports & Entertainment
And whatever the major topics you cover often on your news site
Create a dedicated landing page for each category (or section) and display recent articles related to that topic.
Navigation: Your news site should have a user-friendly navigation system that allows visitors to easily find the information they want.
Browse popular news websites in your industry to see how they are crafting their top section and navigation.
Here’s an example from popular news site TechCrunch;
As you can see above, clearly labeled top-level menus for each main section should be included with search functionality.
Mobile Optimization: Last but not least, optimize your news website for mobile devices. Why? Mobile users are increasing rapidly. Every page or news article on your site should be effectively optimized for smartphones and tablets.
3. Focus on Search Intent
First things first, if you want to get better results from Google then you have to do keyword research.
The whole purpose of keyword research is to find relevant keywords that can help you drive more traffic. You can read our free guide to doing keyword research like a pro.
But, what’s more important here is: intention.
Consider the search intent behind the keywords you target.
For example, someone searching for “breaking news” probably wants to see the latest information, while someone searching for “news analysis” is probably looking for a more in-depth analysis of a current event.
Here are some quick tips for focusing on search intent when optimizing your news website:
Recognize the different types of search intent: There are four main types of search intent: informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional.
- Informational search occurs when a user searches for information about a particular topic (such as “how to build a news website”).
- Navigational search occurs when a user is looking for a specific website (such as Mashable or The New York Times).
- Commercial search is when a user searches for products or services before purchasing (such as “news monitoring tools”).
- Transactional search intent occurs when a user is ready to make a purchase (such as “buy news website template”)
It is very important to consider the intent of any keyword before choosing it. Only then can you create relevant content (or news articles) that matches the intent.
Analyze search intent for your target keywords: Once you have identified the different types of search intent, you need to analyze search intent for each of your target keywords. You can do this by looking at the types of results that are currently ranking for those keywords.
For example, if you target the keyword “best laptop” you will see that the top results are all commercial and transactional, meaning users are searching for information about the best laptop to buy.
Create relevant content: Once you know the search intent for your target keyword, start creating content that matches that intent.
For example, if you target the keyword “best laptop,” you need to create content that reviews and compares different laptops. You should also include information about where to purchase the recommended laptop.
4. You Can’t Ignore Mobile Usability
Google now indexes websites primarily based on how they appear on mobile devices. This is called mobile-first indexing.
Therefore, it is extremely important to optimize your news website for mobile so that people can easily read and share your content on their smartphones and tablets.
Another big reason to focus on improving your site’s mobile usability is popularity. Most of the people are now consuming news on their smartphone users.
According to research, 55.5% of all web traffic comes via mobile phones.
Therefore, you cannot ignore mobile optimization. Here are some quick tips to improve mobile usability of news websites in 2024.
- Improve your page loading times. Everyone likes fast websites. Mobile users are more likely to bounce from a website that takes a long time to load. You can improve your loading times by optimizing your images, using a content delivery network (CDN), and minifying your code.
- Use large fonts and call-to-action buttons. Why? On mobile devices, everything looks smaller (compared to desktop). Therefore, use larger fonts for better user experience.
- Images and videos can slow down your website’s loading speed, so use them sparingly in your news site.
- Make sure your news site is loading properly on all devices. You can use free tools like Google Mobile-Friendly Test to test your website’s compatibility with mobile devices.
- Avoid pop-ups. Pop-ups can be annoying and intrusive, especially on mobile devices.
5. Consider Trending Topics
If you’re running a news site, you’ll have to publish a lot of content every day.
You should create content on trending and hot topics.
But.. how do you keep track of current events and trending topics? Here are some great free tools you can use to find trending topics.
Google Trends: Simply put, Google Trends is one of the popular tools used by almost every major news website. This tool shows how often a particular search term or topic is searched over time and in different countries.
You can use Google Trends to find trending topics in your industry or see what people are searching for in general.
Twitter Trends: If you’re looking for real-time events around the world, Twitter Trends is for you. It shows you the most popular topics being tweeted at any time. You can filter Twitter trends by location to see what’s trending in your area.
BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo is a freemium tool that shows you the most popular content on social media. You can use BuzzSumo to find trending topics in one place. It covers everything from tracking mentions to finding better content ideas.
Feedly: Feedly is a free tool that allows you to select and read content from your favorite websites. If you want to keep track of important insights from everywhere – including news websites, blogs, and newsletters – Feedly is an excellent choice.
Explosive Topics: Do you want to find explosive topics before they start? Then, try explosive topics. This is an amazing tool that helps you identify emerging trends before they become mainstream. You can use Exploding Topics to find trending topics in your industry, and it also gives you insight into those topics.
Above all, use common sense. Not all trending topics are created equal. You don’t need to create content on every trending topic.
Why? Not only does this save you a lot of time in content creation, but some trending topics may not be newsworthy.
FAQs on SEO for news publishers
Here are some of the frequently asked questions about news SEO.
How do I rank my news website?
Here are FIVE major areas you need to improve to rank your news website.
- keyword optimization
- quality of content
- site speed
What are the best free tools for news sites?
Some of the best free tools you can use for news sites are;
- Google Search Console (shows insights into how your website is performing in search results)
- Google Analytics (tracks website traffic and user behavior)
- Rank Math (helps you optimize your website content for search engines)
- Google Trends (helps you identify trending topics)
How to find the best keywords for a news website?
When doing keyword research you need to consider keyword metrics like search volume, CPC, and competition. Some great tools you can use are SEMrush Keyword Magic, Ubersuggest, and Keywordtool.io.
How do I ensure the accuracy of my news articles?
You need to publish accurate information to build trust among your audience. Don’t rely on just one source for information. Instead, verify information from at least two to three sources.
How can I protect my news website from copyright infringement?
Here are some things you can do to protect your news website from copyright infringement:
- Include a copyright notice on your website
- Disable right-click (this prevents users from copying your content)
- watermark your images
Final thoughts on Google News SEO
Improving the ranking of a news website is really challenging. The reason? There is a huge competition out there.
That’s why you need a solid SEO strategy to get ahead of your competitors. Keep an eye on the latest SEO trends and make changes accordingly.
What are your thoughts on optimizing your news site for SEO? have any questions? Tell us in the comments.