For general informational searches, older/more established content will have had more time to gain authority in search engines – that’s why it’s difficult to get a brand new page ranking well for many high-volume search phrases; but what about when people are looking for news items and newer pages will obviously serve the user better? That’s where a more news-focused algorithm comes in.
Where Do News Headlines Come From?
Search engines look at search patterns to determine if something is a trending story and adjust their results accordingly, most obviously by integrating news headlines directly into the search engine results page. Those news headlines are pulled from the news-specific vertical search and driven by a different algorithm. Simply having your site indexed in the regular search results is not enough to get into the News index.
Note that we’re also not talking about people finding the headlines when they go to “Google News” (or Bing News) but rather that these results are directly integrated in the regular search results when a story is trending (see examples below):
Why Try to Get Included in News Search?
The advantage of being included in the news box at the top of search engine results, obviously, is that it will drive a lot of traffic in a short amount of time. Consistently being part of the News OneBox (and Google News Alerts) can drive a large amount of sustained traffic over the year.
Because news sources also have to pass through another layer of review, these also tend to be more trusted and in turn become references (and links) that are cited on secondary coverage and shared in social media.
Once you’re in the news index, and as long as you’re producing relevant, timely content that follows best practices, the investment in getting set up can continue to pay off long into the future.
How Do You Get Included in the News Index?
To get your news articles to be part of that set of results, you first need to make sure that your news feeds are included in the News Index.
Technical and editorial requirements differ between engines but are things that most PBS news producers should be able to meet: they include providing permalinks for each story, producing original reporting, having multiple authors, providing proper attribution, etc.
Getting into Bing News
Unfortunately, getting into Bing News is not an automated process. If you’d like to request inclusion, check out this post on submitting to Bing News.
Bing News is obviously much smaller in terms of market share than Google, but it would still be a valuable, ongoing and sustained traffic source.
Getting into Google News
Detailed information, requirements and step-by-step instructions for getting into Google News can be found on the Google News Help Site.
You'll need to submit your content to Google News for consideration.
For speedier indexing of your news site, it is recommended that you submit a Google News Sitemap file (and you now how I keep harping on the need for a Google Webmaster Tools account? This is another reason you’ll need one).
For news search results even more than regular SEO, timeliness matters (since Google News will only show the newest/most recent stories) so a few hours of delay in having the crawler find your story could be the difference between getting exposure and getting none. See: more information about generating a News Sitemap and the protocol.
Here are some additional tips for Google News SEO.
News SEO with WordPress
If your site is run off WordPress, you can also take advantage of tools that other people have already built to help eliminate any need to develop an XML sitemap from scratch.
This WP plugin from Yoast, for example, creates a sitemap to Google News spec for you and updates it with new content dynamically: http://yoast.com/wordpress/seo/news-seo/
Other content management tools/CMSs may have their own plugins or modules that you can configure to generate an XML file that’s compliant with the News Sitemap protocol.