The June 2010 report released by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development confirms current news trends: traditional newspapers have been declining since 2008 and their conservative estimate that “about 5% of all Internet visits are related to reading news online.” Whether you intend to have your blog picked up by Google News or you’re just realizing the benefits of getting picked up by a news service, you’ll want to be sure your blog is prepared for submission.
First, if you haven’t been to Google News, it’s time to explore. You’ll find articles from traditional news sources like CBS, BBC, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and other news sources. Google doesn’t go out and buy news papers, and then clip and scan articles for the web. All of the news sources have an RSS feed (a blogging basic) so that when a news article is posted on their website the feed is picked up by Google News. RSS feed is at the core of getting news articles to Google, which means your blog has the same potential to get picked up by Google News as the big guys! That’s right – you’ll find Perez Hilton’s celebrity gossip blog in Google News along side the New York Times.
Getting into Google News isn’t just fate or coincidence: blogs and websites have to be submitted. To ramp up the likelihood of a successful submission, your blog must be news worthy and should not promote yourself or your products. Follow these 4 tips so your blog will be ready to submit to Google News.
1. Identify your writing staff. This is probably pretty simple if you already have an about us page. Be sure the page is called “about us”, or other variations like “staff”, “authors”, or “writers”. This is where you identify your blog’s author by name and credentials. If you edit a blog that accepts submissions from multiple authors, you can list the authors or simply note that you have multiple blog contributors.
2. Have a contact page. If you expect to get in the news and remain anonymous, you’ll have to skip Google News. You don’t have to give Google a road map to your front door, but you will need to show a city and state location. I recommend to would-be bloggers that they treat a blog like any other part of their business, if you have privacy concerns, rent a P.O. Box.
3. Name a news category. When you submit your blog to Google News, you’ll be asked for the web address where your news stories are published. You probably won’t be publishing all your blog posts in this category, but go ahead and name a category “News”. This will be an ideal category to publish event announcements, webinar details, and press releases. If you have already started posting to your blog, find your posts that qualify as “news” and move them to this new category before submitting the blog to Google News.
4. Don’t forget a site map. Last, but definitely not least, is the Google Site Map. Google is all about web structure and it loves XML site maps to figure its way around the structure of your website. If you are using blogging software like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, there are plugins available to create and update sitemaps.