Google News has been around since the internet’s early days, launching back in 2002. However, not everyone was a fan of the service, describing the site as cluttered and too busy. But will the new Google News Redesign make a difference?
While it was useful to be able to read news from across the world in one place, design matters.
In this article, we’re going to explore the new site and talk about the Google News redesign. We’re also going to look at how content creators can benefit from Google News.
What is Google News?
Google News is what’s known as a content aggregator. Though it focuses on aggregating news in particular, rather than general content.
What it does is collect content on news from a variety of different sources across the internet and display it on one page. The page constantly updates with the latest headlines and stories from around the world. Google News offers world news, local news, business, technology, sports, and other popular topics.
Google’s algorithm will come into play here, just as it does in search. You can expect that Google will be looking for top-quality content that’s up to the minute, and highly relevant. Google does not want to publish and promote poor-quality content.
That’s great news for anyone who loves keeping up with the latest news and goings on. But it’s also great news for those of us who want to write it.
Firstly, the whole look of the page is different. Before the redesign, there were three columns, with the menu on the left of the page.
While the same topics were there to choose from, the page looked too busy with stories appearing in both the center and right columns. There was also no option to see local news.
Now, the menu is at the top for a cleaner look and feel. There are only two columns at the top of the page, one for Top Stories, and one for Local News.
More images appear on the page and there is more white space. This makes the new design far easier on the eye, breaking up all the text.
Many commentators have described it as looking far more like a newspaper than it did before, and that’s true.
Subjects are also now separated by pastel-colored headlines, which help to demarcate each section, without jarring the reader. The text is also larger, and a nice added feature means that logos from news sources show up above the stories. This again breaks up the page and adds visual interest.
Google has also improved the fact-checker, which now shows the original headline and a comment on what the claim is. There is then comment below on whether the article is true or false and who provided the fact check.
The old “For You” section has now been replaced by “Your Topics”. You can now change the order of these topics, decide what’s on your home page, and remove what you aren’t interested in.
And if you make a mistake, it’s easy to hit “Reset to default” and go back to the way it was.
All in all, it’s a much better design: clearer, cleaner, and easier to read. And with a little customization thrown in, too, it’s better for the reader.
Why would you want to appear on the redesigned Google News?
Okay, now let’s get down to it. Why does the Google News redesign matter to you?
Well, a good redesign always makes it more likely for people to stick around and continue reading. They’re more likely to be able to find what they want on the new site, especially as they can customize settings.
You could become one of the trusted sources that they look out for. That gives you authority that you can’t get just from writing your own content on your own site.
The other reason is, of course, that it’s a Google site. It’s always good when you can get your content on the biggest search engine in the world. You probably know that backlinks are important for SEO. Well, who wouldn’t want a backlink from Google themselves?
And with Google News, you have yet another place you can be found on the internet. That might just be what gets you ahead of the competition.
Many commentators have described Google News is looking far more like a newspaper than it did before, and that’s true.
How can you appear on Google News?
First of all, you have to bear in mind what Google is looking for here. They want quality news stories. Real news, and not just puff pieces, or attempts to slip in some marketing for your business.
Try to slip anything past Google and you won’t last long. Worse, you may not get another chance to appear on the Google News page.
Naturally, Google is also looking for quality articles that are original. They don’t want to see regurgitations of other people’s articles.
Not only that, but you must have a site that is fully dedicated to just news. You won’t appear on Google News if you only have news on a section of your site.
Having got that out of the way, what should you do?
Well, you don’t have to apply to write for Google News. There’s no application form or anything to fill in, but here are our top tips for getting your content on their news aggregator:
You’ll need to carefully research your keywords as you usually would for any content. Ensure that you’re including your keywords in your headline, the first paragraph, and at least once in the body of the article.
Also, include your keywords in your meta title and meta description, image titles, and alt text for images.
It’s really worth spending extra time on this to get it right. You need to be found and your articles read, so don’t skip the SEO.
2) Get attention
You have seconds to get people to pay attention to your article over all the others on the page. That means a seriously good headline.
Pour plenty of time into creating the perfect, attention-grabbing headline. Look at trends, and other articles, and write multiple headlines for the same story until you know you’ve nailed it.
You won’t get much more on the Google News listings than the headline, so make it count.
You also need an enticing hook and first line to keep people reading once they click through. Follow up and deliver on the promise of your headline. Don’t leave people hanging.
It’s not enough just to get the click-through. You need people to read and enjoy your content, so they keep coming back for more.
3) Quality, quality, quality
Your headline and copy must be top quality from start to finish. You’re competing with thousands of other news sites to get one spot on the Google News page. You won’t get that spot with unoriginal, trashy content.
You know Google wants quality. It’s one of the main things to keep in mind whether you’re writing for Google News or for a social media post.
You’ve got to deliver value. You’ve got to educate or entertain. And it’s got to be good.
Of course, this isn’t just about Google. You want your readers to think of you as a quality news provider too. They have so many choices and so many places they could get their news, that they will go elsewhere if your quality slips.
4) Be current and consistent
Google does not want old news from three days ago. You need to be quick and highly responsive when writing for Google News.
Breaking news can happen in any subject area and stories can develop rapidly. You can’t afford to be reporting late on anything. Don’t let your competitors get the scoop and the spot on Google.
In addition to that, you need to keep posting regularly and consistently. The news never sleeps and nor can your news site. This may involve hiring a team of writers, perhaps in different time zones, to cover your stories and keep you up to date.
5) Have a fully responsive site
Websites nowadays must be mobile responsive and work on every device and browser. They need to load rapidly and work smoothly.
Don’t let your beautifully written articles down with a slow site that doesn’t work on mobile phones. Too many people consume content on their phones now.
You’ll also need to optimize your site and provide an XML sitemap. Google wants news from sites that don’t have cluttered header codes.
You’re also far less likely to appear on Google News if your site isn’t up to scratch.
Wrap Up: It takes work, but appearing on Google News can be well worth the effort.
If you’re a new site or you don’t have a lot of domain authority yet, it’s important that you put the work in. Keep creating consistently good content that’s fully optimized for SEO. Build backlinks to your site, write guest posts, and do what you can to gain authority links back to your site.
It might be a long road, but you can get there.
If you want to check out your content and make sure you’re hitting the right standards, take a look at our article on What is Good Content? Check out your content maturity.