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SEO for News Websites: Tips & Best Practices to Get More Readers from Google

You can’t ignore search engine optimization if you’re running a news website.

Why? Because SEO helps your website rank higher in search engines like Google.

This is especially important for news websites, as they often face HUGE competition from established websites with strong backlink profiles.

According to Search Engine Journal, over 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine like Google, Yahoo!, or Bing. So, if you’re ignoring SEO while running a news website, you’re losing a ton of traffic and money to your competitors.

Want to learn how to do SEO for news websites in 2024? Then, you’ve come to the right place. In this free guide, you’ll learn;

  • The best SEO practices for news sites
  • A quick checklist to get your news site rank higher in Google
  • Real-life examples and more

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

How to Do SEO for News Websites: The Ultimate Guide

seo for news websites

1. Get Your Website Listed in Google News

Google News is a news aggregator service developed by Google that gives up-to-date news coverage from a ton of sources worldwide.

Here’s what it looks like;

google news

Google News is free, and you can choose the topics you’re interested in and Google will provide you with the latest articles.

The good news is Google not only shows articles from BIG sites but also constantly 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 ways, as Google picks relevant news stories based on factors such as relevance, EAT concept in SEO, etc.

But here are a few best practices that can help you get on Google News consistently.

  • Create A Google News Sitemap, as it helps Google find and index every page on your news site properly.
  • Submit your news site to Google’s Publisher Centre, which is free.
  • Create a Google News section from part of your website. Here are the guidelines officially given by Google.
  • Make 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’ll be publishing LOTS of content.

When a visitor lands on your news site, they should be able to find your content easily.

Here’s where a clean and organized website architecture comes into play. Here are some proven ways to build 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 faster. You can consider using the following things on your news website’s homepage to make it user-friendly;

  • A prominent search bar so people can easily discover what they want (place it above the fold)
  • A carousel slideshow (or slider) showcasing 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, such as;

  • World
  • Politics
  • Business
  • Technology
  • 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 displa recent articles related to that topic.

Have a look at one of the categories on our blog;

category articles

Navigation: Your news site MUST have a user-friendly navigation system that allows visitors to find the information they seek easily.

Browse through the popular news websites in your industry to see how they’re crafting their above-the-fold section and navigation.

Here’s one of the examples of the popular news site TechCrunch;

news site homepage

As you can see above, the top-level menu with clear labels for each main section should be included, along with a search functionality. 

Mobile Optimization: Last but not least, optimize your news website for mobile devices. Why? Mobile users are growing rapidly. Every page or news article on your site should adapt effectively to smartphones and tablets.

3. Focus on Search Intent

First things first, you need to conduct keyword research if you want to get better results from Google.

The whole point of keyword research is to find relevant keywords that can help you drive more traffic. You can read our free guide on doing keyword research like a pro.

But, here’s what’s MORE important: INTENT.

Consider the search intent behind the keywords you’re targeting. 

For example, someone searching for “breaking news” likely 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:

Identify the different types of search intent: There are four main types of search intent: informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional. 

  • Informational search intent is when a user searches for information about a particular topic (such as “how to create a news website”)
  • Navigational search intent is when a user is looking for a specific website (such as Mashable or The New York Times)
  • Commercial search intent is when a user is looking for products or services before purchasing (such as “news monitoring tools”)
  • Transactional search intent is when a user is ready to make a purchase (such as “buy News Website Templates”)

Before picking ANY keyword, it’s extremely important to consider its intent. Only then can you create relevant content (or news articles) that match the intent.

Analyze the search intent for your target keywords: Once you’ve identified the different types of search intent, you need to ANALYZE the 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 laptops,” you will see that the top results are all commercial and transactional, meaning that users are searching for information about the best laptops to buy.

Create relevant content: Once you know the search intent for your target keywords, start creating content that matches that intent. 

For example, if you target the keyword “best laptops,” you need to create content that reviews and compares different laptops. You should also include information about where to buy the recommended laptops.

4. You Can’t Ignore Mobile Usability

Google now indexes websites primarily on how they appear on mobile devices. It is called mobile-first indexing.

So, it’s 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 people are now consuming news on their smartphone users. 

According to research, 55.5% of all web traffic comes through mobile phones.

phone traffic share

So, you simply can’t ignore mobile optimization. Here are a few quick tips to improve the mobile usability of news websites in 2024.

  • Improve your page loading times. Everyone loves faster 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 small (compared to desktops). So, use BIGGER fonts for a 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 perfectly on ALL devices. You can use a free tool 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 must publish LOTS of content daily.

You should create content on trending and hot topics.

But.. how do you keep an eye on current events and trending topics? Here are some of the best free tools you can use to find trending topics.

Google Trends: Hands down, 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 for over time and across different countries.

You can use Google Trends to find trending topics in your industry or to see what people are searching for in general.

Twitter Trends: If you’re looking for REAL-TIME events worldwide, Twitter Trends is for you. It shows you the most popular topics being tweeted about 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. From tracking mentions to finding better content ideas, it has everything covered.

Feedly: Feedly is a free tool that allows you to curate and read content from your favorite websites. If you want to keep an eye on important insights from everywhere, including news websites, blogs, and newsletters – Feedly is an excellent choice.

Exploding Topics: Want to find growing topics before they take off? Then, try Exploding Topics. It’s an amazing tool that helps you identify emerging trends before they go mainstream. You can use Exploding Topics to find trending topics in your industry, and it also gives you insights into those topics.

Above all, use common sense. Not all trending topics are created equal. You don’t have to create content on every trending topic.

Why? Not only does it 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 
– Content quality 
– Site speed
– Mobile-friendliness
– Backlinks

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?

You need to consider keyword metrics like search volume, CPC, and competition while doing keyword research. Some of the best 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 with your audience. Don’t just rely on one source for information. Instead, verify information with at least two to three sources.

How can I protect my news website from copyright infringement?

Here are a few things you can do to protect your news website from copyright infringement:
– Watermark your images
– Include a copyright notice on your website
– Disable right-clicking (it prevents users from copying your content)


Final thoughts on Google News SEO

Improving the rankings of a news website is REALLY challenging. The reason? There’s a HUGE competition.

That’s why you need a solid SEO strategy for getting ahead of competitors. Keep an eye on the latest SEO trends and adapt accordingly.

What are your thoughts on optimizing your news site for SEO? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments. 

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