How To Apply To Be A Yahoo News Site

How do you apply to be a Yahoo News Site?

The first challenge is to find the application form!

It took me months of searching, on and off, before I ran across it.

I’ll make it easy for you – here it is:

Yahoo News Source Submission Form (Yahoo has since taken this down, see update below)

When you get there, you’ll find a fairly simple form.

You’ll be asked the name of your site, what location it covers, the URL, why you recommend it, and your contact information.

I believe I was required to get a Yahoo account before I could submit the form. I don’t remember that for sure though.

And that’s it.

How long does it take before you hear back from them?

Well, I’m over the two (now nine) month mark now and there’s been no response. Nothing at all.

I reached out to Yahoo News through the Yahoo press office. I told them I was writing an article and would like to learn more about the submission process and what they look for in a news site. Their only response was “we are not commenting on this.”

Yahoo is the only one of the major three news search engines to take this long and be this incommunicative.

I’ll update this post if I ever hear back from Yahoo News about my submission.

If you’ve submitted your site to Yahoo News, share your experience below!

— update —

Upon reaching the three month mark with no response, I have again contacted Yahoo and requested information about the application process. I’ll let you know when and what I hear back from them.

— update —

Now four months from the original application: no response from Yahoo News from the submission, no response to another request to their press department seeking information about the submission process.

And… they’ve apparently taken down the submission page.

I have asked Yahoo to comment on this and will update this story if/when they do.

[post_subscriptions]

How To Get Your Site Into Google News Editors’ Picks

Google News Editor's Pick

Editors’ Picks is a section on Google News that displays stories selected by the editors of the displayed publications as some of their best content.

Editors’ Picks used to just appear on the GN home page, but recently topic-specific Editors’ Picks began appearing on different sections of Google News, such as tech and business.

Approximately 10 publications are shown in the Editors’ Picks section at a time. For the most part, Google’s algo selects which publications are included in Editors’ Picks when the page loads. Individual uses can also affect which publications are included (or not) using the Google News personalization settings.

Approved Google News sources (see: 8 Tips For Getting Approved As A Google News Source) can apply to be approved to appear in the Editors’ Picks section.

The application process is pretty straight forward – but there are certain technical details that have to be in place before you apply.

[wp_ad_camp_1]

Google provides all the details here – and you will want to look through those guidelines carefully to get everything in the right order before you apply.

In short, the way you go about it is to set up on RSS feed that includes only your best news content. It needs to be updated with new articles regularly (at least one new link every 48 hours, they recommend 1 or 2 a day), and it needs to include a logo they can use in the Editors’ Picks section (image size is important here, but sure to read Google’s guidelines).

If you are running a WordPress site, unfortunately there isn’t an Editors’ Picks Plugin to make an Editors’ Picks RSS feed at this time.

However, it’s not difficult to hack something together that you can use for a WordPress Editors’ Picks RSS feed.

There are several ways to do this – here’s the simplest (though perhaps not the most elegant) solution I’ve found. It still requires some basic knowledge of how your WordPress site works, how to edit a php file, and where your functions.php file is.

You’ll need to select a new ‘tag’ to use to identify your Editors’ Picks selection. As an example, we’ll just use “editors-pick” (no apostrophe here, to keep the RSS url simple). Each time you have an article that you want to designate an as an Editors’ Pick, you will add “editors-pick” as one of your tags.

After doing that, you should be able to go to http://www.yoursite.com/tag/editors-pick/feed and see an RSS feed that includes any posts you have tagged “editors-pick”.

Ah, but it doesn’t have that required logo in it. So now you go to your functions.php file, back it up before making changes just in case, then add this code to the bottom before that ?>

// add logo for GN Editors’ Picks to RSS feeds
add_action(‘rss_head’,’rss_add_logo’);
add_action(‘rss2_head’,’rss_add_logo’);
function rss_add_logo() {

$img_url=””; //place the url of your GN Editors’ Picks logo between the quote marks

ECHO “<image>
<url>”.$img_url.”</url>
</image>”;
}

Be sure to put the url that leads to your logo image (that complies with  Google’s guidelines) between the quote marks on the $img_url= line.

Now when you look at your RSS feed you should see a section that includes the image url (you may need to clear your cache if you don’t see any difference).

[wp_ad_camp_1]

The code above will add the image url to – all – your post RSS feeds. There are ways not to do that, but we are trying to keep it as simple as possible here and it won’t hurt anything to have your logo in all your feeds in most cases.

Now, head back over to the Google’s guidelines for requesting approval for your site to be in Google News’ Editors’ Picks. On that page, you will find a link to request approval for your site to be included.

Good luck :)

Credit goes to Amir for coming up with the idea of using WordPress tags to keep this simple!

[post_subscriptions]

How To Submit Your Site To Bing News

Bing News does not provide a specific form for news sites to apply for inclusion.

With Bing, a news site submission is initiated through Bing’s default support form and then completed via email.

When I decided to apply to Bing News, I started by entering my site into Bing Webmaster Tools.

I don’t know if that is a requirement – but it seemed like a good idea to establish a history with Bing.

After giving that some time, I submitted a request through Bing’s support form.

I kept it pretty simple, just politely requesting that our site be included in the Bing News index and giving them a brief summary of what our site covers and its history.

[wp_ad_camp_1]

The very next day I received a response asking for these specific things:

  • An introduction, historical background, and credentials of the site.
  • A credible ranking of the site in its field, if any.
  • The location the site covers (or specific user groups).
  • Statistics on the site including the  number of daily/monthly visitors
  • The number of news stories published each day.
  • The main news entry point and entry points of major channels.
  • An RSS link.
  • And they pointed out that the site must be news or mostly news related, and that it must comply with the technical requirements on the Webmaster Tool blog about “good” search engine optimization.

Unfortunately, the email did not contain a link for that last part – the blog post about the technical requirements for “good” seo.

After a search, I found this possibility – but it doesn’t really cover any technical requirements though. If you know what post they are referring to, please leave it in the comments section below.

I answered their email with my responses and the wait began. It took just over a month before I heard back from Bing News with the results of their review.  About two days later our articles began showing up in Bing News!

Not a bad application process in all.

It would be nice if Bing had a specific help center for Bing News publishers that included guidelines and a dedicated news site submission form. À la Google News.

That said though, in my experience their email support is great. I’ve heard the same thing from other publishers too. Fast, personal, and very competent.

[wp_ad_camp_1]

Applying for Bing News has been well worth the effort. They are a major player in the online news industry now and handle a substantial amount of traffic.

Have you applied? What was your experience like – and any advice for others?

Leave your comments below!

[post_subscriptions]

Easy WordPress Auto-Posting To Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter & More!

Easy auto-posting to Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter & more!There are several WordPress plugins that will auto-post an update to Facebook and Twitter when you publish a new article. I’ve used several in the past, and they worked mostly ok.

But for the longest time I couldn’t find anything that would auto-post to Google Plus. So my Google Plus account was neglected.

Yes, I could log in and add posts manually, but sometimes my writers put out 10 to 20 posts a day on my news site, News For Shoppers. I found I just didn’t have the time and energy to add each post individually.

So I kept searching for an auto-posting solution for Google Plus and eventually ran across Next Scripts: Social Networks Auto Poster (SNAP).

There are two versions: free and pro.

[wp_ad_camp_1]

With the free version, you can post to Facebook, Twitter, and many other social networks.

With the pro version, you can post to any of the supported social networks (Blogger/Blogspot, Delicious, Diigo, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, LiveJournal, Pinterest, Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Twitter, Plurk, vBulletin, vKontakte, and WordPress blogs).

The pro version also adds the ability to post to more than one account on a specific social network at a time. The license is per-user, so you can use the plugin on multiple sites as long as you own them.

Of course, my main goal was to be able to auto-post to Google +, and the pro version has done that without any difficulty.

But along with auto-posting reliably, the plugin has several additional features that put it above the others I have tried.

First of all, it’s white labeled. When a post is added to a social network, there’s no indication on the post that a plugin was used.

And second, I’m really impressed by how much I can customize each post – I can set up a default post format – basically set and forget. Or from the WP edit post page, I can add a comment, an image,  and can resubmit posts easily.

The end result? Auto-posts that look as though I posted them manually.

When first setting up SNAP, I did get stuck on one problem that is apparently unique to my WordPress setup. The urls for my featured images are a bit off. The SNAP plugin had trouble finding them for use in the auto-posting (I suspect an image manipulating plugin I use changes the urls).

So I asked for some help through the Next Scripts support system.

[wp_ad_camp_1]

The plugin author got back to me very quickly and was extremely helpful. He looked up my setup, found the problem, and sent me a fix. Excellent customer service.

Ok, let’s talk about the cost. As mentioned earlier, the plugin is free for auto-posting to Facebook and Twitter, amongst others.

But for Google Plus, Pinterest, posting to multiple accounts on a network, and additional capabilities on some of the other social networks, a $49 pro license is required.

At first blush, that seemed a little high to me. I don’t normally spend much on plugins.

But when it comes down to it, in the first month of use, this plugin has already saved me more than $49 worth of time. It gets updates out that I would otherwise not get to. And does so in such a way that the update looks like they were done manually.

So from me, the plugin gets a thumbs up.

[post_subscriptions]

8 Tips For Getting Approved As A Google News Source

Asking Google to approve your site as a Google News source is really pretty easy.

You simply take a look at the Google News inclusion guidelines, the general Google Webmaster guidelines, and if your site qualifies, you apply.

Ah, but the devil is in the details – and while applying is easy – actually getting approved can be challenging.

So let’s take a look at 8 things you can do to help get your site approved.

[wp_ad_camp_1]

1) Comply With The Guidelines

Go through the official guidelines that Google News provides. Read them. Study them. Follow the links on the guidelines page as well, so you get all the details. Then make sure your site complies with them.

I can’t tell you how many publishers get rejected and afterwards tell me they follow all the guidelines. In most cases, it takes just a few minutes of looking at their site to see that they don’t.

2) Have Great Content

It’s not said directly in the guidelines, but I believe that Google News reviewers look for sites that add value to the Google News index.

A site that doesn’t technically fit all the guidelines might be allowed in anyway if they have really great news content. Other sites that may technically fit the guidelines might not be approved if they just don’t offer much value. That’s going to be a reviewer’s judgement call.

Google News will do what they consider best for Google News and Google News users, regardless of the guidelines.

3) Be A News Site

Google states clearly in the guidelines that they don’t want “sites created primarily for promoting a product or organization.” They are looking for news sites. Sites where the product is news.

If your site is selling something (other than ad space or subscriptions – the traditional ways that news organizations earn revenue) or promoting anything, it may be impossible to get approval.

4) Have Original Content

If a Google News reviewer finds unoriginal, rewritten, and/or duplicate content on your site, you likely won’t be approved. Yes, sites often write about the same topics. That’s to be expected. But you must find a way to add value to your stories. Make them your own.

5) Grammar  Counts

Mentioned in the guidelines, but often overlooked. If your site is plagued with grammar errors, it’s unlikely to be approved.

If you learned the language your site is written in as a second language, it might be wise to have a native speaker with good proofing skills edit your articles before they are published.

6) Be Super Clean

No tricky stuff at all. That includes both on-site and off-site. The nice thing about being a Google News site is you don’t have to go black-hat to be seen. If anything appears spammy; if you have artificial links; if it appears like you are misleading readers into clicking on ads; if you are recycling content; or doing anything else that might appear to be sneaky or deceptive, your site is not likely to be approved. 

Both on-site and off-site, everything needs to be exceptionally clean and white hat.

7) Be Professional

On site: Your site needs to be professional. The overall quality of your stories and site are important. Broken links, broken or poorly cropped images, difficult navigation, a cluttered/poor layout, will all hurt a site’s chances for inclusion.

Off site: You represent your site at all times. Publishers that are rude, whiny, demanding, demeaning, or threatening either to Google News staff or on the Google News help forum are screaming out that they are immature and irresponsible. Being immature and irresponsible does not get a site approved.

I’m not saying you can’t disagree, advocate for your site, point out discrepancies or mistakes – but it should all be done respectfully and professionally.

8) Use The Resources GN Provides To Publishers

This includes both the extensive Google News Publishers Help pages and the Google News Publishers Help forum. Google News staff even stop by and participate in the forums occasionally – though they will never get into the details of why specific sites are accepted or not.

You will also see Top Contributors (TC’s) and other experienced publishers helping out in the forum. If a TC provides an answer, give it serious thought. They are considered trusted sources. (Learn more about TC’s here.)

If you ask a question in the forum and don’t get an answer after several days, politely update your post and ask again.


Carefully consider Google News’ official guidelines and the tips I have suggested above before applying.

The process can take some time, especially if you are turned down and have to reapply. It can take from several weeks to as long as three months to receive a review.

If your site is not approved for inclusion, you are allowed to reapply after two months. During that time, you will want to review the guidelines and these steps again. Do make improvements to your site before reapplying.

[wp_ad_camp_1]

Getting your site approved as a Google News source is not for everyone, There’s a certain amount of stress that goes along with having to abide by someone else’s guidelines. But if you decide to pursue it, following the Google News guidelines and these tips will dramatically increase your chances of being approved.

[post_subscriptions]

New AdSense Arrows (Buttons?) – What’s The Controversy About?

AdSense ArrowGoogle AdSense has rolled out a new look for their text ads. Along with a few tweaks to the fonts and spacing, there’s also a big arrow on them now. (see image to right).

Announcing the changes, the AdSense team said “These enhancements are among the largest that we have made to text ads, and our experiments indicate an uplift in clicks across publishers on the Google Display Network.”

Some webmasters are complaining about the new AdSense arrows.  They have been called ‘ugly,’ ‘disgusting,’ ‘gawd-awful’ and worse.

But the funny thing is, years ago, webmasters were all over the idea of putting arrows and images next to AdSense ads. They found that having images next to the ads, almost so that they looked like they were a part of the ad, increased click-thrus. Google came out against the practice, of course – but here they are now doing in themselves.

Ok, it’s not exactly the same. It is more controlled.

The big arrows are going to clash with some layouts, no doubt. It would certainly be nice if AdSense publishers could control the color, size, and whether the arrows would appear to the left or right of the text.

[wp_ad_camp_1]

But when it comes down to it, if it raises CTR and RPM – heck, I’m all for it. I do everything I can to help my writers over at News For Shoppers earn as much with their AdSense ads as they can.

My main concern would be that the arrows might increase ad blindness over time. I hope that any improvements the arrows make in earnings last.

Oh yeh, another thought that crossed my mind was that it might be good for CTR to incorperate similar arrows on other parts of my site. That would take care of the ad-blindness issue….. ohbut G has already thought of that too – the announcement includes “we ask that publishers refrain from mimicking these arrows.” Ha – oh well, it was just a brief thought :)

Another concern I have is that it may lead to inadvertent clicks. On some ads the arrow has enough distance from the text that it looks separate. Almost like it might be an arrow to go to the next page or something else. Why do inadvertent clicks concern me? Well, yeh, the money from inadvertent clicks might be nice – but over time, inadvertent clicks hurt the publisher, as Google measures the quality of traffic and (I expect) lower quality traffic results in lower quality and lower revenue-generating ads.

While we are talking about Adsense – did you see the new super-sized skyscraper AdSense has come out with? Don’t think I’ll be able to use this one with any of my current layouts, but I’m all for more ad size options!

What do you think of the AdSense Arrows? Leave your comments below!

[post_subscriptions]

5 Powerful SEO Tips For Writers

SEO TipsWhat is the Importance of SEO?

Search Engine Optimized (SEO) articles are an essential tool in attracting traffic to your website. Well SEO’d articles use relevant keywords to enhance the chances of ranking high in search engines.

A great website with no traffic is no good. So lets take a look at 5 SEO  tips to bring traffic to your article.

5 Tips for Creating Great SEO Articles

1. Write informative content: It is easy to put too much emphasis on keywords and end up filling an article with fluff, which is not helpful to anyone. After picking a topic which is clearly related to your products, carry out an extensive research to come up with factual, informative and unique content. Cut a niche for yourself as a voice of authority in your niche. This will not only attract, but also to retain, your traffic – as well as earn you referrals, mentions and backlinks.

[wp_ad_camp_1]

2. Research on the keywords: Put yourself in the mind of your prospective clients and determine the words or phrases that they are most likely to use in the search engines. The length of the phrase is also important, with research showing that 2 and 3 word phrases are the most commonly used. By incorporating the right keywords, you can be assured that visitors will find your website.

3. Be careful on keyword density: The most effective keyword density generally ranges from 3-5%. Any amount below or above this is likely to have negative effects. Too many keywords will cause the search engine algorithm to label your site as spam. If they are too few, on the other hand, your website will hardly ever get any traffic. There are programs available to analyze your articles and inform you the keyword density.

4. Be social: Engage the reader on a higher level by allowing comments, sharing and even rating of the articles. This is an essential step in forming a long term relationship with your readers by letting them feel that they are part of you and not just strangers. The more shares your content receives, the bigger the audience it is exposed to thus increasing your traffic.

5. Keep your goals in mind. Are you looking for regular readers, or is your focus primarily on readers passing through and clicking on ads? Long term readers are attracted by educative and authoritative content while pass through readers are likely to be drawn by more flashy content.

7 Story Tips to Make your Content Go Viral

If you want your blog posts and website content to go viral and create the kind of buzz needed to put you and your business seriously on the online map, you need to learn how to tell a good story.

Stories have been around since the beginning of time. They are in every aspect of our lives and we love them because they force us to engage and they allow us to use our imaginations. They make us feel understood and we can identify with the events, the characters and the action that occurs.

This identification is what generates the kind of connection that marketers need to make a sale and this is why online advertisers, interested in using online content as a way of driving traffic, should work on improving their storytelling skills if they want to see real viral success.

[wp_ad_camp_1]

Psychological studies have proven that a story is far more memorable than something that is merely stated, particularly when dealing with facts. This means that the story is an incredibly useful tool for the online marketer that is being ignored by far too many people in the online advertising industry.

How to create a really good story is a craft in itself and this is why the following seven story tips below are like fairy dust. If you follow the tips highlighted for creating a really good story, you will be able to use the ideas in your online content to help ensure that your content goes viral.

Integrate each idea into every blog post that you run and watch as your content gradually becomes the online sustenance for more and more people from your target consumer community.

Every good online marketing story needs to have a purpose

If you have a story to tell, related to your business, consider what the purpose of that story is. Make sure that you really understand why it is that you are telling the story and how it will encourage people to want to share your online content.

For example, let’s imagine that you have an online drug company and you want to increase sales of one particular line of medication. Instead of simply creating blog copy that is designed to sell your product, try putting it into a story with the purpose of highlighting the drug’s advantages in mind.

“Bill used to find reaching up to the top shelf really difficult because of the pain that it caused him in his lower back. One day he tried (the drug that you are selling) and he found that the pain went away and he could enjoy life to the full again once more.”

Naturally, the above idea is by no means the best story in the world, but the purpose of the story is clear and when using stories in your online content, you need to make sure that the purpose is highly evident if you want to have a chance of it going viral.

Get creative with settings and characters.

As your online content stories are likely to be allegorical, have fun with your stories and be as creative as possible. If you can be clever with your online content, your audience is more likely to share your content and the possibilities for going viral will increase.

For example, imagine you own a florist and you want to make your online content go viral to help drive more people to your site. Why not create a story about…

“Rita the Rose and her friend Bill the Bluebell and how their adventure trip to The Land of Love on Valentine’s Day made sure that all those people who were going to be alone on Valentine’s Day ended up meeting the prince/princess of their dreams.”

Again, it is likely that with a little thought you can develop much more interesting stories via your online content, but this will give you an idea of how you can play and have fun with setting and characters in particular to match the focus of your content.

Every good story has a complication to overcome.

If you have a service or a product to sell and you want to drive traffic to your site by making your content go viral, the stories that you create on your website need to generate complications that can be overcome thanks to the product or service that your company provides.

For example, let’s imagine that you own a luxury chair company. The first thing that you need to set up is the problem. There needs to be some issue to resolve… perhaps a chronic back problem from a bad office chair, or lack of comfort from an old, worn-out sofa at home.

“Jill was sleeping badly at night and her doctor told her to invest in a new chair for her home office. Now she sleeps like a baby every single night!”

All the best stories have fantastic villains.

Villains can either make or break a story. The Joker is one of the best loved villains of all time because he creates the conflict and interest that the Batman story needs to keep the audience gripped until the very end.

On the Internet, the villain of your story could be an external force, such as click fraud – a particularly great villain if you are trying to sell online advertising management services. In your story, as you show your online marketing company overcoming the difficulties posed by the villainous click fraud character, your audience will be excited about the hero and the triumphs of your company.

[wp_ad_camp_1]

Don’t forget about the turning point.

All online content in the form of a story that has a chance of going viral features a clear turning point. The most important thing in any story is the turning point, the moment when the audience regains hope and believes that things are going to find their way towards a clear and satisfactory resolution.

In terms of the online market, the turning point in your story will be the moment when your target audience realizes that it needs to buy your product, invest in your service or share your site’s content with someone else, helping your content to go viral and your brand to gain strength.

Rhetorical questions work… It’s not a myth!

Rhetoric works for politicians, it works for dramatists and it certainly works for those people hoping to make their online content go viral. Therefore, ask questions in your story, make real use of rhetoric and ensure that the content you produce is effective at getting people to share what you post with their friends and within other related online circles.

“Do you know what Matthew did when he couldn’t get his mobile phone application to download correctly?… What do you think happened when the paint that Robin used turned out not to be waterproof?… How often do you think Marie tried calling her beautician before she gave up completely?”

Rhetoric creates direct interaction and you need your audience to be involved in your company if you want your online content to go viral.

Does your story reach an adequate resolution?

If you create stories in your online content with adequate solutions, you will not actually have to say “Now buy my product” or “Invest in my service” because the consumer will want to do so naturally, having seen how what your company does provides solutions to the problems your characters faced in the story you told.

The art of selling your company via online content that has gone viral lies in the non-selling aspect of your online content and this is why stories are so effective. If the story you tell is entertaining enough, interesting enough and if your company provides a resolution in the story for one or some of the characters, that might be enough to get your conversions increasing and your brand out there in the faces of many.