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8 Tips For Getting Approved As A Google News Site

gnAsking 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 as a Google News site can be challenging.

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

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, journalistically sound, news content. Other sites that may technically fit the guidelines might not be approved if they just don’t offer much in the way of journalistic 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 looks 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 your 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 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 the 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 two months to receive a review.

If your site is not approved for inclusion, you are allowed to reapply 60 days after your last review. Do make improvements to your site before reapplying.

Getting your site approved as a Google News site 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.

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