News Search Optimization: Great For a Select Few

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Ian Lurie Jan 16 2009

This is part 4 of a series of articles on universal search. If you don’t know what universal search is, read this article first. If you just want to catch up, read the previous posts about image and video search optimization and product feed optimization.

Google and Yahoo blend news search results into their universal search results the same way they handle images, video and products: If a news item is more relevant than the content around it in the rankings, it’ll get worked into the results:
news-search-us-air.gif
So, news search represents yet another way to race past other sites in the web search rankings: Get your news story ranked in the regular search results and you jump past everybody else.

I’m going to keep today simple. It’s Friday.

There are two ways to optimize for news search. One’s available to any of us. The other is available only to ‘real’ news outlets according to Google’s definition.

News Search for Commoners: Press Releases

For slobs like me, the best shot at a top news search result is through a press release. Submit a release. If a news service (even a blog that’s met Google/Yahoo!’s requirements) picks up the release, and the press release is relevant, it’ll show up in the search results.
The down side? The link in the search results will point at the news outlet’s web site, not yours.
But it’s the best route to news inclusion for most of us.
A few tips for optimizing your press release, and making sure you get some secondary traffic even if the search engines don’t link directly to you:

  1. Use a good model for a press release. This one from CopyBlogger is for social media press releases but it’s still darned good, and will work particularly well online.
  2. Know your target keywords.
  3. At a minimum, include your target keywords in the headline, summary and first paragraph of your press release. Keywords matter!
  4. Include a keyword-rich link to your web site in the first paragraph or two of the press release, too. The various press release services have different techniques for doing this.
  5. Include a link to your web site in the biographical block at the end of the press release.
  6. Write a really compelling headline. Remember, before you even have a shot at a top ranking on the search engines, you have to get a news site to pick up your release.
  7. Use a good online press release service. Most important, make sure they’ll keep your press release online for a while after it hits the wire. That gives you a shot at inclusion in news search results, even if you don’t get onto a news site. My favorite is PRWeb. They’re super-reliable, inexpensive and have a good record for getting me access to news sites and the wire.

Getting Into News Search: For the Elite

If you run a site that might pass as a real live news source, then you can try to submit your news content directly to the search engines.
Before you even think about it, you need to meet these minimum requirements:

  1. You have more than one author writing on your site.
  2. Every article on your site has a unique URL that does not change. Read more about that here.
  3. And/or you have an XML news sitemap.
  4. Your site has an auto-discoverable RSS feed.
  5. Your site has a history as a news resource.

Once you have all that, get ready for a slog, and head over to Google’s news submission site and Yahoo!’s http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/news/forms/submitsource.html.
Don’t skimp on information! Be sure to tell each site about your editors, how great you are, how long you’ve been around and any other critical info. An older article on Search Engine Roundtable is a great outline of what to do.

That’s It

Told you I’d keep today simpler. If you have questions or additional tips, please post ‘em below.

Remember, this is part of a series. Here are the other articles:

  1. Universal Search, Lesson 1
  2. Image and Video Search: How to optimize (as best you can)
  3. Product Search: The pain and agony, and why you need to suck it up.
  4. News Search: Why it’s hopeless (unless you’re a news outlet).
  5. Local Search: How to optimize.
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2 Comments

  1. Rob

    It’s worth a try. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Is any one else tired of having to work to pay for these holidays that only a select few get off.?I say scrap them. I really don’t feel like working to give someone else a day off… I say put them back to work and use that money build a new great wall along the US-Mexican border or something usefull.

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