Google News is building new ways to highlight great content, such as the <standout> tag announced this weekend, so now is a good time to rethink how to optimize content for the popular news aggregator. A new study produced by Local SEO Guide, PerfectMarket and newsknife has shed some light on the factors that determine rankings on Google News. Among the top 10 factors under publishers’ control are keywords in headlines and page titles, strong domain authority, social sharing of articles, and being first to publish.
Citation by other sources is also a key factor, as is the uniqueness of the text. Google closely guards its algorithms, so the study asked the SEOs for some of the world’s top news sites – including NYTimes, CNN, Huffington Post and more – about their strategies and compared their answers. The consensus seems to be that authority matters most. “I think the algo[rithm] is far simpler than search,” says Christopher Angus of Warlock Media. “If you have a unique article, it will rank. If you’re competing for stories, the major news publishers will dominate.”