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How Can I Better Capitalize On News?

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4 replies to this topic

#1 JeremyH


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Posted 14 May 2009 - 06:00 PM

I'm about to go public with a wiki I've been developing for a while, and one of the things I'm doing is sending out a press release. That being said, I don't want this release to be my first and last; I want to make the act second nature if I have an appropriate event or occurrence happening.

That being said, I just found out today that a certain person is doing something very noteworthy. This person is an important person in the niche I cover, and I even have a page for them, and like every wiki, connected with all of their relevant works. This person will be state and possibly national news because of what they're doing.

Very appropriately I expanded their page to address this event, but I'm wondering how I can capitalize more on this.

Two things came to mind, but I'm hoping to run a little brainstorm session to see if I can develop it further.

First, I remember reading an article about search engine rankings years ago. The article was talking about how even if you're low in the rankings you can beat even the first position by being listed in the news snippets Google puts at the top of the page for news related keywords. Does anyone know of this article, or have any amplifying information on this?

Second, is there anyway, without being seen as abusive, to somehow capitalize on this even and send out a press release, and link back or reference my website's article?

I've probably missed the boat on this particular event, but I would love to have a great plan of attack for future news worth events happening to entries on my site.

Your suggestions are greatly appreciated.

#2 Randy


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Posted 14 May 2009 - 07:25 PM

The best plan you can put into place is to have a goal of eventually getting your site to the point that it will be accepted as a Google News publisher. Which isn't easy to do, thank goodness. Once you're in Google News you won't even have to worry about press releases anymore because your articles themselves will qualify and show up in the News SERPs and the little News snippets you see at the tops of some searches.

The Google News requirements and so forth are located here for reference. Make sure to pay attention to the Technical Specifications. There's one on there that throws a lot of people. Namely that in order to have your news story URLs crawled each one of them has to be unique, has to contain at least a 3 digit number and the number cannot resemble the year format you see in a lot of blog applications. Note that you can bypass some of these (the number's requirement) if you submit your news feeds to Google via a News Sitemap.

The main thing to remember about getting accepted into Google News is that it generally doesn't happen without you asking and making a good case for why your site should be included. The only site I know of that apparently got in without asking was when Danny Sullivan started Search Engine Land, which makes sense considering all of the search engine reps know him and know his reputation for being a reliable news source in the SEO field.

So you have to make a request, perhaps more than one, and make a case that your news site deserves to be included. These requests are not part of an automated process. Real people will review them and your site before making a decision to include or not include your site.

When Google News' Daniel Meredith gave a talk about a year ago he gave four things they look for outside of the technical requirements.
  • Original Content
  • Multiple Authors
  • Proper Attribution
  • Fast Server Response

Having been through the process while helping a friend I'd add a few more to the list to improve your odds. Those are
  • Make sure your domain is really a News source and not just a blog or some place that regurgitates all of its news articles.
  • Let them know when you started, especially if you're a youngish site. Any history you can give them will help you make your case. And no they don't require you to have been in business for years to be included.
  • Give them a peek at your stats so that they have some context.
  • Provide mini-bio's of your editors and authors.
  • If your site or authors have received any awards, especially journalistic awards, include reference to those in your request.
  • Let them know what important sites link to yours. Of course this is better if you have other News sites linking to your articles. But even Digg, etc mentions can help. Something to show that others consider you a news source.
  • Include anything else that shows others consider you a news source for your niche. You don't have to carry every type of news. Niche sources do get included. But you have to be considered one of the Go To sources for your niche.
  • If your content is only available to subscribers make sure you read and follow one of the options they list in the technical specs or you'll stand no chance of getting in.
  • Be prepared to submit your request more than once, especially since it sounds like you're building from the ground up.

The way to get start on all of this is basically to start a promotion campaign. Press Releases can help. Getting stuff picked up by Digg, Stumbleupon, etc can help. Making use of social media like Twitter can help. Getting bloggers who write about you niche mentioning and linking to your news articles can help. It'll take a little time. But if your site is truly a worthy news source you'll get accepted eventually. When you do get listed you'll want to try to make sure your articles get listed in the top 10 organic SERPs for their keyword phrases. Because when they do you then get the extra benefit of being part of Google New Alerts. Which can translate into a lot of free advertising and a ton of traffic every time you release a pertinent article.

There's a lot more information out there. Lots of folks who have gone through the process have written about their experiences and the things they had to do to qualify. I can tell you when my buddy started his site it took right at a year before he was finally accepted. And three requests for inclusion. There were a couple of technical issues (years in the URLs mainly) but mostly it was just building up the reputation of his niche news site. Now that he's there it's not at all unusual for him to publish an article and see a spike of 10,000 or 15,000 visits the day it goes live and about as much for each of the following several days.

#3 JeremyH


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Posted 14 May 2009 - 08:53 PM

Thank you Randy for your very in-depth reply.

You've provided a great reference, but I feel bad because I don't know how well it would apply to me.

I don't run a news website but a wiki. My pages are peer-edited by a number of authors over a long period of time.

What I'm trying to do is to capitalize on the news that is happening, not reporting on it.

Let's say I have a Movie Wiki, with articles on different movies, movie stars, directors, studios and more. Because of the content, of course I'm going to have an article on the movie star Brad Pitt. But lets say he just announced he'll be running for Governor of California. Of course I'll want to edit his page to add that information, but what else can I do to benefit from the resulting surge in interest on this person?

It was several years ago the article I mentioned above, about getting regular pages into the search result snippets on Google search, but it seems like from what you're saying, an article like mine wouldn't be able to get listed.

What other things might I be able to do to ride this wave?

#4 Randy


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Posted 15 May 2009 - 06:39 AM

It was several years ago the article I mentioned above, about getting regular pages into the search result snippets on Google search, but it seems like from what you're saying, an article like mine wouldn't be able to get listed.

It can still be done, but those aren't part of the actual News. Typically those are more along the lines of blogs or some other similar CMS that utilizes an RSS Feed and sends out a ping when an update occurs. Jill made the comment another day in another thread about how good Google is getting about timely spidering of Wordpress blogs when a new post is made. I've noticed this too, and like her can only attribute it to the fact that the blog platform sends out a ping.

In a sense it's kind of a newsy thing, but those aren't actually a part of Google News. They just get spidered quickly, often within an hour of a new post or an edit being made, and an RSS ping sent out.

So using this you'll simply want to make sure your wiki platform automatically sends out a ping when an article gets created or updated. For the type of Breaking News scenario you may want to look at how the page gets structured too, making sure these Breaking News items get an early mention in the page, possibly even in some sort of highlighted content box. That would be good for both users and the search engines if you treated those a bit differently.

If it's at all possible I'd still try to shoot for the ultimate goal of getting your information resource listed as a verified News publisher with Google. The main difference there being that you're effectively short cutting the discovery process if you can get it accepted. Because instead of relying on Google picking up a ping from feedburner or wherever, you can feed a new item directly to them via a News Sitemap. You've already got the main stumbling block most bump up against covered, this the Multiple Authors requirement. So the rest is really making sure you satisfy the technical requirements and ask for inclusion.

Many, many multi-author blogs and wikis get included in the News listings. Even places like SEORoundTable have been accepted as News sources, though few would think of them as a newspaper or the authors as reporters. And as long as the search triggers a News block in a normal Google search you get the bonus of getting one of those first three listings once you're a verified publisher. Which of course leads to better exposure and more clicks.

#5 JeremyH


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Posted 16 May 2009 - 03:39 PM

What a great reply, thanks. Getting listed in the news section is a great goal.

At first I was thinking, that being a wiki, sure I have articles dealing with content in the media, but I also have articles on my site that definitely are not ground breaking. With my example, an article on the VHS format really shouldn’t be put forth for consideration for a new article, even if it was just updated. My work around, to put news articles in a special “In the media” category. If placed in the category, I’ll write a special script to make a sitemap of just those articles, and to ping the search engines with.

That allows me to have on my wiki all my content, but to treat breaking articles a little bit differently.

A great goal, thanks.

Besides working the news listings angel, is there anything else I can strive working towards? Anything I can have in my tool belt sooner?


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