Google News

Google News is a specialized search which was introduced in 2002 by Google Inc. with which you can search the web for news. What is considered news is automatically determined by special algorithms. As part of the universal search, news search results for search queries on current issues are integrated into the organic SERP results. Google News is now implemented for more than 40 countries in the world as part of the Google search engine. A similar service that searches specifically for blogs, is the Google Blog Search.

How Google News works[edit]

Although the name suggests it, the news provided by Google News did not get created by Google itself but they are aggregated from a large number of online sources. The News-Index is updated in intervals of 10 minutes, so that the most recent entries to a news relevant topic always appear as snippets. The link refers directly to the corresponding news source. The selection of news items is handled by a separate news algorithm that has been in existence since 2001. If a website wants to be listed on the Google News index, they have to be registered for that purpose with Google.

Results from Google News can be compiled in different ways. Firstly, the portal offers the possibility to generate current reports based on predefined topics. Moreover, Google News results can also be personalized if users have logged onto the search with their Google account. Google News can also be subscribed to via RSS feeds or Atom feeds. Alternately, Google News can send personalized news on selected topics or keywords by mail at specified intervals as Google Alerts.

Criticism of Google News[edit]

Google News has developed into a major information portal in recent years. Many classic newspapers or news agencies criticized from the start that Google violated copyrights and avoided licenses when aggregating its news. Various legal actions by Agence France-Presse (AFP) as well as other press agencies in 2005 finally bore fruit, with Google now paying royalties to many publishers and agencies for the publication of images or text extracts.

A copyright dispute between Google and Belgian publishers in Belgium peaked in 2011. The result was that the search engine removed snippets and links to Francophone and German language newspapers from Belgium from the index.


To date, Google News is still under fire, especially by traditional publishers, because many publishers are of the opinion that Google with its news aggregator not only disregards copyrights, but also dissuades users to actually visit the source of the report because of small and informative snippets. Thus, many newspapers would lose important advertising revenue due to less visitors. The search engine provider countered this with the fact that most news-relevant items of publishers would not have found such widespread attention without Google News.

Another criticism of Google News is that the aggregation of news articles is compiled solely based on automated algorithms and sources are thus no longer checked manually for topic relevance or quality.

What Google interprets as news[edit]

Google has not disclosed the algorithms for its news compilation. For this reason, many statements about Google News are based only on tests or assumptions and observations. In the SEO scene, however, there is wide consensus that:

  • an issue becomes a news topic when various registered news sites report on it. Thus, the content of the Google News index depends on what online editors write.
  • Google generates topics automatically.
  • Separate rankings exists within a subject area.
  • The QDF (Query Deserves Freshness) algorithm controls the inclusion of news.

Google News Archive[edit]

In the US, Google News has been extended by its own archive function in 2006. Two large publishers, the New York Times and the Washington Post, opened their archives to Google for this purpose. Other news reports can now also be accessed through an archive.

Google News as part of Universal Search[edit]

Google News are also integrated into Google’s universal search. When a search query concerns a current topic, results will be displayed above the SERP within its own OneBox. A decisive factor as to whether or not the news in question stay in the organic SERPs is probably the number of clicks received. If the click rate remains at a consistently high level, the news OneBox on that subject will remain in the result pages. However, all statements with regard to this are currently only based on tests and conjectures and not on explicit statements by Google.

Requirements for indexing as a publisher of Google News[edit]

If you want your site to be indexed as part of Google News, you have to register as such through the GWT. Your own news sitemap will be entered there, through which all current news reports will be passed directly to Google. Regardless of whether a news sitemap is established, special crawlers will visit a registered site.

Other important requirements are,

  • that more than 3 authors are responsible for the news reports.
  • that the source code of the news site is clean and orderly.
  • that the news sitemap is always kept up to date and errors are resolved immediately.

Optimization of text content for Google News[edit]

There are various approaches with regard to the optimization of news articles. Generally, we can assume that it is important that a keyword used in the news report is also used by other news sites on the same topic. Additionally, the keyword in question should also be present in the text or body. Unlike in traditional SEO, the length of a piece of news is of lesser importance in terms of their prominent position. Instead, images are given a more important role in a news release, since images from small result pages are often displayed in the News snippets.

Furthermore, it is assumed that a good ranking of a news reports depends on external trust links within the text as well as an exact date or time specification at the beginning of the article. Moreover, SEO experts believe that link popularity and trust of a news website affect the ranking of a new news article.

Google News and SEO[edit]

To establish a web project as a news site at Google, you will need to expend some additional effort, because in terms of content optimization there are apparently stricter rules for Google News than for organic search SEO. It can also be assumed that the trust of a site has even more weight than is the case with conventional link relationships. However, if you work with current content you should strive to be at the top with current topics in the news ranking in order to get the most traffic. By integrating news results in the context of the universal search there are more chances to get more clicks.