Google news sitemaps have long been a key part of any website and, with the rise in content marketing, the lack of them is seen far too often. Having the ability to submit, directly to Google, an ever-changing and informative set of URLs allows you to stay in the limelight with Google News listings and improve the overall value of your website to viewers.
There is a specific markup required for Google News Sitemaps as they are far more informative that just a list of URLs. They allow for unique and specific information to be identified before the web page has even been seen by the search engines, such as; title, publication date and geographic target.
It’s also important to note that Google only wants to see the last 48 hours worth of information for the Google News Results, which ensures that it is current and on-topic.
Google News Sitemap Tags
So let’s get down to the basics. There are a standard set of required tags and a few that are optional, which have been explained below.
The tag details the name of the articles using two required child tags; and . It is also a required field. The name tag should be the name of the publishing website such as “Vertical Leap News” and the language should be set to the appropriate ISO 639 Language Code.
<n:publication>Vertical Leap News</n:publication> <n:language>en</n:language>
The access tag should only be used if the article is not openly available to the public, such as a paid subscription or free registration requirement, for example.
Another tag that is not a requirement but can be added where relevant is genres. It is important, however, to know what is considered a genre:
- PressRelease: As suggested, this is an official press release.
- Blog: Denotes a blog post (or in the style thereof).
- UserGenerated: Content generated by a third party or user of your website.
- Satire: These types of articles ridicule and inform.
- OpEd: Opinion based article.
- Opinion: Another opinion based tag for articles such as reviews and interviews.
The date of publication is a required field and can be listed in multiple formats based upon W3C specifications (http://www.w3.org/TR/NOTE-datetime).
This is the title of the article, which is required but should include nothing more. Author name(s) and date of publication are not required.
In some instances, for exceptionally long titles, this may be truncated automatically when displayed in Google News. This happens on titles over ~75 characters but is more specifically based on pixel space.
<n:title>This is an example of an article title</n:title>
The geo_locations tag is not a required field, but does help Google identify the right location for your news. This can be a really helpful tag to use news is published across multiple locations. Although recommended by Google, this is not a commonly used tag.
<news:geo_locations>Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK</news:geo_locations>
Not a required field but often recommended; this can be a comma separated list of keywords describing the article’s topic. Anything can be used here but Google does have a recommended list which is worth considering (<a href=”https://support.google.com/news/publisher/answer/116037″ rel=”nofollow”>https://support.google.com/news/publisher/answer/116037</a>).
<n:keywords>google news, sitemaps, xml sitemaps</n:keywords>
A non-required field that allows you to add up to five stock tickers of companies, the ticker must match those that are listed on the Google Finance website, not necessarily those that are more general noted.
<n:stock_tickers>TYO:9202, NYSE:BA, LON:TT</n:stock_tickers>
Building the Google News Sitemap
Now that we have the basic structural tags out of the way, we can look at building the Google News Sitemap. The example below is an example of what this exact article may look like based on the information that is required:
<url> <loc> http://www.verticalleap.co.uk/news/how-to-create-a-google-news-sitemap/ </loc> <n:news> <n:publication> <n:name>Vertical Leap News</n:name> <n:language>en</n:language> </n:publication> <n:publication_date>2013-07-10</n:publication_date> <n:title>How to Create a Google News Sitemap</n:title> <n:keywords>Internet, Online Marketing, Google News</n:keywords> </n:news> </url>
The End Result
Once Google has noted the update in the Google News Sitemap, the finished product would show up very similarly to the below mockup for related searches.