You there. Yes you. Want to know a secret? Ok, listen. A patent application has been unearthed from last year which appears to show some – if not all – of the ranking factors which go into Google determining what should feature in its news feeds.
Big news, right? Well, huge news, in fact, on two fronts…
Firstly, Google is notoriously secretive with its updates, always only issuing the barest of minimums when it comes to announcing exactly how it measures and ranks websites. This even stretches to the number of updates it releases, with estimates veering wildly between a few a year to around two every day, with precious few people actually knowing where in-between these two extremes the truth actually lies.
Secondly – and more importantly – it could also influence how brands use content marketing, which is already a multi-million pound business and growing fast. Getting a news feed included in Google News is no mean feat and takes a great deal of time, effort, know-how and good old fashioned pandering to the algorithm.
So what does this mean for you and me? Well, it now gives an insight from Google itself as to what brands can bear in mind when creating news content.
Whilst exact information on each subject wasn’t given, ranking was said to be based on the below factors:
- Number of articles produced over a certain time period
- Average length of articles
- Importance of topics covered
- Reach or circulation of the stories
- Number of writers associated with each feed
- Named entities appearing within the stories
- Writing style
- Originality of content
- How quick the source is able to break news
These, therefore, should be carefully considered by brands hoping to get their news feeds included into Google News and all the visibility and increased readership benefits it brings.
For all the bluster, however, all of this boils down to one, catch-all feature that can instantly determine between a successful news feed and a poor one: quality.
Each of the aforementioned bullet points covers a perfectly valid and interesting point to which brands should always ensure they’re adhering. But it all falls under the banner of quality news content, which we know is one of Google’s priorities with Google News.
It’s best practice to ensure news is modern, relevant, more than just a hundred or so words, being shared across social media and delivered in an intelligible, professional manager. Regardless of Google’s input, this should be the case if only to endear the content to the audience for which is was meant: readers. Length is one of the issues which you should be addressing with your content anyway. If your content is too short it won’t deliver a clear, informative update on what’s happening and could also cause some issues for your SEO.
In short, this announcement may be big, but to many it’s really no more than just affirmation of practices we are already using.
What do you know, it wasn’t really a secret after all.