Super Search Optimization Tips For Publishers and Journalists

July 23, 2015

In the bustling world of news there’s no time to wait. “First-to-print” has in many ways become “First online” in the 21st century.  There’s nothing worse than having a hot take on a breaking lead and getting stuck behind a digital issue.

Luckily, there are some tricks for all members of the newsroom to get their story in front of searchers online. I’ve interviewed some hardworking Super-friends from The Daily Planet, my local paper, to find out their biggest reporting challenges and explained how the latest in Google News technology can make their lives easier. Smooth!



Name: Clark Kent
Job: Beat Reporter, Daily Planet
Quote: “How can I digitally enhance my stories and still meet my deadline??”

Don’t worry, Clark. The recently released Google News Labs is a free, pro-level tool suite with lessons and widgets to help you turn your story in on time with lots of digital bells and whistles. Included features:

  • Google Earth 3D Pro for custom embedded mapping (Check out this cool example from NYT).
  • Google Trends for topical research.
  • Public Data Explorer for in-depth research.
  • YouTube for News Lessons.

Check it out, Clark! Google News Lab will continue updating with tutorials, case studies and more. Hey you look familiar….nevermind.



Name: Jimmy Olson
Job: Cub Reporter, Daily Planet
Quote: “How can I make sure my photos show up with articles on Google News & Social media??”

I’ve got just the ticket, Jimmy. A fine go-getter like yourself should be aware of how Google News ties photo thumbnails to articles. It’s actually not in the Google News sitemap (that I discuss in a minute). Google uses Open Graph and on-page markup to identify relevant story images.

If you’re using the right social plugins, you should already have Open Graph & Twitter Card data in your page headers. Check your source code to find out! Look for something like this:


Open Graph is Facebook’s preferred metadata and Twitter Card data will make your tweets look nice and rich! Look at this shiny example (and check out the dev specs too, Jimmy):”  

Check Google’s News image guidelines if you are missing images in Google News. Publications will often use media servers that add photos to a story once the page has loaded, so this is a pretty common error.


Name: Perry White
Job: Managing Editor, Daily Planet
Quote: “Why don’t our stories show up in Google News? We’re being beaten to the punch by those bums across town!”

There’s more to Google News setup than just yelling, Perry. While some of your content might already be included in Google News, the best way to ensure proper indexation of The Daily Planet’s fine reporting is to create a News Sitemap. There are some specifics here, so follow along:

  • Only include article URL’s published in the last two days
  • Make sure the file updates daily.
  • There’s a 1,000 URL limit on News Sitemaps.
  • Each URL receives the following: location, publisher, language, access level, genres, pub date, title, & keywords.



An entry will look like this: 

        The Example Times
      PressRelease, Blog
      Companies A, B in Merger Talks
      business, merger, acquisition, A, B

But wait, Perry, there’s more! You can create an Editor’s Picks feed to signify very important journalism. You can offer up 5 URLs at a time to this special feed. There’s also an on-page Standout Tag that Google News recognizes, which lets you point out exceptional work from other publications and your own. It gets added to the page header like the social data above and looks like this:




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Enjoy, Perry! This should make your days at the Editor desk a little easier knowing your news competes with the best out there. Now if you could just figure out where Clark is always disappearing to….

Have you had successes indexing news? Let me know! Our comment boxes will hold all the news that’s fit to print.