How to add your blog to Google news and showcase your articles to a huge readership? There are several technical requirements which need to be met, and a news sitemap can help you get accepted.
Add to Google News
I tried several times to get our blog accepted into Google news, but our blog always failed to meet the technical requirement of Google news which requires bloggers to display a three-digit number in the url, which requires that each article URL must contain a unique number consisting of at least three digits – like www.google.com/news/article234.html.
Obviously most blogs cannot meet this technical requirement and it was not practical (and risky) to change our entire site permalink structure to meet this criteria. But recently I noticed the requirements page was edited to include “this rule is waived with News sitemaps.” Now blogs do have a chance.
Create a News Sitemap
So now we could meet this technical requirement without changing the permalink structure. But when I checked the News sitemap requirements, it seemed really difficult to generate a news sitemap.
Some of the news sitemap requirements were –
- only submit URLs on sites already verified in Google Webmaster Tools.
- Don’t include session IDs in URLs.
- Encoded for readability by the web server where it’s located.
- Contain URLs for all articles published in the last three days.
- A News sitemap can contain no more than 1000 URLs.
- Needs article publication date in W3C format, including a timestamp.
Google News Sitemap Generator
We browsed around for an easy way to create a News Sitemap and found the Google News Sitemap Generator wordpress plugin which automatically generates a Google News XML sitemap for submission online via Webmaster Tools. It follows Google guidelines and has a 1000 item limit and only includes posts from the last 3 days. Keywords for news sitemap are generated from post category and post tags.
Simply activate it, and it will generate a news sitemap for you in your root folder. Double check the sitemap link and easily suggest your site to Google news without supporting the 3 number rule.