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My blog was recently accepted into Google News. Google News aims to organize the world’s news and make it accessible to people seeking useful and timely news information.

I see a few significant advantages to being included in Google News, there may well be more. One, my posts will show up in Google alerts, by email or RSS feeds, when people are monitoring words I reference. Two, people searching Google News will see my posts in the results. And three, my gut tells me having my posts in Google news buttresses my influence under Google authorship – that will influence general Google search results over time.

No question there has been a bump in my blog traffic since my inclusion in Google news. I can see the referrals from Google News when I check my stats, which is seldom.

How can you get your law blog in Google News?

Submit your blog to Google News with this submission form, BUT only if you’re in compliance with Google’s Publisher guidelines. Take the time to get in compliance. Heck, it may have taken me almost 10 years of blogging.

Lawyers and law firms should pay particular attention to the quality guidelines for Google News. Google is looking for journalistic content independent of any promotional or marketing copy.

Blogs being published primarily to garner traffic to a website are much less likely to be accepted.

Here are the Publisher Guidelines Google uses in deciding which sites get into Google News.

General guidelines

  • News content. Your blog should offer timely reporting on matters that are important or interesting to Google’s audience. Google generally does not include how-to articles or advice columns.
  • Journalistic standards. Original reporting and honest attribution are longstanding journalistic values. Aggregated content alone will not be sufficient.
  • Authority. Write what you know! The best news sites exhibit clear authority and expertise. This is the gold standard for a good law blog.
  • Accountability. Users tell Google they value news sites with author biographies and clearly accessible contact information, such as email and physical addresses, and phone numbers.
  • Readability. Clearly written articles with correct spelling and grammar make for a much better user experience. Limiting your use of distracting ads and auto-load videos also allows users to more easily focus on your article content.

Technical guidelines

  • Article URLs. To make sure Google only crawls news articles, make sure your URLs are unique with at least 3 digits, and are permanent.
  • Article Links. When Google scans your site, it looks for HTML links with anchor text that includes at least a few words. Google is unable to crawl JavaScript, graphic links or links found in frames.
  • Article formatting. Google is only able to include HTML articles. Google cannot crawl PDFs or other non-HTML formats.
  • Robots.txt or metatags. You can use special instructions to Google’s search bot to crawl and index your site.
  • Multimedia content. Google is currently unable to include audio files or multimedia content; however, Google sometimes crawls supplementary text on pages with this type of content and do include some videos from YouTube.
  • While not required, Google highly recommends submitting a Google News Sitemap through your Webmaster Tools account.

Quality guidelines

  • Stick to the news. Google News is not a marketing service. Google does not want to send users to sites created primarily for promoting a product or organization, or to sites that engage in commerce journalism. Separate news from promotional copy or Google may exclude your entire publication from Google News.
  • User-friendly. Follow basic principles of good journalism to make your website unique, valuable, and engaging. For instance, sites should load quickly and use URL redirects rarely, and avoid behavior intended to trick users.
  • Proper use of meta tags. If you choose to use Google’s meta tags, such as its keywords tag or standout tag, ensure that you are using these tags correctly.

No guarantee your blog will be accepted into Google News. God knows there must be a ton of submissions. You may seek guidance from fellow publishers in Google’s Publisher Help Forum.

Special thanks to Josh Lynch (@Joshua_Lynch), LexBlog’s product manager, for covering the technical aspects on my blog and submitting my blog to Google News and to Colin O’Keefe (@colinokeefe), LXBN editor, for his counsel on the journalistic standards needed to get in Google News.