Newsletter: SEO for Google News

I'm trying something new: an irregular email newsletter where I share tips on SEO for news publishers

I’ve been neglecting this blog for a few months, which has been entirely unintentional. With the COVID-19 pandemic, our lives have all drastically changed and priorities have shifted. Blogging couldn’t have been further from my mind.

But now things have settled into a new routine, and my creative itches have once again emerged. The problem was, I didn’t know what I should blog about.

So recently I put out a feeler on Twitter to ask my followers what I should write about, and one reply in particular stood out:

Ross Simmonds reply on Twitter

I thought that was an excellent suggestion and it really got me thinking. I’ve been crazy busy with work these past few months (I’m counting my blessings, I realise not everyone has been as lucky), and most of those projects have been for publishers.

SEO for news is an area I’ve been fortunate enough to build a speciality in; first through a full-time job working for the Belfast Telegraph back in 2010, and then since I started my own consultancy business through a series of SEO consulting projects with major publishing organisations like News UK, FOX, Future Publishing,, and many more.

While I work with all sorts of companies, the publishing industry is the one I enjoy working with the most. So, as a speciality in SEO, news publishing is something I want to double down on.

SEO for news publishers is an area I’m deeply excited about. While it shares the same foundational SEO best practices with every other niche, there are some areas of SEO that are unique to publishers. The news-specific elements of Google’s ecosystem are quite different from their regular search results, and this requires a different approach to optimisation.

The SEO blogosphere is cluttered, with hundreds of websites regularly writing about all areas of SEO. Except when it comes to Google News. This is a speciality in SEO that is massively under-serviced in terms of content.

There are a handful of good pieces out there, but these tend to focus on the very basics only – for example, on how to get a website into Google News – and there’s very little (if any) content out there that discusses some of the more advances concepts and challenges that news publishers face when it comes to maximising their search traffic.

Which is odd, because SEO is so incredibly valuable for publishers. For most news websites, Google is by far the largest driver of traffic – primarily through Top Stories carousels, but increasingly also via Google Discover. data on traffic sources for publishers

This lack of useful and up-to-date information about SEO for publishers is hindering the media landscape. Publishers are struggling to attract readers and are missing opportunities to claim visibility in Google. This something I want to help change.

Over the years I’ve learned a lot about how publishers can use SEO to boost their traffic. I’ve worked with development and product teams to improve websites for better crawling & indexing of news content, I’ve trained journalists and editors to optimise their content for improved visibility, and I’ve consulted on a range of projects aimed at integrating SEO practices into newsroom workflows. And I have learned new things from each and every project, and continue to learn every day.

It’s time I started sharing this knowledge.

But rather than just blog an occasional article and hope it reaches the people who might be able to use it, I’ve decided to take a different approach. The firehose of the SEO blogosphere is not conducive to publishing meaningful content on such a relatively narrow niche.

So I’m going to be doing this via a newsletter. Inspired by great email newsletters from people like Aleyda Solis and Louis Grenier, I want to try and build a community around an email newsletter specifically about Google News.

I’ve chosen the Substack platform for this, as it has all the bells & whistles I could possibly need – and it takes very little effort for me to set up and manage, so I can focus on the actual content.

The first few topics I have in mind are around things like technical optimisation for articles, best practices for syndicated content, and integrating SEO into newsroom workflows. As time goes on I’ll try to cover as many different areas as possible, all around the overarching topic of maximising traffic to news publishers from various search sources.

If this sounds interesting for you and want to read this content, you can sign up using the form below or directly on

The first issue was sent out on 18 November, and I hope many more will follow. If you sign up, I promise I will only use your email address to send you this newsletter – it will never be shared with anyone else in any capacity.

Let me know what you think of this newsletter experiment in the comments below. Is it something you’ll sign up for? If not, why? Any and all feedback is welcome.

News SEO


  1. Barry, Amazing read.

    Do you have any suggestions on getting support from the Google News team? Reaching out via the standard channels and forum is really useless.

    We have been live in Google news for over a year. We often rank top on the news tab. But never shown on top stories for the same term. On the top stories section it shows publishers who have a lower rank than us in the news section. Any ideas?

    Reply »

  2. Hi Barry, I have already set up the publisher account but my news articles are not surfacing on google news and also the featured image is not showing up, only the second image that I have inserted is showing which makes it necessary to have the second image in a news article which I don’t need! Please suggest something! I am using WordPress.


    Reply »

    1. Hi Raj, being verified in Publisher Center is entirely separate from Google News. Publisher Center has no impact on your Google News visibility and does not improve your chances of being accepted into Google News.

      Re: your featured image, make sure your image is at least 1200px wide and has an aspect ratio of 16×9, 4×3, or 1×1. It needs to be referred in the NewsArticle structured data on your article pages, and ideally you should also have the max-image-preview:large meta robots tag on your articles.

      Reply »

  3. I had already signed up. Looking forward to getting the newsletter in my inbox. So far, I know nothing about news SEO. Learning it from you Berry, makes me very happy.

    Reply »

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