Smart businesses put a high premium on a great SEO and content-marketing strategy. Having the right keywords and links will make search engine algorithms happy, and shareable content will make consumers happy. But save for the occasional lucky "viral" break, search traffic and social media shares will only get you so far.
If your company's website regularly publishes well-written, relevant commentary and reporting on what's happening in your industry, you may want to consider applying to Google News as a way to greatly expand your organic reach.
"Becoming a trusted source of information in your community not only publicizes your brand, but also bolsters its reputation," said Nick Chowdrey, technical writer for U.K.-based online accounting firm Crunch. "The problem is that you have to [publish] a lot of really good posts for a really long time to get a decent audience. Getting onto Google News is kind of a shortcut for achieving this, because of the sheer amount of traffic it exposes you to."
However, as many businesses have learned through Google's various algorithm updates, there's no such thing as a true "shortcut" to SEO success. Appearing in Google News search results still requires a lot of investment, and many small businesses may not have the talent, time or funds to make it a reality, Chowdrey said. [5 Steps to Building a Great SEO Strategy]
"It takes a large editorial commitment to get onto Google News," he told Business News Daily. "Not only are there many content requirements, but there are also many technical ones, which means that smaller teams can be pushed to get the work done."
Applying to be listed on Google News isn't right for every business, but if you want to establish your company as a provider of high-quality, expert content in your field, it can be a great brand booster. Chowdrey offered the following tips for businesses that want to look into Google News as part of their content marketing strategy.
Meet the standards before applying. Google News has a list of technical requirements your website needs to meet before accepting it, so your design and development team need ample time to make adjustments. There's no point in rushing your application, because if it's rejected there's a six-week waiting period before you can apply again. Instead, focus on clearly setting out what changes need to be made, and making sure they're all done to standard before applying.
Set a schedule. Train your staff so that everyone knows what Google's standards are and feels confident that they can meet the requirements. Once they're trained, enforce a policy of completing several news pieces (the Crunch team produces a minimum of four) each workday, preferably first thing in the morning.
"Lots of people spend the first hour [of the workday] not doing much anyway," Chowdrey said. "You might find that having an early deadline could even improve your team's productivity."
Remember that quality really counts. Google News applications are one of the only content areas that Google checks manually, so it really is worth making sure the news content you're producing lives up to its standards. Put some effort into making your articles unique. Be sure that all quotes are correctly attributed and plagiarism is avoided at all costs.
"If at first you don't succeed, try and try again," Chowdrey said. "Google is very helpful with pointing out exactly why it rejects your application, so as long as you have the resources to meet its demands, you'll get there eventually."
For more information about Google News guidelines and submitting your company's website to Google News, visit Google's support page.
Originally published on Business News Daily