How Publishers Can Leverage Recent Google News Updates for Audience Growth
Google announced the redesign of Google News at Google I/O in May of this year. The main changes include embedding its AI-powered technology that encourages news personalization for all types of search results, and, the amalgamation of Google Newsstand, Google News and Google Weather into a single destination across all devices.
As reported on their blog update this will do three things for users: keep up to date on news topics they care about, understand the full story with full context, and show support for news publishers they like.
Some of these changes present new opportunities for publishers to use Google News to grow audience.
Google News’ Key New Features
To start off, users can access a timeline feed of the latest news on the homepage of the app as events unfold.
For an overview of the top stories of the day, users can access the headline section and sort by preferred topic. Users can then access the favorite tab to show unique stories based on topic preference and stories taking place nearby with local stories. Meanwhile, readers can support their favorite publisher by subscribing as a paid customer in the Newsstand tab of the app. Finally, when reading the full coverage a user can read a story using the newscast format - which is a visual experience of showing the chronological context of the story from various sources including video (YouTube), local news reports, FAQs and social commentary.
Adjust your Google News Strategy Moving Forward
Since the redesign rollout, NewsDashboard notes that there hasn’t been any significant change in rankings amongst the top news publishers, but rather a drop in visibility due to the increasing number of publishers included in Google News. On the other hand, as shown below, YouTube has seen an increase.
So far, there appears to be favorability towards YouTube videos. But as Google’s AI gets smarter with the increased consumption of the new app, there will be a stronger weighting towards how news publishers maximize the new newscast format. So how do you adjust your Google News strategy moving forward? The answer is creating a 360-degree storytelling experience.
For several years mobile and voice search have been hailed as the search platforms of the future and now that it’s mainstream, it will take over traditional content search and discovery experiences in as soon as a few years.
A mobile and voice-search approach in building and optimizing your news content will allow news publishers to look at a 360-degree storytelling experience as it includes conversational search focused content, technical SEO enhancements, and UX/UI layout that will favor Google News’ new layout.
Key considerations in mobile and voice search include page speed, HTTPS (a secure website), content length, the inclusion of short concise answers, social content, your sites domain authority, desktop rankings, and appearing in featured snippets.
Have a look through this awesome presentation by Benu Aggarwal and you can see how her seven-step process of optimizing for mobile and voice search (Slide 3) factors all the content elements, which can feed into Google News’s new design update and how you can regularly update your FAQ content as a news story develops.
As you start working on optimizing your news content for the 360 storytelling experience, make sure you compare the search engine results page or use a ranking tool to compare the non-personalized and personalized ranking results for the stories you want to rank for. Once you determine the type of content that is favored in your niche, continually test and refine your metadata and short answers to provide the best user experience as possible for the news reader.
Vahe Arabian is the Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing, a publication and community here to help industry members grow their audiences and forge successful media models together as peers.