If you are aiming to rank in Google News but doing exactly the same thing you do in your ordinary websites then you are likely wasting your effort in link building. The reason for this is that for Google News there’s a different emphasis on the importance of factors.
One of the most significant difference in the ranking factors between Google News and Google Web is that pagerank is not as important in Google News. The reason for this is that due to the nature of news stories what is most important is of course the freshness and relevance of the content.
In Google News the robots crawl and find news articles in a matter of minutes and then comeback to check for updates approximately 12 hours later. What this means is that the number of back links is rightfully not deemed to be that important since there will be very few, if any, back links generated within that timeframe.
So what are the things you can do for your news articles to rank well in Google News?
1. Pick a story that you know is of interest to a wide audience. The reason for this is that Google News ranks news articles in two ways. First is the story ranking wherein they group together stories and figure out which stories are of greater interest. Obviously bigger stories will rank better than small stories (even if written and optimized well) since the articles belonging to the “big story cluster” will, along with the other articles on that cluster appear on the top of the Google News page. Second ranking method used is individual ranking of articles within each cluster. Note that bigger stories will mean more competition for the top spot in that story cluster. This is where the other ranking factors will kick in.
2. Make sure you pay attention to the top four factors Google News consider to be important.
a. Freshness – Articles should be recent, substantial, original and focused on the topic. According to Google opinions, editorials,satire, press-releases and subscription s are not eligible to lead clusters so stay away from these type of articles(unless it’s is what you really do).
b. Citations – Get other news sites to cite your article. To get cited what you really need to do is be among the first to report breaking news. So be fast to publish stories. Remember though, links/citations matter but there’s no need to horde a huge number of links for Google News.
c. Local/personal relevancy – Local sources are given more credit/weight since their stories are more likely to be accurate (first-hand information is better than second-hand info) and published first (since other news sites will hear the news after they they’ve already published the story).
d. Trusted sources – No need to worry about having to be CNN in order to be considered a “trusted source” because Google news considers trusted sources for each edition and section. What that means is that while TMZ will not be a trusted source for business news it will definitely be a trusted source for entertainment news (gossip) and while WallStreetJournal may be a trusted source for business news in the US it will not weigh as much for the business news section in New Delhi, India. So what you need to do is become a trusted source in your niche, whether it be a topical news site or local news site.
Source: News Search SEO Video by Maile Ohye, Google Developer Programs Tech Lead