How to Create a Google News Sitemap XML for SEO

News Sitemap is an XML file prepared to convey the news that is up to date to Search Engines with news-specific features. The main ranking factors in News Search Results are the timeliness of the news, the degree of originality and richness of the content in terms of text and media, and the publisher’s popularity.

Different factors such as internal and external links, user experience, crawl efficiency, and an efficient site hierarchy are also effective in news ranking algorithms. News Sitemap is a special XML File that allows current news to be conveyed to Search Engines with different elements such as subject, author, and image within a particular site hierarchy.

If you do not have enough information about XML Sitemaps or HTML Sitemaps or Sitemap Submit, you can read our guidelines.

What is a Google News Sitemap?

Google News Sitemap is the XML Sitemap type that transmits the latest news content of a news publisher to Google Search Engine with metadata specific to news materials. Thus, by finding the latest news, Google can reach users without decreasing the importance and validity of the news.

Note The most important News Algorithm in Google Patents The ranking factor often appears to be “freshness”. This is called “Breaking News Score“.

With Google News Sitemap, Google has access to the publication date, title, description, content language, image and author of the news.

Which Websites can use a Google News Sitemap?

In order to use a Google News Sitemap, you should have a Google News Record. In this way, your content can be accessible in Google News Feed and Google Discovery more often. Without a news record, your news sitemap won’t be processed.

Guideline for Creating a Google News Sitemap

Google News Sitemap have some differences than a regular XML Sitemap. Because of these differences, there are more guideline rules for creating a news sitemap.

Things should be known about creating news sitemaps:

  • A Google News Sitemap can only contain the URLs from the last two days. Any URLs which are older than two days are considered as non-news for Google Algorithm. The older URLs will be dropped out from the News Sitemap automatically, but they can be seen in News Sitemaps’ coverage report in Google Search Console for 30 days.
  • A news publisher has to publish new content frequently. If a news sitemap isn’t being updated with the fresh content in a necessary frequency, Google may stop to crawl the news sitemap and the news sitemap’s owner web site can be devalued in the news rankings.
  • A news sitemap can only have 1,000 URLs. If there are more URLs that have news value from the last 2 days, news content publishers should create more sitemaps. These multiple news sitemaps can be unified in a single sitemap index file. A sitemap index file can only have 50.000 sitemaps inside of it. The purpose of those kinds of limits is trying not to overload the news publisher’s server. Google crawls news sites more frequently since they always publish the latest events, because of this, not overloading the server is a more important priority according to the other kind of content publishers.
  • Some news publishers create a new news sitemap for every new post. This is a mistake, every new news publishment can have a place in the valid news sitemap.
  • To generate a News Sitemap, general sitemap generators can’t be used, because those general sitemap generators will include all URLs whether they have news content or not. For creating a news sitemap, a news sitemap generator should be used.
  • After creating the news sitemap, it should be uploaded to the root directory of the web site.

What tags are being used in Google News Sitemaps?

Tags in News Sitemap are different than the general XML Sitemaps. In a normal XML Sitemap, <urlset>, <url>,<loc>, <lastmod>, <changefreq>, <priority> and more tags have a usage purpose. For a News Sitemap, these tags are a little bit different.

Tags in a News Sitemap:

  • <publication> tag defines the location of the news. It specifies where the news appears.
  • <name> tag shows the publication’s name. It has to be the same as the name appears on the address while ignores any name changes and differences between these two. <name> tag is a sub-tag of the <publication>.
  • <language> is the language of the news content. It also shows the news’ publish country and geography. It is necessary to serve the more relevant content for the users’ personalized features such as language, country, or accent. The language code should be used as an ISO 639 Language Code. <language> tag is also a sub-tag of the <publication>.
  • <genre> is a type specification for the news content. It has to be used in a comma-separated form. Since it affects the experience of the newsreader, it has to be used as honest by the news publisher. Some of the genres are “Blog, OpEd, Opinion, PressRelease, Satire, UserGenerated.”
  • <publication_date> is for specifying the publication date of the news article. It has to be in W3C format which uses the “entire data” format. Publication tag can contain the minutes, hours, or seconds in “YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ss: TZD” format. Also, a news website has to show the news article’s publication date on the web page. And the date on the web page, structure data, and the news sitemap should be consistent. Also, entering decimal points into the news sitemap’s <publication> tag is possible.
  • <title> tag is a vital element in the news sitemap. This shows the title of the news content. A title tag in the News Sitemap shouldn’t include the author names, publication name or news date, they can have an unnecessary estate in the Google News. A shorter title can have better CTR in Google Newsfeed.
  • <keywords> the keyword tag is not obligatory for Google. These keywords meant to show the context of the article. Every keyword should be separated by a comma. Google has its own keyword list for the News Sitemaps. These are “business, legal, lifestyle, politics, nation, science, sports, technology and etc.” Also, there are sub-keywords for every one of them. For instance, under the “entertainment” keyword, also “books, movies, TV or songs” can be found.
  • <stock_tickers> is another vital tag in the News Sitemap. Every stock ticker should be separated by a comma. Stock tickers can be any kind of financial entity such as currencies, financial institutions, companies, holdings, mutual fund or joint economical ventures, and international economic organizations. Every stock ticker has to match with Google Finance’s terminology and every financial entity in the news article should be included in the <stock_tickers> tag.

What are the Benefits of Google News Sitemap?

Every section in the News Sitemap has an effect on the news contents’ ranking. So using every possible metadata in the news sitemap has a benefit for the ranking purposes. If a news publisher doesn’t use the news sitemap as honest, Google may decrease the importance of the news sitemap’s reference value for the ranking and the content value of the news inside of the news sitemap.

Googlebot-news is the crawler for the news web sites and news sitemaps. Every tag in the news sitemap help the Googlebot-news to understand the news content’s category, purpose and benefits for the users. For instance an election news in the United States, “election, politics, democracy” words can be used in <keyword> tag while your publication name has a short political information about the content. Also, your description and the entities in the article helps Google to classify the content in the newsfeed.

Keywords order in the keyword tag is not an important element for Google, also every keyword and stock ticker should be separated by a comma. The comma is the only allowed separator in News Sitemap. A News Sitemap can show the relevance and purpose of the news article with its genre to Google faster. This increases the crawl efficiency and saves the crawl budget, also it supports Google to classify news according to their language, name, title, category, kind and related entities.

Last Thoughts on News Sitemap and Its Importance in SEO

News Sitemaps is one of the most important elements in the News SEO industry. Showing the articles’ publication date, title, and description along with the relevant entities and context to Googlebot in the fastest way possible is the true nature of the news SEO. Most of the SEOs in the News Industry don’t have time even for sleeping. They are basically Journalist-SEOs. For a Successful News SEO Project, organizing News Sitemap in a correlative way to the logical internal link structure and site-hierarchy and taking advantage of social media management is important. Using social media posting, internal links from Homepage and important categories along with the non-important and old but relevant articles can increase the indexing speed along with the contextual relevance of the article for a given time and topical area.

Most of the news content on the news web sites today are not indexed because of the low crawl efficiency and bad code structure. Using Semantic HTML and normal XML Sitemaps in a harmony with the News Sitemap and Content Structure also help Google to understand and choosing the news source as a reliable breaking news source.

Showing the Entity Reputation with prizes and news media events is also another topic here. To learn more about News SEO, you may read our guidelines. News SEO is a vast area to examine Google Algorithm while experimenting with it. Also, Caffeine Update is another topic that can be researched for accelerating the indexing speed and its effects on the news publishing industry as online.

As Holistic SEOs, we will improve our News Sitemap Guideline with concrete examples.

Koray Tuğberk GÜBÜR

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How to Create a Google News Sitemap XML for SEO

by Koray Tuğberk GÜBÜR time to read: 7 min