How to Create a Google News Sitemap

Last updated on May 02, 2024

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How to Create a Google News Sitemap

Google News is one of the most popular sources of information for millions of people around the world. As a news publisher, you must make sure that you are following the right practices to improve your news website’s discoverability. 

Google navigates the web through an automated process called crawling, where it systematically follows links from one webpage to another, indexing content along the way. In this process, website owners can aid Google's efforts by providing a sitemap—a structured file that outlines the organization of their site's content, facilitating efficient crawling and indexing.

As a news website, even if you have already submitted a sitemap for your website, it is recommended to submit a ‘news sitemap’ to Google. A news sitemap ensures that the crawler easily finds the URL for each news article and lets you control which content you submit to Google News. 

But why should you submit a news sitemap if you’ve already submitted a sitemap? 

A Google News sitemap offers some additional features as compared to a regular sitemap, take a look-

Aspect

Regular Sitemap

Google News Sitemap

Content Focus

Covers all pages on a website

Specifically targets news articles and time-sensitive content

Structured Data

Focuses on URLs and metadata

Incorporates structured data markup for news articles, including publication date and genre

Indexing Priority

Helps search engines understand website structure

Prioritizes news content for inclusion in Google News search results

Time Sensitivity

Doesn't prioritize recency of content

Emphasizes recent news articles for faster indexing

Submission Process

Submitted to search engines for general website indexing

Submitted specifically to Google News for inclusion in news search results

Compliance Requirements

No specific quality guidelines

Requires adherence to Google News quality guidelines for news content

Content Types

Covers various types of content (pages, posts, products, etc.)

Focuses exclusively on news articles and updates



What is Google News Sitemap?

A Google News sitemap is a specialized XML file that webmasters create and submit to Google to help the search engine discover and index news articles more efficiently. It's designed specifically for websites that produce news content and want to ensure that their articles are promptly included in Google News search results. It also ensures faster indexing and better visibility on Google news.

Here are the Google News sitemap best practices, apart from the general sitemap best practices-

  1. Instead of creating a fresh sitemap with each update, update your existing news sitemap whenever you publish a fresh article. 
  2. Only include recent URLs for articles that were created in the last two days.
  3. Remove the <news:news> metadata in your sitemap from the older URLs.

How to Create a Google News Sitemap?

To submit a news sitemap, Webmasters can create the sitemap file according to Google's specifications and then submit it through Google Search Console to notify Google about the existence and updates of their news content.

Google News sitemaps require specific tags to ensure proper indexing and categorization of news articles. Here are the required tags for a Google News sitemap:

Tag

Description

<url>

Encloses each URL entry in the sitemap.

<loc>

Specifies the URL of the news article.

<news:news>

Indicates the beginning of the news article metadata.

<news:publication>

Contains information about the news publication.

<news:name>

Name of the news publication.

<news:language>

Language of the news publication (ISO 639-1 language code).

<news:publication_date>

Specifies the publication date and time of the news article in ISO 8601 format.

<news:title>

Title of the news article.

<news:keywords>

Keywords relevant to the news article.

<news:genres>

Specifies the genre of the news article (e.g., press release, blog, opinion).

<news:access>

Indicates whether the news article is subscription-based or freely accessible.

<news:copyright>

Copyright information for the news article.

Creating Google News Sitemap using a Plugin

1) Yoast SEO

yoastA plugin like Yoast helps you do more advanced SEO on your news website. To add a Google News sitemap using the Yoast SEO plugin, follow these steps:

  1. Install and Activate Yoast SEO Plugin
  2. Ensure that the "XML News Sitemaps" toggle switch is turned on. If not, toggle it to enable the feature.
  3. Configure News Sitemap Settings such as selecting post types to include, setting the maximum number of days to include articles, etc.
  4. Yoast SEO will automatically generate the news sitemap XML file.
  5. Go to Google News Publisher Center. Paste the URL of your news sitemap into the Sitemap section and click "Submit."

Once verified, Google will start crawling and indexing your news articles from the sitemap.

2) AISEO

AISEOAISEO is an AI-powered writing assistant that helps content creators, marketers, and entrepreneurs generate SEO-optimized content. Here’s how it works-

  1. Go to AIOSEO > Sitemaps > News Sitemap.
  2. Enable the "Enable Sitemap" toggle.
  3. Choose the content types for your news sitemap. Only posts that are news articles should be included here (default: Posts).
  4. Enter your publication name exactly as it appears on Google News. Leaving it blank will take the Site Title.
  5. AIOSEO generates the sitemap - submit it to Google Search Console later.

Avoid these Mistakes for Google News Sitemap

The sitemap report consists of a lot of errors. However, the most popular mistakes include-

  1. Including inaccessible URLs: Don't list URLs in your sitemap that return errors (404 Not Found, etc.) This wastes Google's crawl budget and can hurt your SEO.
  2. Submitting a giant sitemap: While there's no strict limit, very large sitemaps can take longer for Google to process. Consider splitting your sitemap into smaller files for faster crawling.
  3. Incorrect URLs: Double-check that all URLs listed in your sitemap are spelled correctly and point to the intended pages on your website.
  4. Missing important URLs: Make sure your sitemap includes all the important pages you want Google to find and index. Don't accidentally exclude relevant content.
  5. Not updating your sitemap: If you add new pages or remove old ones, update your sitemap accordingly to reflect your website's current structure.

In conclusion, implementing a Google News sitemap is crucial for websites that regularly produce news content, as it enhances the visibility and indexing of articles in Google News search results. Plugins such as Yoast or AISEO can help webmasters effortlessly generate and customize their news sitemaps, ensuring that their timely and relevant news articles receive the attention they deserve. 

With easy submission to Google News Publisher Center, websites can further optimize their presence in the digital news landscape. By adhering to Google's quality guidelines and regularly updating their sitemap settings, publishers can maximize their reach and impact in the ever-evolving world of online news.

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Punya Batra
Punya Batra
Punya is a full-time content marketer and a part-time blogger who loves to explore the unique stories behind brands. She pens down short stories, poems, and one-liners in her free time. Her dream is to publish her thoughts as a book someday.

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