Reconsideration Requests
Show Video

Google+ Hangouts - Office Hours - 25 March 2015

Direct link to this YouTube Video »

Key Questions Below

All questions have Show Video links that will fast forward to the appropriate place in the video.
Transcript Of The Office Hours Hangout
Click on any line of text to go to that point in the video

STACIE CHAN: The third now Hangout with Google News and the Webmaster team-- always thank the team for letting Google News be a guest speaker. We think there's a lot of valuable information that crosses both products. So we just want to share this with as many webmasters and publishers as possible. John could you go ahead and present this slide that I've got prepared?

JOHN MUELLER: Sure. Just let me find the right screen.

STACIE CHAN: And for those who actually were able to join us in the February Hangout, that was really focused on the new Google News Publisher Center tool. And so I highly recommend if you haven't had a chance to watch that one, please go ahead and review that because the new Publisher Center is one of the most important, if not the most important, tool for publishers to engage with Google News now. It's really the one-stop shop for publishers to do everything in regards to Google News, from managing and editing their information as it appears in Google News to implementing new features to better distribute and optimize your content in Google News. Next slide, please. So that was just a recap of the Publisher Center. These are the rest of the topics that I'll be covering briefly today. And then obviously after all the topics are covered, we'll have plenty of time for Q&A. And I'll do my best to answer all of your questions. But a brief rundown-- I wanted to revisit the three-digit rule that Google News has. I'll go over that. Google News Sitemaps is another way we can crawl and index your content. What errors mean if you find that you have errors on your site map. How you can use keywords in your HTML to better signal what your articles are about to Google News. If you do get crawl errors on individual articles, what exactly do they mean and how you can potentially fix them. And how to get more accurate article dates and article titles. So a very packed presentation-- I'll try to speed through these so that we can get through to Q&A as well. Next slide, please. And like I had mentioned, this was the Google News Publisher Center that I had referenced at the beginning of this Hangout. For all webmasters, put this high on your to-do list. Check out the Google News Publisher Center. It's really the one-stop shop tool to do everything in Google News now. It's how we're processing inclusions-- how you apply to Google News. It's where you can submit your Editor's Picks feed. Everything is going to start living in this Publisher Center. So that's the link there that you see on the screen and the Hangout presentation that I did with the Webmaster team back in February. So that's the YouTube video where you can rewatch it again after this one or during your lunch break or whatever time you have. Next slide, please. So this is a unique rule, I'll say, that Google News has in order for the Google News bot to crawl your articles. It's a really great measure for us to detect what is a news article and what is spam. It's a very general rule, but it tends to work for us in that article URLs must have a unique string of at least three digits. So I have listed some bad examples and some good examples. So that second one is a good example because two, three, four is a unique string of three digits. The exception is if you've got four digits and it leads off with 199 or 200, as you can see, those typically reflect a year. However, now that we've got into the 2010 and beyond years, 201 actually works for your article URLs. All this is said always with an exception. If you decide that your CMS doesn't spit out these random three digits, that's fine as well. You can always submit a Google News Sitemap. You submit that through your webmaster account. And then you don't have to abide by Google News's three-digit rule. And I've included a Help Center link that further explains this rule and what you can do, whether it's creating a Google News Sitemap or other suggestions to bypass this. And that'll be the format of all the slides in this presentation. I'll go over each of the topics. And then I try to include a corresponding Help Center link so you can follow up and do a little bit of research if anything I said wasn't clear or you had follow-up questions. Next slide, please. And so I did touch on the Google News Sitemap-- I referenced that. And to create one, you would just use the same formatting as a regular sitemap. This one just has a few-- it just has a little difference in the [INAUDIBLE]. So Google News Sitemaps are not only helpful if you wanted to bypass that three-digit rule that I had mentioned, but it's really great-- I am just going to mute someone because I hear an echo. Ah, OK. [INAUDIBLE] Thanks. Google News Sitemaps are also helpful for the bot to more quickly find your news articles. When you have a Sitemap, you're explicitly telling the Google News bot here is my list of news articles rather than the Google News bot looking through your news section pages and then trying to extract what it thinks are your news articles. It improves the coverage of what your news articles are and what your non-news articles aren't. So you're telling the Google News bot these are my news articles, but don't crawl this other stuff. So Google News Sitemaps really helps in improving that coverage. And then, finally, the News Sitemap helps us correctly extract and display your article's titles, the date-- all that information that you want us to know rather than sometimes leaving it up to the bot to guess what your title may be or actually what time stamp you want us to be showing. The natural follow-up question we get a lot from publishers is, well, does it help if I submit a News Sitemap? Or will I increase in ranking? There's absolutely no right or wrong way. We don't favor any sites that do submit a News Sitemap. There are added benefits that I listed up above on this slide. But it won't help in things like ranking because the Google News bot will still crawl your articles from your news sections and your homepage as well. And there's that Help Center link if you have any follow-up questions or you want to get more information. Next slide, please. So when you submit your Google News Sitemap to your Webmaster Tools account, you can see whether or not the Sitemap has errors and also warnings. I'll go over some example errors. But it's good to check up periodically on this. I believe you'll get a notification in the top of your Webmaster Tools account saying like, oh, there's an error. If you see this, I would address the error ASAP. You should save your Sitemap and then resubmit it, because if you don't resubmit your Sitemap, these errors will persist till the end of time. I don't know if it's that long. But it'll remain there for a while. And a lot of questions we get from news publishers is how can I fix this error? And we'll try to troubleshoot. And we'll realize that this error is actually months old. You just had to resubmit your Sitemap to clear it. So hopefully that will quell some concerns from news publishers, which we get quite frequently in how to resolve these errors when really all you have to do is resubmit your Sitemap. And, additionally, just because there is an error on your Sitemap, please keep in mind that we are crawling your articles naturally from your news sections as well. So even if there's an error that you see on your Sitemap, it doesn't mean that we aren't crawling your articles. We're just defaulting back to using your news sections to find those. Next slide, please. And this is a screenshot. I keep talking about when you see errors. The way you do that is you log into your Webmaster Tools account. In that left-hand side, scroll down to Crawl. Expand that. Click on Sitemaps. And you have to click over to that News tab. And then next slide, please. Then you'll generally see a list of errors. I couldn't find a quick example. But there's a variety of them. Here are some of the most common ones that publishers see. You'll get sometimes an unknown news site error. This is often because you're hosting your Sitemap on or something like that. But the domain in our database-- the domain in the Publisher Center-- doesn't have the www. So that mismatch will actually cause that unknown news site error. A second very common error is the unresolved news source. So this happens when-- all of the URLs-- whether it's your Sitemap URL and your article URLs-- must match. They all must be consistent. They have to have that leading www if that's what it has in your Publisher Center. So everything needs to be consistent. If there's even one article URL in your Sitemap that isn't consistent, you're going to generate this unresolved news source error for your entire Sitemap. So I would just check all the article URLs and try to find the one that's inconsistent with all the other ones. And then, finally, unexpected publication name-- so when you're listing the name of your site in your Sitemap, it has to match what we've got in the Publisher Center. And the great news is now that we have the Google News Publisher Center, you can log in and double check exactly what the name is, where previously, before the Publisher Center, you had to write into my team. We had to double check for you. And then we had to resolve it whether it would be you changing the name in your Sitemap or us changing the name in the Publisher Center. Now, this is something that is entirely within your control. And you can resolve these errors on your own now. And I mentioned the same with language. For some reason, sometimes a different language is listed in your Sitemap. If it's in English, you need to match that-- you need to match English in your Sitemap with the language that's listed in the Publisher Center. So if you've got Spanish listed in your Publisher Center, you're going to generate that error as well. Next slide, please. So another type of error you can get is at the article level. And this is often why we're not crawling specific articles. It's one of the most common questions we get emailed in to us from publishers is why was this article not crawled. Generally, we found a technical reason that the article wasn't crawled. And we'll actually tell you what that error is if you just log into your Webmaster Tools account. Next slide, please. You can similarly expand that Crawl tab in the left-hand side. Click on Crawl Errors. Then you'll click on News. Next slide please. And then you'll see all the article URLs that have generated errors. And there is a decent-sized list of them. The errors can range from article too long, article too short, article fragmented. And all of the errors have a much more expansive definition than just article too long. We'll provide quite a few possibilities for why your article is generating this error, and then a list of potential suggestions to fix it. And I would say as a general best practice, you try to resolve this error as soon as possible because in Google News, the bot will actually revisit your article periodically-- I would say throughout the day-- the first day that you publish your article. So there is a chance that even though your article generated an error, we can still revisit it and then index it into Google News. OK, next slide, please. And this is the Help Center page with the list of all of the article errors and then all the suggestions for how to potentially fix them. So definitely bookmark this page. And every time you see an article error, you can just go and look through all the suggestions for how to fix this. OK, next slide, please. News keywords-- I included this in the presentation because in the Hangout in February, someone had asked about this. And I wanted a little bit of clarification. So the best place to actually put your keywords are in your header. So you would use metatags to highlight whether your article is about the World Cup, or sports, or the 2016 elections. You get the idea. And the general best practice is I think we suggest no more than 12 keywords once you start stuffing that many. You can only classify an article in so many sections in keywords. So we recommend no more than 12. And these keywords are really helpful if you decide to have greater freedom with your headlines-- greater creativity in what you want to use as the title of your article. And I would say over the course of the Google News product history, we've gotten better at not mandating that you stuff your headlines with keywords. I used to be a former journalist. And that was sort of the wisdom that I got. It was always, oh, load your titles with keywords because then Google will know what your article is about. There are many other ways for the Google News bot to figure out what your article is. There's no need to necessarily stuff your headline with keywords just for SEO purposes. Google News is not in the business of telling you how to write your content because there are ways to do it through HTML, through metatags to better signal to us what your article is about. Next slide, please. And mentioning article titles-- this was a question I got from the last Hangout as well. And I just wanted to reiterate that the main point about this is that across your article, everything should just be consistent. So the title of your article page, whatever's in the title tag should match your h1 tag, which should also match your anchor text. This way you reduce the chance of the Google News bot potentially extracting what you didn't intend to be your article title. Other little best practices-- we suggest avoiding hyperlinking your title or including a date. That will signal potentially to the bot that the date is actually the date of your article not the date of your article title. The title should also be greater than 10 characters and between 2 to 22 words-- again, just a best practice, but use your editorial judgment. These are just suggested guidelines. And then one of the default suggestions-- it sounds like a theme from this presentation-- is to create a Google News Sitemap. If you want to make sure we're properly extracting and displaying your title, tell us what that is in your Google News Sitemap. And that's a more surefire way to make sure that we get your title correct. And last slide, I believe. Incorrect article dates-- you can also-- it's very easy to tell us what the date is if you are submitting a Google News Sitemap. The other ways to do this are within your HTML code. So you should put the date only between the title and your text. Putting it elsewhere on the page is slightly confusing and can be inconsistent, causing some confusion for the Google News bot. You can also put it in a metatag using that YYYY-MM-DD format. And one last important thing to note because a lot of publishers will sometimes write into us and say, why is Google News saying that this article was published three hours ago? It was actually published, I don't know, 12 hours ago. The date and time that's displayed is when the Google News bot originally crawls the article. So that's why you might see a few hours discrepancy. So that was all I had for my presentation. I wanted to make sure that-- I just want to give you a quick plug for our resources, too. So I had a lot of links there to the Help Center. That should be your go-to source for help if you ever have any Google News questions. Also the Google News Help Forum is a great resource where you can ask questions. We have some wonderful top contributors who oftentimes get to the question before I do. And I would say their technical expertise is far greater than mine. So the help forum is also a great place to visit if you've got questions. And with that, I guess we can open it up for Q&A.

JOHN MUELLER: All right. We have a bunch of questions that were submitted. We can filter them out for Google News questions. But maybe we can see if one of you guys here has any new Google News questions to start off with.

BARUCH LABUNSKI: Yeah, I have a question about the Google Publisher. In the Publisher Center, there's an area where, for instance, if I'm running a business website, there is an option there for the category to select Business, right?


BARUCH LABUNSKI: Suppose that business article is also about technology. So I want to add another category-- Technology. Can you add two-- is it possible to add Business and Technology at the same time? Or do you just leave it at one?

STACIE CHAN: Good question. You can add more than one label. And this is where you need to apply your editorial judgment, because if you're looking at the Google News homepage. [? You can ?] add certain sections. And your article is only going to be listed in one section. So, yes, you can apply two labels to that certain section or to your entire source as well, but I would avoid adding three, four, or five because then it almost defeats the purpose of having labels. I would say, as a general best practice, two is fine. Any more than that, start thinking about [INAUDIBLE].

BARUCH LABUNSKI: I'm still worried about adding one more category. I want to stay consistent with just one. So you're saying it's OK to add one more, right?

STACIE CHAN: Yeah, and it's funny because a lot of times people will see articles in Tech or Business. And they'll say, oh, that article should be in vice versa. So we, just as users and readers ourselves, we know that there isn't a very clear black-and-white line between those two categories. So I would say that's fine. But just don't be surprised if you thought an article would have ended up in a certain section, and then it ends up in the other section [INAUDIBLE] that [INAUDIBLE].

BARUCH LABUNSKI: So Stacie, just quickly, with the geo-targeting, if the website is geo-targeted in the United States, because that's originally [INAUDIBLE]. And so if you do target at the United States, does that mean somebody in Italy or whatever, Russia, would still see that article?

STACIE CHAN: Yeah, it's possible. And I can see articles and news sources from all over the world. It just really depends on what I'm looking for.

BARUCH LABUNSKI: Thank you so much.


JOHN MUELLER: All right. Let's grab one from the Q&A. Here's one that seems to be voted up. Maybe you covered this already. We're using the metaname=date tag, which Google News doesn't recommend, but which seems to work fine. If we switch to the recommended, could that be a problem, an improvement, or what would that be without impact?

STACIE CHAN: My philosophy is if it ain't broke, don't fix it. If you found that we're properly crawling and indexing your articles with just about the right date, keep it as is. A lot of these are suggestions. We try to give publishers options because we know there are so many different formats out there. But if you're finding that yours is working, fine. Keep at it.

JOHN MUELLER: OK, here's one about the mobile-friendly changes that are happening. Is the mobile-friendly change on April 21 also going to affect Google News? Can we create a mobile News Sitemap for new sites that have different desktop and mobile pages?

STACIE CHAN: I knew I was going to get that question. As of now, Google News is not committed to making that change just yet. We're always exploring because we think it's awesome that sites are trying to be more mobile friendly. Myself personally as a user, I love that. And Google News is very well aware that search is doing that. And kudos to you guys. That's great. So we're definitely exploring that option as well. But we don't have a set timeline or anything like that, whether or not we'll even implement that into our product as well.

JOHN MUELLER: Here's one about different platforms. Can someone create a News Sitemap using Blogger?

STACIE CHAN: That is a good question. I am actually googling it right now. In the Google News Help Forum, someone asked how to create a News Sitemap on Blogger.

JOHN MUELLER: A news site. So not just a sitemap, just [INAUDIBLE].

STACIE CHAN: Oh, yes, you can absolutely create a news site on Blogger. There are so many platforms out there. We're platform agnostic. You can use Blogger. You can host it on your own site-- WordPress-- anything, absolutely, yes.

JOHN MUELLER: Awesome! OK, here's one about Google+ results. How does the Google News homepage show Google+ results? What are the criteria? How can we as a webmaster make sure that we also get the Google+ listings?

STACIE CHAN: That's also done algorithmically. But, as you know, Google+ and what's trending on Google+, what's popular, does factor into some of the homepage rankings. I just opened up the Google News homepage right now to see if I have any examples. But oftentimes you'll see before article URLs, you'll see these different labels. So in my homepage, I actually see the story about the horrible plane crash that happened over in Europe. I don't see any trending on Google+ labels there. But right now I see from France-- In-depth, Live Updating, Wikipedia. There is a tag that we have that says trending on Google+. But yeah, it's an article that's trending on Google+. There's a variety of factors that go into determining that and ultimately what story gets on the homepage. But I guess to answer the root of your question, yes. If your story is really popular on Google+ and people are +1ing it and sharing it, that makes you that much more qualified to appear on the homepage with that label in front of your article.

JOHN MUELLER: Are there any localization optimization options for Google News?

STACIE CHAN: Interesting. I would say there is a huge opportunity to appear on the homepage if you've got local content. In the right-hand side-- I'm in Mountain View right now. So I see Mountain View, California. I see the "San Jose Mercury News," I see the "Contra Costa Times." And I see "The San Francisco Chronicle." So there's a huge opportunity if you cover local events-- local news -- to appear directly on user's homepages based on their location. [INAUDIBLE]

STACIE CHAN: I'm sorry, someone was asking a question. I would say in the Publisher Center, make sure to-- if you've got a local section. So if you've got, make sure to add that section to the Publisher Center because you've already done a good job in signalling to us that you do have a lot of local content. It's really about the organization of your page. I don't have any optimization suggestions, just that you've already got great local content, just signal to us that it's there and hopefully the Google News bot will better crawl it and then include that in that local section on the Google News homepage.

BARUCH LABUNSKI: But there's still like good thing-- you can talk about what's happening in technology around the world, and so on. No? There's still optimization. You can still rank well with writing unique stuff about, for instance, like Facebook is coming out with this F8 or whatever. So can we-- is there any optimization?

STACIE CHAN: I think the question was particularly about local. But in terms of optimization in general, that's such a large question. There are certain things you can do in signaling more to Google News what your content is about. I did mention keywords. So if you are signaling that you're writing about tech, or I think you mentioned Facebook, that's [? a way ?] to do that. I don't remember if I mentioned this in the last Hangout. But there is something called the standout tag that you can use. So that's what you would put in your header. And just as the name denotes, it's for standout content. And you can use this no more than seven times a week. We don't want publishers saying every article is a standout article. I'm sure it's really high quality, but we want publishers to use this judiciously. I can definitely include a link to that page in the notes from this Hangout and for everyone to explore that standout tag. I love the standout tag also because it's not just for self-citations. It's also a great way to build this ecosystem amongst publishers. You can also use the standout tag as many times as you want if you're referencing another publisher's standout articles. And this way, it really signals to us who's a credible source, who's producing high-quality journalism, and who really deserves credit when they do have that standout or exclusive or scoop story.

JOHN MUELLER: All right, here's one about live content. Are there any best practices for Live Updating live blog content for Google News?

STACIE CHAN: That's a good question. It's definitely a very common format that we see a lot of publishers doing, especially when it comes to sporting events or entertainment events like the Oscars. I always say keep doing what you're doing. Readers and users love your live content. Don't change your scheduling or your reporting based on what you think Google News would do. But, as I mentioned, there is a label now on the homepage that says Live Updating because we found that users do like that. This is not to say that every article you should write should be a Live Update article. Many events don't lend itself to that. But keep in mind that the Google News bot will continue visiting your article every so often, probably for the first 24 hours looking for new updates. And it will do its best to crawl and index your article with those new updates. And then after 24 hours, it doesn't revisit your article as often, which is the natural life cycle of an article anyway. So the follow-up question that we get a lot is-- when is it best to then break out your article into a new URL? Just think of the user perspective. If you've got like a cricket match that you're covering for days, do you want all of that in one article? It depends. I don't know what the best reader experience would be. But that's definitely something you should consider in your editorial judgment. And the Google News bot does its best to keep up with all of those editorial changes that you're making.

JOHN MUELLER: Now here's one about HTTPS. We have both HTTP and HTTPS pages. And I'm unsure whether to, one, submit separate Sitemaps, or two, put them all in one. And if I put them all in one, should I include HTTP or HTTPS versions of the pages? Or both of them?

STACIE CHAN: Good question. We mentioned this in the last newsletter that we sent out-- making a quick plug for the Google News newsletter that we send out quarterly. And we addressed HTTPS because we do now crawl that. And, actually, the Google News bot prefers HTTPS. So if we find your HTTPS content, that's what we're actually going to index. So there's no need to submit two of everything anymore. I would just start investing in your HTTPS content because it's more secure. We now want a secure internet. So I have made a note to share the newsletter link as well because that's got some good information on HTTPS.

JOHN MUELLER: All right, here's one about markup. Should they use news article schema? Or just article schema for news sites?

STACIE CHAN: This is where I can't provide advice on this because, really, you should be creating the best, most navigable articles, best user experience, best interface designed articles that you choose. Google News does not have a preference either/or. There's so many different types of articles we've seen out there. The bot does its best to crawl any and all of them. So there is no preference.

JOHN MUELLER: Awesome! Crisan, I think you have a question too, right?

CRISAN: Hi, John, are there any quality algorithms in Google News for people trying to market services by Google News to penalize these articles specifically?

STACIE CHAN: You're cutting out a bit. Was your question does the algorithm penalize--

CRISAN: Are there any quality algorithms in Google News to penalize people that use Google News for marketing?

STACIE CHAN: I can't speak specifically about the algorithm penalizing marketing articles. But in Google News we don't allow marketing articles. We have a very clear list of types of articles that we don't allow in Google News. And we're really working with publishers to make sure they understand that. There are a lot of types of content we don't allow. And there's many ways you can ensure that we don't index those in Google News whether it's robots-- using robots.txt file. You can use metatags to do no index. And you can always create a Google News Sitemap to make sure that you're only telling us what your news articles are and that we don't mistakenly crawl your non-news articles. Because if we do find that certain publishers are including non-news articles, there is potential for us to remove your site from Google News.

BARUCH LABUNSKI: When you say you mean it, like in the guidelines-- stick to the news, and we mean it. And it's totally understandable. But sometimes I guess what if-


STACIE CHAN: It muted us.

JOHN MUELLER: It muted, yeah.

STACIE CHAN: They didn't like what we had to say.

JOHN MUELLER: They want to publish marketing articles, I guess. This is a general problem, I guess, with web search as well and with Google News. There is some quality standards that we put out in the guidelines. And we expect people to abide by them. And I assume that's even more so the case in Google News where it's actually a selection of sites that are actually shown there. All right, here's one about tracking the traffic they get. We'd like to get a precise number of the traffic coming from Google News. Is there a risk for the overall inclusion if we add something like UTM source equals Google News parameters to the URLs in the News Sitemap?

STACIE CHAN: Is there a risk for inclusion?

JOHN MUELLER: I guess the question is if these URLs would get dropped or not included in Google News if they include some kind of a tracking parameter.

STACIE CHAN: No, not at all. You can put whatever tracking parameters you want. I know a lot of people use those for social media. That will not affect your inclusion or getting kicked out or anything like that from Google News. And we encourage people to monitor their traffic. It's important for all publishers to know where they're getting their traffic from.

JOHN MUELLER: All right, let me see. We have a bunch of submissions still, wow! Let me find something here. We have a separate mobile site. And we're using the canonical link from the mobile version to the desktop version. Do we have to submit a separate Sitemap for the mobile pages? Or how do you treat separate mobile pages for Google News?

STACIE CHAN: How do we treat them? Are we going to index all of our content?

JOHN MUELLER: Yeah, I guess.

STACIE CHAN: If you're using the [INAUDIBLE] to the desktop, that's what we should be indexing. You don't need to create separate Sitemaps. In fact, we always encourage you to just create one Sitemap. It's easier to have a place. You could have an index of Sitemaps, and that's what you submit when it has multiple Sitemaps. But especially with the [INAUDIBLE] tag, you should be fine if you're pointing to the desktop articles. That's what we'll be indexing.

JOHN MUELLER: How to avoid hyperlinking of a title of an article on a media site, especially if you wan to list related content articles. So if you're looking at one article and there are some related articles on the bottom, you link to them with a title. Is that fine?

STACIE CHAN: Yeah, so I guess I wasn't super-clear when I mentioned that. I meant you shouldn't link your main article's title. So if the title was "Earthquake in San Francisco," you shouldn't link that to something else. But at the very bottom of your article when you have related articles, those are fine because that's not what you want to be indexed as the article's title in Google News. That's what I meant by don't link the article title.

JOHN MUELLER: All right, Google News Publisher Newsletter seems to be available to site owners only. Can you make it available to anyone with manager-level permissions in Webmaster Tools as well?

STACIE CHAN: We're hearing you loud and clear. Good question. I would say the only-- we just want to make sure. The last thing we want to do is spam anybody. For the most part, I think it was like 99.9% of people who received last quarter's Newsletter loved it. But we always want to err on the side of-- we know your inboxes get flooded with so many emails a day. We just want to make sure that really the right audience gets these newsletters. And for the owners of the sites, please forward to whoever in your organization you think would benefit from it. We do have the Newsletter available to anyone who can view it on the Help Center-- on the Help Forum. You can always set up like an auto forwarding from the Google News email address. As far as I know, I think this is the only email we've ever sent to publishers. So if you forward any email from Google News-noreply to people in your organization, you will only get the Google News newsletter. I know that's one more step that you have to do. But I appreciate the comment. And we'll definitely consider that for the next go around. But I think, at least for the second newsletter, we're probably going to be sending it to owners only. So I guess for number three, we'll look into some of the privacy requirements about sending it to managers of sites.

JOHN MUELLER: All right, here's one about the markup. Which HTML5 elements can I use safely in my article template? I have seen a lot of article fragmented errors in Webmaster Tools when using valid HTML5 markup.

STACIE CHAN: That's interesting. I don't know too much about HTML5. John, do you have any comments on that? I can always look more into it and cover that in the next Hangout.

JOHN MUELLER: I don't know. I'm just guessing. I don't know how it's handled on the Google News side. But I imagine you try to figure out where the main article is on a page. And depending on the type of markup that you use, it might be easier or harder. Because with HTML5, for example, you can have multiple h1 headings on a page. And I could imagine that maybe that makes it harder to parse the actual article.

STACIE CHAN: That makes sense. I will definitely look into that, though. That's a good technical question.

JOHN MUELLER: Why didn't my Google News site not get indexed? It's stuck on 48 submitted, but none are shown as being indexed. So I guess in Webmaster tools.

STACIE CHAN: OK, so that's the indexed count of the articles. A lot of publishers do ask about that. And I'm glad you asked that. So that count-- that indexed count that you see in your Webmaster Tools account-- isn't always the most accurate number of the articles that we've indexed from your Sitemap. A lot of times I just tell publishers do a site search. That's the most accurate way. You can see the articles directly there on your screen, which ones that were indexed in Google News. And John and I and the Webmaster team have actually been talking about this. And we're trying to look into updating this number more regularly.

JOHN MUELLER: I think this is specific to the Google News Sitemaps, because within Google News, you always have to be submitting the most recent URLs. And that's a bit different from the web search side where you basically submit everything from your website. The churn in the Google News site-- that makes it hard to keep up with the index count because you keep submitting News Sitemaps for Google News. And they have different counts there. And then we have to recalculate the index counts. So it's really hard to show an actionable number. On the web search side, it's a bit easier because we see you submitted 50,000 URLs. And out of those at the moment, this many are actually live in our index. So that's a difference there. But I know that the team is working on finding a way to show something more actionable there.

STACIE CHAN: Exactly, and then it's hard because not only are you all constantly producing articles every minute or so, there are also then articles that drop out because we only keep articles for about 30 days. So then it's really keeping track of the churn, as John said. And that number is-- we want to make sure we get it right before we start showing a number because we would hate to show like an estimate or something. We want it to be as accurate as possible. So we're working on how to best present that number.

JOHN MUELLER: OK, here's one about the logo. If our logo for the Editors' Picks is rejected, how can we find out why? I submitted a question to Google News Help Forum.

STACIE CHAN: A logo wouldn't get rejected for any other reason than it doesn't follow the size specs. Oh, goodness, I can't remember off the top of my head. I think it's got to be like if the height is 40 pixels, than the width needs to be between a certain number of pixels. The general default that I see is 250 by 40. I'll follow up on those exact measurements. But we don't care what your logo looks like. It's really just all about the size. So when you submit your Editors' Picks feed within the Publisher Center and it tells you it's because the logo didn't follow our requirements, it's really just about the size. So go ahead and resubmit it. You can submit it as many times as you want until it gets right. And then, voila. Then you should have your Editors' Picks feed added to the Publisher Center. But if you're still having trouble, please write into us. Or I'm sure someone will respond to your question on the Help Form very shortly.

JOHN MUELLER: OK, here's one about pop-ups. How does a pop-up box, or I guess an interstitial, affect Google News inclusion?

STACIE CHAN: So there's like a pop-up on your site? I'll say this. If we're trying to review your site for inclusion, and we can't access any of your content, I would guess there's a very likely chance your site's not going to get included in Google News because we don't have access to your content. It obviously varies case by case. I don't know what your site is. But that's the first general rule of thumb, I would say.

JOHN MUELLER: We're offering news in local languages on a separate news site. But our referral traffic from Google News homepage isn't very impressive. If we compare our English versus the local language, there's a huge gap. How can we increase this traffic?

STACIE CHAN: Interesting. So to keep in mind, one rule that we have in Google News is that if you've got separate sections on your site in different languages, you do need to apply separately for that section as an entire separate entry in the Google News database. I try not to provide traffic advice, but that might be why you're not getting any clicks to your articles because, say you've got your main site in English, and then you've launched a Spanish and French section, the Google News bot is not going to service Spanish and French articles to a US user. Because we're assuming that this user wants their news in English and not in Spanish and French because they can't read those languages. So the first thing you need to do is actually apply for inclusion for those separate sections so we can correctly create a separate entry in our database for your sections so then we can correctly categorize and classify your separate language articles into the right Google News edition. So then the Spanish Google News readers will be able to see your Spanish articles. And the French Google News readers will be able to read your French articles. And the way to do that-- I'm actually glad you brought that up. The inclusion now lives within the Culture Center. So if you've already proven ownership of your site in the Google News Publisher Center, you can go ahead and verify ownership of the separate sections, these separate language sections, and then request inclusion for those in Google News. You'll see that large button directly on the Publisher Center homepage.

JOHN MUELLER: Here's one about getting included. In the guidelines for acceptance as a Google News source, there's a strong implication that you're looking for real organizations or companies versus loosely organized solo news publishers. Can you comment on the type of organization that you're looking for?

STACIE CHAN: I forget what the exact verbiage is in our guidelines. But you don't have to belong to a big organization to be accepted in Google News. We've got individual bloggers whose sites are in Google News. There's so many ways to get news and information these days. And we've seen that being part of a big news publication often isn't the predominant method anymore for news publication. And that's totally fine by us. It doesn't help you. It doesn't hurt you. It's just part of your organization. And that is not a preference for Google News at all. We do value authority and credibility. But that doesn't-- just because you belong to a big organization doesn't automatically mean yes or no that you have that credibility or authority. So if you're an individual blogger or if you're one solo journalist, please apply to Google News as well.

JOHN MUELLER: Are there any plans to provide greater insight into how content is performing in universal search versus Google News homepage?

STACIE CHAN: That might be more of a Google Analytics question. Currently at Google News, we don't have anything posted within the Publisher Center or within our product that will tell you traffic. So that might be something I would take up with the Google Analytics team. I don't know if you had any more comments on that.

JOHN MUELLER: I don't really know.

STACIE CHAN: Google Analytics is your best bet. I guess I'm passing it on to our sister product.

JOHN MUELLER: OK, here is one about a radio station. Is a community radio station able to post reusable content?

STACIE CHAN: Able to post reusable content? I am not quite sure what that means. But I know we do have a lot of radio sites in Google News because a lot of their content will have enough text for us to be able to crawl it. One of the requirements is that you need to have 80 words in each article. So even if you got an audio file or a podcast but you've got 80 words, we'd love to include that content. We know radio stations produce-- or many radio stations produce high-quality content. Absolutely put that in Google News. I am not sure what you mean by reusable content, maybe like evergreen content? Yes, but if you're a radio station, apply to Google News. Check out our guidelines. And just try to adhere as much to that as possible with what you think is your best news content.

BARUCH LABUNSKI: And transitioning into that, like YouTube videos, are you guys working on that?

STACIE CHAN: Yes. So if you look at the homepage, you'll actually see the giant media strip under all the article URLs. We definitely include YouTube videos. At the moment, you can't add the YouTube-- your own YouTube channel yourself to the Publisher Center. You still have to write in to our team because it doesn't match. obviously doesn't match the domain that's listed in your Publisher Center. But we do encourage every single publisher, if you've got a YouTube channel, to submit that to your Publisher Center account. We just ask that it actually is your YouTube channel and you're not submitting some other publisher's YouTube channel. We do check for that.

JOHN MUELLER: All right, maybe we can open up for other questions around Google News from the people here in the room. Is there anything left that you all would like to ask?

MALE SPEAKER: Hi, Stacie, [INAUDIBLE]. So we have this website for basically a publisher in India. So we are just doing stories around India-- maybe politics and maybe sports. Each and every category is there. But the thing is like, we are not really getting highlighted in the Google News homepage. We are one of the top, most trusted sources for the news in India. But we hardly see our listing at the Google News homepage. What is the reason behind this thing?

STACIE CHAN: That's a tough question. I would categorize that as a general ranking question. And without knowing what your site is or what your content is, it's really hard to comment. And, also, it's important to know the distinction. Everyone says the Google News homepage. It's important to keep in mind that every user sees something different on their homepage. It depends what edition you are in. It depends what a user's customized preferences are. So if a user has customized their homepage and said, I want to read more of's articles, they will see a lot more of's articles on their homepage. But it's hard to provide general advice on why is my site not ranking higher in Google News?

MALE SPEAKER: So, that's fine. I hardly see-- I don't know if you can see, most of the publishers are not there. I just see two to three publishers always ranking for all of the feeds, basically, even for the top stories or for the other categories. So they are ranking from the one or two publishers and nothing from the other publishers. So I am just curious to understand this thing, why just rank to just two or three publishers and not for the other publishers?

STACIE CHAN: In general, Google News tries to provide a diversity of publishers. So if you're really only seeing two to three publishers, that is not our intent. I'm sure there are quite a diversity if you start to dig further, especially into different sections. The News Suggested For You section actually does an even greater job. It tries to actually show more of the medium and long-tail publishers, because as users start to say that they like more nuanced topics. For example, I like scuba diving, digital media, local politics. I actually had started seeing way more of a diversity of different news sources that I wouldn't see typically in the top story section. But it's a tough issue. I think every publisher has that same question that you have. Why am I not showing more in Google News? Why are there not more XYZ sources? There's only so much real estate on the homepage. We have a finite number of sources that we can list for every story. And, unfortunately, not all of our 60,000 plus publishers will get to be in one of those spots. It's a tough problem. And I realize that many publishers have that question.

MALE SPEAKER: Thank you.

JOHN MUELLER: All right, more questions from you in the audience?

STACIE CHAN: Well, since we're at about time, I promise in the next Hangout, if John will have me again, I'll cover a few topics that I wasn't able to follow up on. And after this, I will post some links to the newsletter, to all the resources that you can use in Google News just so you can get more and more information.

BARUCH LABUNSKI: Just quickly about the AdSense regarding advertisements on the news sites-- any last comments regarding that? For instance, if you have it right on top of the head-- right in the header-- is that OK in terms of AdSense?

STACIE CHAN: I can't comment exactly on where your ads are. If you're looking for a is-that-OK response, absolutely you can have ads on your articles. It's how we know that a lot of publishers make money. We would never say you can only have adless articles in Google News. That's absolutely false. One thing to keep in mind, though. What do your readers want to see? If your article has 20 ads before you get to any content, [INAUDIBLE] reader experience. So just keep them in mind as well. But Google News does not have any preference or editorial guidance on ads within your article.

BARUCH LABUNSKI: Great! Thank you.

JOHN MUELLER: All right, so with that, let's take a break here. Thank you very much for your presentation and all the answers, Stacie. It's been really helpful. I hope we find time to have you join us again.

STACIE CHAN: Oh, I would love to if you guys aren't sick of me yet.

JOHN MUELLER: No, definitely not.

STACIE CHAN: Thanks so much, John. Thanks, everyone.

JOHN MUELLER: Thanks so much and maybe see you in one of the future Hangouts.


JOHN MUELLER: Have a great week. Bye everyone. | Copyright 2019