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Avoid These 6 Common Google News Optimization Mistakes



Google News has been around for two decades.

And now more than ever, the internet is many people’s primary news source.

Gone are the days of buying a newspaper in your local shop to get the day’s news. Now, we have multiple news sources at our fingertips.

With multiple perspectives on current affairs.

There hasn’t been a better time for publishers to feature on a news aggregator than today.

Although there are other online news aggregators, such as,, and even Apple News, Google News is still the leader, according to’s top 10 external publisher referrers.

Many publishers recognize this and are optimizing their news content for Google News.

And, since any site is eligible to appear in Google News, yours may even be indexed and ranking in Google News.

But before you get too carried away about the traffic honeypot potential of Google News, there are several pitfalls to avoid if you truly want to optimize your site for the aggregator.

We’ll explore these mistakes and provide tips on how to get the most out of Google News.

But first, let’s get the basics out of the way.

Google News Optimization Basics

What Is Google News?

Google News is a news aggregator developed by Google.

It was launched in 2002 to help users discover the day’s news from multiple news outlets in their region and beyond.

The aggregator compiles news from various sources on the internet and issues them in both mobile and desktop searches.

Why Is Google News Important For Publishers?

Much of the incoming traffic of digital publishers comes from external sources.

These include search platforms, links from other sites, social media, social shares, etc.

And since Google News is one of the biggest news aggregators, it’s a huge potential source of traffic for many publishers.

Today, Google News accounts for about 4% of publishers’ traffic sources.

Think of it as this massive referrer with incredible reach.

It helps publishers reach new audiences and attract more readers to their news sites.

Thus, sources trying to get as much traffic as possible want to be listed as snippets in Google News.

How Does Google News Work?

Google News collects articles from more than 20,000 publishers worldwide.

On the user’s side, the goal is to provide as much diverse, relevant news content as possible.

Google’s algorithm determines what shows up in whose feed.

And then personalizes it based on the user’s Google News settings and past Google activity.

It’s only in a few specialized cases where Google News teams choose the stories.

As for the publishers, it’s all about the traffic.

The aggregator has various features that let users learn about and engage with a news site.

For example, a publisher can submit a URL or feed through Google’s publisher center.

However, doing that doesn’t guarantee the news site surfacing or ranking in Google News.

The aggregator will also feature publishers it finds through Google’s standard web crawl.

This is why optimizing news platforms for Google News is crucial for many people.

Do Not Make These Google News Optimization Mistakes

1. Thinking You Need AMP For Google News

Accelerate Mobile Pages, better known as AMP, is an open-source project launched by Google in 2015.

It was Google’s brainchild to boost the slow performance of publishers on mobile devices.

At the time, this initially sounded enticing for publishers since mobile traffic was well on its rise, and traditional news publishers were struggling with the re-development requirements of the mobile web.

But Google didn’t exactly take the diplomatic path with the framework.

Between 2015 and 2021, publishers had to adopt AMP to appear in Google’s Top Stories on mobile.

Those who didn’t comply simply lost out.

Those who did got the traffic.

However, they also had to deal with the restrictions of adopting valid AMP.

Fortunately, a July 2021 update removed the AMP requirement for mobile Top Stories.

Now, as proven, you don’t need AMP to get featured in Google News.

And with Google News sending users directly to publishers’ websites, it’s time to ditch the framework and focus the time and resources on other aspects of your SEO.

2. Thinking That Google News Is Just For News Publishers

Before December 2019, a publisher needed to tweak their website to match specific requirements and fill the relevant online forms before letting Google review it.

Then, if all went well and Google believed them to be an actual publisher, their application would be approved, and the site would appear in Google News and Top Stories.

When the new Publisher Center rolled in, things changed.

Google removed the manual approval forms and introduced a new Google News inclusion process.

Now, Google decides automatically which websites show up in Google News.

The “official” word is that Google considers sites with high-quality content that comply with Google News content policies.

This inclusion process means a website doesn’t necessarily need to be a news publisher to get into Google News.

As long as they tick all the right boxes, they can appear in Google News and Top Stories.

But getting into Google News is a lot harder than the explanation in the official guidelines.

3. Thinking Google News Is The Same As Top Stories

If you look up a current topic on Google Search, the top news results will be listed prominently as part of the “Top Stories” box in the organic search results.

Many people think that this box is the same as Google News.

It isn’t.

Rather, Top Stories is a feature of Google Search, the engine, not Google News, the aggregator.

4. Not Following Google News Content Policies

Google News has policies that it expects its publishing partners to adhere to. For instance, the content shouldn’t violate Google’s guidelines of dangerous, deceptive, hateful, harassing, medical, terrorist, and sexually explicit content.

There are also policies on manipulated media, violence and gore, and vulgar language and profanity.

There are also feature-specific policies on ads and sponsored content and transparency.

For example, advertising and paid promotional material on publishers’ pagers shouldn’t exceed their content.

And in the spirit of transparency, news sites should provide precise dates and bylines, contact information, and information about the authors, publication, and publisher.

These are just a fraction of what Google News expects from you.

As you optimize your page, ensure that you’ve read and understood the aggregator’s policies. If you fail to do so, the algorithm will kick you out.

5. Ignoring Google’s Publisher Center

Google did away with the manual inclusion process in favor of an automatic one.

In the same update, they launched the new Publisher Center.

And although you can appear on Google News without being a Publisher Center-approved site, you shouldn’t ignore it.

The Publisher Center offers many features and benefits crucial to your search engine rankings.

One such feature is the ability to manage multiple news publications under one organization.

Google Publisher Center is also the key to making your content more visible on Google News.

6. Making Live Changes On Google News Publisher Center

Significant changes to your publication, like ad implementations, CSS overrides, manager-only sections, and unpublished publications can interfere with the user experience.

Therefore, you don’t want to be making such changes live without first testing them.

To avoid this, use Google’s Designer Mode to test changes to your publication.

Optimization Tips To Get The Most Out of Google News

Submit Your Site To Google News Using Google’s Publisher Center

Google can automatically add publishers who meet their content criteria to Google News.

But just because you’ve done everything right doesn’t mean you will be selected.

This is why manually submitting to Google News still has some utility; it increases your chances of appearing in Google News.

To set up your organization:

  • Log into your Google account and navigate to the Publisher Center’s homepage.
  • In the left-hand navigation menu, click on + Add publication.
Image from, May 2022add site to publisher center

You’ll need to provide some basic information on your publication, including the name, website property, and location.

A new main screen will appear once you’ve created your publication.

To verify your content and URL, click on Publication Settings on the main interface and fill in all the available options under the General tab.

publisher center general tabImage from, May 2022publisher center general tab

Then, click on the Visual Styles tab to add your publication’s logos. Save your information.

Return to the main interface and click on the Google News box.

Here, you can design, brand, and customize your publication for Google News.

Next, click on edit and fill in relevant information under the General and Content settings tabs.

Review and publish the details.

Back on the main interface, you can also add content labels to help Google understand your content better. This is in the Content labels box.

Don’t overlook this part.

You’ll also need to verify that the site is yours via Google Search Console.

If you’re using the same Google account on both, just add your website’s URL and click verify in Search Console.

Handle Sponsored Content Correctly With Google News

Yes, sponsored content is allowed on Google News.

But there are limitations.

For instance, Google says that having sponsored content is acceptable as long as:

  • It doesn’t exceed your primary content.
  • It is not misleading as editorial content.

But unlike in 2013, when it was recommended to block sponsored content from Google News, there is no reference that you still need to do that in their policies.

You do, however, need to nofollow external links on sponsored content.

But you can still let Google News index commercial content.

google news accepts sponsored contentScreenshot from Twitter, May 2022google news accepts sponsored content

This was confirmed by Google in this tweet, as well as on Twitter with Danny Sullivan, Google’s public Search Liaison.

Follow On Page SEO Best Practices

Once you’re on Google News, there are several best practices you need to succeed.

Headlines And Dates

Google News uses crawlers to scan pages and determine the correct headlines for your articles.

So, they need the right signals to display accurate titles from your content.

Check out Google’s best practices and their guide on providing the correct published date.

Tip: Don’t forget to constantly remind your writer/colleague/journalist friends to include the keyword in the headline!

Anchor Text

Match the anchor text pointing to your article in the section pages to your article/page’s title.

Match your article page’s title (in the HTML <title> tag) to your article’s title.

Publishing Date

As for the times and dates, Google News wants you to be accurate and precise so they can get it right.

You should show one clear date and time stamp. The best place for this is usually between the headline and the article text.

Use structured data, i.e., datePublished and dateModified schema with the correct time zone.

Tip: Google will tell you not to artificially freshen stories. Artificial freshening refers to giving an article a fresh date and time without adding significant information.

However, savvy News SEO experts such as Christine Liang from the New York Times will teach you the benefits of keeping the timestamp fresh.

Take advantage of the Google News “freshness” ranking factor.

Duplicate Content

Google recommends that publishers block scraped and rewritten content from Google News.

And also recommends using the rel=”canonical” tag for syndicated content.

However, as you will learn when working in News SEO, syndicated content from news wires rank just fine, and most publishers allow their syndicated content to be indexed.

The issue only really arises when you have internal syndication across sister sites. For that, the rel=”canonical” tag can be very effective.

Shelby Blackley of Mashable explains this in her guide on how to handle wire stories for SEO.


Google News also rewards transparency.

Being transparent about your publication, authors, and content, following E-A-T best practices, and encouraging journalists to have good author bios can go a long way.

You should also make sure that the website is secure with HTTPS.

Google discourages publishers from participating in link schemes. Instead, read Google’s guide on how to qualify outbound links.

But for the most part, when working with a news publisher, it’s not the editorial team you need to worry about. Make sure the commercial team is adhering to these guidelines.

Track “Google News” Traffic

It’s also crucial to track your performance on Google News.

Fortunately, that is relatively easy, thanks to the dedicated performance report within Search Console for Google News publishers.

The performance report will show your total impressions and total clicks.

It will also show how each article performs on Google News and how user behavior varies by country.

More resources:

Featured Image: Twin Design/Shutterstock


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4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI




4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

In a significant leap in large language model (LLM) development, Mistral AI announced the release of its newest model, Mixtral-8x7B.

What Is Mixtral-8x7B?

Mixtral-8x7B from Mistral AI is a Mixture of Experts (MoE) model designed to enhance how machines understand and generate text.

Imagine it as a team of specialized experts, each skilled in a different area, working together to handle various types of information and tasks.

A report published in June reportedly shed light on the intricacies of OpenAI’s GPT-4, highlighting that it employs a similar approach to MoE, utilizing 16 experts, each with around 111 billion parameters, and routes two experts per forward pass to optimize costs.

This approach allows the model to manage diverse and complex data efficiently, making it helpful in creating content, engaging in conversations, or translating languages.

Mixtral-8x7B Performance Metrics

Mistral AI’s new model, Mixtral-8x7B, represents a significant step forward from its previous model, Mistral-7B-v0.1.

It’s designed to understand better and create text, a key feature for anyone looking to use AI for writing or communication tasks.

This latest addition to the Mistral family promises to revolutionize the AI landscape with its enhanced performance metrics, as shared by OpenCompass.

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

What makes Mixtral-8x7B stand out is not just its improvement over Mistral AI’s previous version, but the way it measures up to models like Llama2-70B and Qwen-72B.

mixtral-8x7b performance metrics compared to llama 2 open source ai modelsmixtral-8x7b performance metrics compared to llama 2 open source ai models

It’s like having an assistant who can understand complex ideas and express them clearly.

One of the key strengths of the Mixtral-8x7B is its ability to handle specialized tasks.

For example, it performed exceptionally well in specific tests designed to evaluate AI models, indicating that it’s good at general text understanding and generation and excels in more niche areas.

This makes it a valuable tool for marketing professionals and SEO experts who need AI that can adapt to different content and technical requirements.

The Mixtral-8x7B’s ability to deal with complex math and coding problems also suggests it can be a helpful ally for those working in more technical aspects of SEO, where understanding and solving algorithmic challenges are crucial.

This new model could become a versatile and intelligent partner for a wide range of digital content and strategy needs.

How To Try Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Demos

You can experiment with Mistral AI’s new model, Mixtral-8x7B, to see how it responds to queries and how it performs compared to other open-source models and OpenAI’s GPT-4.

Please note that, like all generative AI content, platforms running this new model may produce inaccurate information or otherwise unintended results.

User feedback for new models like this one will help companies like Mistral AI improve future versions and models.

1. Perplexity Labs Playground

In Perplexity Labs, you can try Mixtral-8x7B along with Meta AI’s Llama 2, Mistral-7b, and Perplexity’s new online LLMs.

In this example, I ask about the model itself and notice that new instructions are added after the initial response to extend the generated content about my query.

mixtral-8x7b perplexity labs playgroundScreenshot from Perplexity, December 2023mixtral-8x7b perplexity labs playground

While the answer looks correct, it begins to repeat itself.

mixtral-8x7b errorsScreenshot from Perplexity Labs, December 2023mixtral-8x7b errors

The model did provide an over 600-word answer to the question, “What is SEO?”

Again, additional instructions appear as “headers” to seemingly ensure a comprehensive answer.

what is seo by mixtral-8x7bScreenshot from Perplexity Labs, December 2023what is seo by mixtral-8x7b

2. Poe

Poe hosts bots for popular LLMs, including OpenAI’s GPT-4 and DALL·E 3, Meta AI’s Llama 2 and Code Llama, Google’s PaLM 2, Anthropic’s Claude-instant and Claude 2, and StableDiffusionXL.

These bots cover a wide spectrum of capabilities, including text, image, and code generation.

The Mixtral-8x7B-Chat bot is operated by Fireworks AI.

poe bot for mixtral-8x7b firebaseScreenshot from Poe, December 2023poe bot for mixtral-8x7b firebase

It’s worth noting that the Fireworks page specifies it is an “unofficial implementation” that was fine-tuned for chat.

When asked what the best backlinks for SEO are, it provided a valid answer.

mixtral-8x7b poe best backlinks responseScreenshot from Poe, December 2023mixtral-8x7b poe best backlinks response

Compare this to the response offered by Google Bard.

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIMixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIScreenshot from Google Bard, December 2023Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

3. Vercel

Vercel offers a demo of Mixtral-8x7B that allows users to compare responses from popular Anthropic, Cohere, Meta AI, and OpenAI models.

vercel mixtral-8x7b demo compare gpt-4Screenshot from Vercel, December 2023vercel mixtral-8x7b demo compare gpt-4

It offers an interesting perspective on how each model interprets and responds to user questions.

mixtral-8x7b vs cohere on best resources for learning seoScreenshot from Vercel, December 2023mixtral-8x7b vs cohere on best resources for learning seo

Like many LLMs, it does occasionally hallucinate.

mixtral-8x7b hallucinationsScreenshot from Vercel, December 2023mixtral-8x7b hallucinations

4. Replicate

The mixtral-8x7b-32 demo on Replicate is based on this source code. It is also noted in the README that “Inference is quite inefficient.”

Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AIScreenshot from Replicate, December 2023Mixtral-8x7B: 4 Ways To Try The New Model From Mistral AI

In the example above, Mixtral-8x7B describes itself as a game.


Mistral AI’s latest release sets a new benchmark in the AI field, offering enhanced performance and versatility. But like many LLMs, it can provide inaccurate and unexpected answers.

As AI continues to evolve, models like the Mixtral-8x7B could become integral in shaping advanced AI tools for marketing and business.

Featured image: T. Schneider/Shutterstock

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OpenAI Investigates ‘Lazy’ GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X




OpenAI Investigates 'Lazy' GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X

OpenAI, the company that launched ChatGPT a little over a year ago, has recently taken to social media to address concerns regarding the “lazy” performance of GPT-4 on social media and Google Reviews.

Screenshot from X, December 2023OpenAI Investigates ‘Lazy’ GPT-4 Complaints On Google Reviews, X

This move comes after growing user feedback online, which even includes a one-star review on the company’s Google Reviews.

OpenAI Gives Insight Into Training Chat Models, Performance Evaluations, And A/B Testing

OpenAI, through its @ChatGPTapp Twitter account, detailed the complexities involved in training chat models.

chatgpt openai a/b testingScreenshot from X, December 2023chatgpt openai a/b testing

The organization highlighted that the process is not a “clean industrial process” and that variations in training runs can lead to noticeable differences in the AI’s personality, creative style, and political bias.

Thorough AI model testing includes offline evaluation metrics and online A/B tests. The final decision to release a new model is based on a data-driven approach to improve the “real” user experience.

OpenAI’s Google Review Score Affected By GPT-4 Performance, Billing Issues

This explanation comes after weeks of user feedback about GPT-4 becoming worse on social media networks like X.

Complaints also appeared in OpenAI’s community forums.

openai community forums gpt-4 user feedbackScreenshot from OpenAI, December 2023openai community forums gpt-4 user feedback

The experience led one user to leave a one-star rating for OpenAI via Google Reviews. Other complaints regarded accounts, billing, and the artificial nature of AI.

openai google reviews star rating Screenshot from Google Reviews, December 2023openai google reviews star rating

A recent user on Product Hunt gave OpenAI a rating that also appears to be related to GPT-4 worsening.

openai reviewsScreenshot from Product Hunt, December 2023openai reviews

GPT-4 isn’t the only issue that local reviewers complain about. On Yelp, OpenAI has a one-star rating for ChatGPT 3.5 performance.

The complaint:

yelp openai chatgpt reviewScreenshot from Yelp, December 2023yelp openai chatgpt review

In related OpenAI news, the review with the most likes aligns with recent rumors about a volatile workplace, alleging that OpenAI is a “Cutthroat environment. Not friendly. Toxic workers.”

google review for openai toxic workersScreenshot from Google Reviews, December 2023google review for openai toxic workers

The reviews voted the most helpful on Glassdoor about OpenAI suggested that employee frustration and product development issues stem from the company’s shift in focus on profits.

openai employee review on glassdooropenai employee review on glassdoor

openai employee reviewsScreenshots from Glassdoor, December 2023openai employee reviews

This incident provides a unique outlook on how customer and employee experiences can impact any business through local reviews and business ratings platforms.

openai inc google business profile local serps google reviewsScreenshot from Google, December 2023openai inc google business profile local serps google reviews

Google SGE Highlights Positive Google Reviews

In addition to occasional complaints, Google reviewers acknowledged the revolutionary impact of OpenAI’s technology on various fields.

The most positive review mentions about the company appear in Google SGE (Search Generative Experience).

Google SGE response on OpenAIScreenshot from Google SGE, December 2023Google SGE response on OpenAI


OpenAI’s recent insights into training chat models and response to public feedback about GPT-4 performance illustrate AI technology’s dynamic and evolving nature and its impact on those who depend on the AI platform.

Especially the people who just received an invitation to join ChatGPT Plus after being waitlisted while OpenAI paused new subscriptions and upgrades. Or those developing GPTs for the upcoming GPT Store launch.

As AI advances, professionals in these fields must remain agile, informed, and responsive to technological developments and the public’s reception of these advancements.

Featured image: Tada Images/Shutterstock

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ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites




ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

ChatGPT Plus subscriptions and upgrades remain paused after a surge in demand for new features created outages.

Some users who signed up for the waitlist have received invites to join ChatGPT Plus.

Screenshot from Gmail, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

This has resulted in a few shares of the link that is accessible for everyone. For now.

RELATED: GPT Store Set To Launch In 2024 After ‘Unexpected’ Delays

In addition to the invites, signs that more people are getting access to GPTs include an introductory screen popping up on free ChatGPT accounts.

ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive InvitesScreenshot from ChatGPT, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

Unfortunately, they still aren’t accessible without a Plus subscription.

chatgpt plus subscriptions upgrades paused waitlistScreenshot from ChatGPT, December 2023chatgpt plus subscriptions upgrades paused waitlist

You can sign up for the waitlist by clicking on the option to upgrade in the left sidebar of ChatGPT on a desktop browser.

ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive InvitesScreenshot from ChatGPT, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

OpenAI also suggests ChatGPT Enterprise for those who need more capabilities, as outlined in the pricing plans below.

ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive InvitesScreenshot from OpenAI, December 2023ChatGPT Plus Upgrades Paused; Waitlisted Users Receive Invites

Why Are ChatGPT Plus Subscriptions Paused?

According to a post on X by OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman, the recent surge in usage following the DevDay developers conference has led to capacity challenges, resulting in the decision to pause ChatGPT Plus signups.

The decision to pause new ChatGPT signups follows a week where OpenAI services – including ChatGPT and the API – experienced a series of outages related to high-demand and DDoS attacks.

Demand for ChatGPT Plus resulted in eBay listings supposedly offering one or more months of the premium subscription.

When Will ChatGPT Plus Subscriptions Resume?

So far, we don’t have any official word on when ChatGPT Plus subscriptions will resume. We know the GPT Store is set to open early next year after recent boardroom drama led to “unexpected delays.”

Therefore, we hope that OpenAI will onboard waitlisted users in time to try out all of the GPTs created by OpenAI and community builders.

What Are GPTs?

GPTs allow users to create one or more personalized ChatGPT experiences based on a specific set of instructions, knowledge files, and actions.

Search marketers with ChatGPT Plus can try GPTs for helpful content assessment and learning SEO.

There are also GPTs for analyzing Google Search Console data.

And GPTs that will let you chat with analytics data from 20 platforms, including Google Ads, GA4, and Facebook.

Google search has indexed hundreds of public GPTs. According to an alleged list of GPT statistics in a GitHub repository, DALL-E, the top GPT from OpenAI, has received 5,620,981 visits since its launch last month. Included in the top 20 GPTs is Canva, with 291,349 views.


Weighing The Benefits Of The Pause

Ideally, this means that developers working on building GPTs and using the API should encounter fewer issues (like being unable to save GPT drafts).

But it could also mean a temporary decrease in new users of GPTs since they are only available to Plus subscribers – including the ones I tested for learning about ranking factors and gaining insights on E-E-A-T from Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines.

custom gpts for seoScreenshot from ChatGPT, November 2023custom gpts for seo

Featured image: Robert Way/Shutterstock

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