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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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Twitter Will Share Ad Revenue With Twitter Blue Verified Creators



Twitter Will Share Ad Revenue With Twitter Blue Verified Creators

Elon Musk, owner and CEO of Twitter, announced that starting today, Twitter will share ad revenue with creators. The new policy applies only to ads that appear in a creator’s reply threads.

The move comes on the heels of YouTube launching ad revenue sharing for creators through the YouTube Partner Program in a bid to become the most rewarding social platform for creators.

Social networks like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat have similar monetization options for creators who publish reels and video content. For example, Instagram’s Reels Play Bonus Program offers eligible creators up to $1,200 for Reel views.

The catch? Unlike other social platforms, creators on Twitter must have an active subscription to Twitter Blue and meet the eligibility requirements for the Blue Verified checkmark.

The following is an example of a Twitter ad in a reply thread (Promoted by @ASUBootcamps). It should generate revenue for the Twitter Blue Verified creator (@rowancheung), who created the thread.

Screenshot from Twitter, January 2023

To receive the ad revenue share, creators would have to pay $8 per month (or more) to maintain an active Twitter Blue subscription. Twitter Blue pricing varies based on location and is available in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

Eligibility for the Twitter Blue Verified checkmark includes having an active Twitter Blue subscription and meeting the following criteria.

  • Your account must have a display name, profile photo, and confirmed phone number.
  • Your account has to be older than 90 days and active within the last 30 days.
  • Recent changes to your account’s username, display name, or profile photo can affect eligibility. Modifications to those after verification can also result in a temporary loss of the blue checkmark until Twitter reviews your updated information.
  • Your account cannot appear to mislead or deceive.
  • Your account cannot spam or otherwise try to manipulate the platform for engagement or follows.

Did you receive a Blue Verified checkmark before the Twitter Blue subscription? That will not help creators who want a share of the ad revenue. The legacy Blue Verified checkmark does not make a creator account eligible for ad revenue sharing.

When asked about accounts with a legacy and Twitter Blue Verified checkmark, Musk tweeted that the legacy Blue Verified is “deeply corrupted” and will sunset in just a few months.

Regardless of how you gained your checkmark, it’s important to note that Twitter can remove a checkmark without notice.

In addition to ad revenue sharing for Twitter Blue Verified creators, Twitter Dev announced that the Twitter API would no longer be free in an ongoing effort to reduce the number of bots on the platform.

While speculation looms about a loss in Twitter ad revenue, the Wall Street Journal reported a “fire-sale” Super Bowl offer from Musk to win back advertisers.

The latest data from DataReportal shows a positive trend for Twitter advertisers. Ad reach has increased from 436.4 million users in January 2022 to 556 million in January 2023.

Twitter is also the third most popular social network based on monthly unique visitors and page views globally, according to SimilarWeb data through December 2022.

Featured Image: Ascannio/Shutterstock

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AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?



AI Content Detection Software: Can They Detect ChatGPT?

We live in an age when AI technologies are booming, and the world has been taken by storm with the introduction of ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is capable of accomplishing a wide range of tasks, but one that it does particularly well is writing articles. And while there are many obvious benefits to this, it also presents a number of challenges.

In my opinion, the biggest hurdle that AI-generated written content poses for the publishing industry is the spread of misinformation.

ChatGPT, or any other AI tool, may generate articles that may contain factual errors or are just flat-out incorrect.

Imagine someone who has no expertise in medicine starting a medical blog and using ChatGPT to write content for their articles.

Their content may contain errors that can only be identified by professional doctors. And if that blog content starts spreading over social media, or maybe even ranks in Search, it could cause harm to people who read it and take erroneous medical advice.

Another potential challenge ChatGPT poses is how students might leverage it within their written work.

If one can write an essay just by running a prompt (and without having to do any actual work), that greatly diminishes the quality of education – as learning about a subject and expressing your own ideas is key to essay writing.

Even before the introduction of ChatGPT, many publishers were already generating content using AI. And while some honestly disclose it, others may not.

Also, Google recently changed its wording regarding AI-generated content, so that it is not necessarily against the company’s guidelines.

Image from Twitter, November 2022

This is why I decided to try out existing tools to understand where the tech industry is when it comes to detecting content generated by ChatGPT, or AI generally.

I ran the following prompts in ChatGPT to generate written content and then ran those answers through different detection tools.

  • “What is local SEO? Why it is important? Best practices of Local SEO.”
  • “Write an essay about Napoleon Bonaparte invasion of Egypt.”
  • “What are the main differences between iPhone and Samsung galaxy?”

Here is how each tool performed.


For the first prompt’s answer, fails, identifying ChatGPT’s content as 94% human-generated. resultsScreenshot from, January 2023

For the second prompt, it worked and detected it as AI-written content. test resultScreenshot from, January 2023

For the third prompt, it failed again.

Sample ResultScreenshot from, January 2023

However, when I tested real human-written text, did identify it as 100% human-generated very accurately.

2. Copyleaks

Copyleaks did a great job in detecting all three prompts as AI-written.

Sample ResultScreenshot from Copyleaks, January 2023

3. did a great job in detecting all three prompts as AI-written, even though the first prompt, it gave a 21% human score.

Contentscale.aiScreenshot from, January 2023

4. did a great job on all three prompts, accurately detecting them as AI-written.

Also, when I checked with real human-written text, it did identify it as 100% human-generated, which is essential.

Originality.aiScreenshot from, January 2023

You will notice that doesn’t detect any plagiarism issues. This may change in the future.

Over time, people will use the same prompts to generate AI-written content, likely resulting in a number of very similar answers. When these articles are published, they will then be detected by plagiarism tools.

5. GPTZero

This non-commercial tool was built by Edward Tian, and specifically designed to detect ChatGPT-generated articles. And it did just that for all three prompts, recognizing them as AI-generated.

GPTZeroScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

Unlike other tools, it gives a more detailed analysis of detected issues, such as sentence-by-sentence analyses.

sentence by sentence text perplexityScreenshot from GPTZero, January 2023

OpenAI’s AI Text Classifier

And finally, let’s see how OpenAi detects its own generated answers.

For the 1st and 3rd prompts, it detected that there is an AI involved by classifying it as “possibly-AI generated”.

AI Text Classifier. Likely AI-generatedAI Text Classifier. Likely AI-generated

But surprisingly, it failed for the 2nd prompt and classified that as “unlikely AI-generated.” I did play with different prompts and found that, as of the moment, when checking it, few of the above tools detect AI content with higher accuracy than OpenAi’s own tool.

AI Text Classifier. Unlikely AI-generatedAI Text Classifier. Unlikely AI-generated

As of the time of this check, they had released it a day before. I think in the future, they will fine tune it, and it will work much better.


Current AI content generation tools are in good shape and are able to detect ChatGPT-generated content (with varying degrees of success).

It is still possible for someone to generate copy via ChatGPT and then paraphrase that to make it undetectable, but that might require almost as much work as writing from scratch – so the benefits aren’t as immediate.

If you think about ranking an article in Google written by ChatGPT, consider for a moment: If the tools we looked at above were able to recognize them as AI-generated, then for Google, detecting them should be a piece of cake.

On top of that, Google has quality raters who will train their system to recognize AI-written articles even better by manually marking them as they find them.

So, my advice would be not to build your content strategy on ChatGPT-generated content, but use it merely as an assistant tool.

More resources: 

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Five things you need to know about content optimization in 2023



5 Things You Need To Know About Optimizing Content in 2023

30-second summary:

  • As the content battleground goes through tremendous upheaval, SEO insights will continue to grow in importance
  • ChatGPT can help content marketers get an edge over their competition by efficiently creating and editing high-quality content
  • Making sure your content rank high enough to engage the target audience requires strategic planning and implementation

Google is constantly testing and updating its algorithms in pursuit of the best possible searcher experience. As the search giant explains in its ‘How Search Works’ documentation, that means understanding the intent behind the query and bringing back results that are relevant, high-quality, and accessible for consumers.

As if the constantly shifting search landscape weren’t difficult enough to navigate, content marketers are also contending with an increasingly technology-charged environment. Competitors are upping the stakes with tools and platforms that generate smarter, real-time insights and even make content optimization and personalization on the fly based on audience behavior, location, and data points.

Set-it-and-forget-it content optimization is a thing of the past. Here’s what you need to know to help your content get found, engage your target audience, and convert searchers to customers in 2023.

AI automation going to be integral for content optimization


As the content battleground heats up, SEO insights will continue to grow in importance as a key source of intelligence. We’re optimizing content for humans, not search engines, after all – we had better have a solid understanding of what those people need and want.

While I do not advocate automation for full content creation, I believe next year – as resources become stretched automation will have a bigger impact on helping with content optimization of existing content.


ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, is a powerful language generation model that leverages the Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) architecture to produce realistic human-like text. With Chat GPT’s wide range of capabilities – from completing sentences and answering questions to generating content ideas or powering research initiatives – it can be an invaluable asset for any Natural Language Processing project.


The introduction on ChatGPT has caused considerable debate and explosive amounts of content on the web. With ChatGPT, content marketers can achieve an extra edge over their competition by efficiently creating and editing high-quality content. It offers assistance with generating titles for blog posts, summaries of topics or articles, as well as comprehensive campaigns when targeting a specific audience.

However, it is important to remember that this technology should be used to enhance human creativity rather than completely replacing it.

For many years now AI-powered technology has been helping content marketers and SEOs automate repetitive tasks such as data analysis, scanning for technical issues, and reporting, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. AI also enables real-time analysis of a greater volume of consumer touchpoints and behavioral data points for smarter, more precise predictive analysis, opportunity forecasting, real-time content recommendations, and more.

With so much data in play and recession concerns already impacting 2023 budgets in many organizations, content marketers will have to do more with less this coming year. You’ll need to carefully balance human creative resources with AI assists where they make sense to stay flexible, agile, and ready to respond to the market.

It’s time to look at your body of content as a whole

Google’s Helpful Content update, which rolled out in August, is a sitewide signal targeting a high proportion of thin, unhelpful, low-quality content. That means the exceptional content on your site won’t rank to their greatest potential if they’re lost in a sea of mediocre, outdated assets.

It might be time for a content reboot – but don’t get carried away. Before you start unpublishing and redirecting blog posts, lean on technology for automated site auditing and see what you can fix up first. AI-assisted technology can help sniff out on-page elements, including page titles and H1 tags, and off-page factors like page speed, redirects, and 404 errors that can support your content refreshing strategy.

Focus on your highest trafficked and most visible pages first, i.e.: those linked from the homepage or main menu. Google’s John Mueller confirmed recently that if the important pages on your website are low quality, it’s bad news for the entire site. There’s no percentage by which this is measured, he said, urging content marketers and SEOs to instead think of what the average user would think when they visit your website.

Take advantage of location-based content optimization opportunities

Consumers crave personalized experiences, and location is your low-hanging fruit. Seasonal weather trends, local events, and holidays all impact your search traffic in various ways and present opportunities for location-based optimization.

AI-assisted technology can help you discover these opportunities and evaluate topical keywords at scale so you can plan content campaigns and promotions that tap into this increased demand when it’s happening.

Make the best possible use of content created for locally relevant campaigns by repurposing and promoting it across your website, local landing pages, social media profiles, and Google Business Profiles for each location. Google Posts, for example, are a fantastic and underutilized tool for enhancing your content’s visibility and interactivity right on the search results page.

Optimize content with conversational & high-volume keywords

Look for conversational and trending terms in your keyword research, too. Top-of-funnel keywords that help generate awareness of the topic and spur conversations in social channels offer great opportunities for promotion. Use hashtags organically and target them in paid content promotion campaigns to dramatically expand your audience.

Conversational keywords are a good opportunity for enhancing that content’s visibility in search, too. Check out the ‘People Also Ask’ results and other featured snippets available on the search results page (SERP) for your keyword terms. Incorporate questions and answers in your content to naturally optimize for these and voice search queries.


It’s important that you utilize SEO insights and real-time data correctly; you don’t want to be targeting what was trending last month and is already over. AI is a great assist here, as well, as an intelligent tool can be scanning and analyzing constantly, sending recommendations for new content opportunities as they arise.

Consider how you optimize content based on intent and experience

The best content comes from a deep, meaningful understanding of the searcher’s intent. What problem were they experiencing or what need did they have that caused them to seek out your content in the first place? And how does your blog post, ebook, or landing page copy enhance their experience?

Look at the search results page as a doorway to your “home”. How’s your curb appeal? What do potential customers see when they encounter one of your pages in search results? What kind of experience do you offer when they step over the threshold and click through to your website?

The best content meets visitors where they are at with relevant, high-quality information presented in a way that is accessible, fast loading, and easy to digest. This is the case for both short and long form SEO content. Ensure your content contains calls to action designed to give people options and help them discover the next step in their journey versus attempting to sell them on something they may not be ready for yet.

2023, the year of SEO: why brands are leaning in and how to prepare


The audience is king, queen, and the entire court as we head into 2023. SEO and content marketing give you countless opportunities to connect with these people but remember they are a means to an end. Keep searcher intent and audience needs at the heart of every piece of content you create and campaign you plan for the coming year.

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