A Step-by-Step News Article Template with SEO Best Practices

Optimizing your News Article Layout is an important task especially for big publishers. Optimizing this one template results in optimizing 80%+ of your organic search traffic. Find below a step-by-step SEO guide for each of the news article elements. 

For a printable PDF, click here.


Check our Master News SEO Series

Can we help you get more traffic from Google News Surfaces?

  • Google Search Top Stories Visibility
  • Google Search Top Ranked News Keywords & Trends
  • News Verticals Authority
  • Trend Gaps
  • Beta invite to Google Discover Analytics
  • and more
  • Note: It is our responsibility to protect your privacy and we guarantee that your data will be completely confidential.

    blogs form

    NewzDash may contact me to follow up on my request and email me News-SEO related updates with me.


    • This component has a minimal impact on rankings. So, don't fret over URL optimization. An optimized headline will naturally optimize your URL.
    • Keep URLs free of dates.
    • Recommendations include the use of lowercase and hyphens.
    • Eliminate stopwords.

    <HTML> Title (SEO Title)

    • This is visible in Google's Top Stories.
    • Compose clear, descriptive, and unambiguous headlines to appeal to readers scanning search results.
    • Ensure your primary keywords/entities are placed at the start or as early as possible in the title. Place quotes and brands towards the end.
    • Aim for optimized rankings (SEO Keywords) and clicks (Engaged).
    • Use passive voice when required (e.g., "[Celebrity Name] was bitten by a dog").
    • Include entities (like full names, organizations, events, locations) coupled with keyword qualifiers whenever you can.
    • Avoid abbreviating crucial terms unless they are commonly recognized.
    • Prefer digits over text (e.g., "9" instead of "Nine").
    • Use terms people are actually searching for and avoid uncommon language (e.g., prefer "Pope John Paul Dies" over "Papacy Change").
    • For annual events, the year should follow the event name (like "Oscars 2019").
    • Steer clear of generic franchise headlines like "Things to Know this Morning".
    • Aim for headlines of 60-65 characters (or 512 pixels).

    Article Headline

    • Should always be the only H1 on the page
    • Same SEO as SEO Title when possible
    • This is the visible headline in the article and Google News.
    • A headline length of 5-12 words is optimal.
    • It should closely align with the SEO title.
    • While it can be creative, it must include main keywords.


    • helps readers get an idea of the story and make a decision about whether they should continue on to read the full article


    • By Author: The author of the article. 
    • Publish or Modified Date and Time. 

    Images & Videos

    • Include and optimize Rich Media for better rankings.
    • High-quality images (1200 px minimum + enabled max-image-preview-large) are strongly advised, particularly for Google Discover.
    • Provide captions for gallery images.
    • Embed keywords within image filenames & video files.
    • Use keyword phrases to describe images in alt text - necessary for ADA compliance and useful for SEO.

    First Paragraph (lede)

    • In the first one to two paragraphs of your article, include all keywords and entities and answer the 5 W's: Who, What, When, Where, and Why.
    • Maintain a focused writing style, applying the Inverted Pyramid method where the most critical content facts are stated first.

    Article Body

    • Engage readers with unique and valuable content, enhancing readability by using short paragraphs and bullet points. Remember to naturally incorporate keywords throughout.
    • Start your content with a location when relevant.
    • Naturally incorporate keywords into the first paragraph & throughout the body – remember to write for your readers and Google.
    • Highlight and embolden important words throughout.
    • Publish fast, then update - News content should be at least 100 words. 
    • Avoid embedding (social media) in the first 100 words.
    • Trigger Freshness Signals by: updating content when new significant info is available, add/swap images, update headline, tweak subheadings
    • Answer relevant questions, especially the ones that appear in Google People Also Ask.

    Bolded H2 Subheadings

    • Use subheadings to break up the article every few paragraphs, giving an indication of the upcoming content and providing multiple entry points for the reader.
    • Make content more readable for those who scan content.
    • Highlight secondary keywords.


    • Include internal links to related articles and main tag/topic pages.
    • Avoid using generic phrases like "click here", "view more" for internal linking.
    • Link externally to authoritative relevant content, but not with keywords you aim to rank for.
    • Avoid external links in the first paragraph.
    • Never link to spammy or harmful websites.
    • Inline Contextual links are stronger than links placed below the article.

    End of Article

    • End the article with a compelling CTA to engage readers, increase conversion rates, and guide users towards the desired action.

    Behind the scenes

    • Ensure usage of the NewsArticle JSON-LD Schema.
    • The NewsArticle Headline should match the SEO Title and appear in Google's Top Stories.
    • Include the following info: Author, author.name, author.url, datePublished, dateModified, Image.
    • Optimize your OG:Title for social media and Google Discover.
    • Meta Description: Think of this as a brief summary for search engines, which helps in driving click-throughs. Include your focus keyword and maintain a length of 150-160 characters.

    Social Sharing

    • Boost visibility by incorporating easy social sharing options for readers.

    Get ALL Google
    News and Web Stats for your news site and your
    competitors today!

    Share this post

    Leave a comment

    Get ALL Google News and Web Stats for your news site and your competitors today!

    The #1 News Rankings analytics

    NEWS SEO Newsletter - Subscribe NOW

    Our Clients


    Best SEO Software - Global Search Awards Best SEO Software - US Search Awards Best SEO Software - UK Search Awards Best SEO Software - European Search Awards Best SEO Software - European Search Awards