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.
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- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Boost visibility by incorporating easy social sharing options for readers.