So you have a WordPress blog setup and you are following all the rules and suggestions for getting your news content into Google News. Namely, you have multiple authors, mostly with bios. You named an editor. Your post URLs include a unique 3 digit number (although some say that isn’t required anymore).

Your site map and RSS feed contain only the last couple of day’s worth of news. Everything is humming along. You post your news and even though the titles aren’t exactly SEO optimized you are using meta news keywords so your posts show up near instantly. People are searching news.google.com (or whatever TLD), and your stuff is showing up in the latest news.

You are getting hordes of traffic, your AdSense clicks are on the rise, you order more content from your authors, or you publish some of your own. The results are the same: lots of traffic, lots of AdSense clicks, great ROI… so you rinse and repeat.

no results in Google News

Making undocumented changes

The you ask, how can I make my news blog even better? So you start making some changes. But here is where I would like to caution you. Every single change that you make, no matter how minor, test to make sure you are still getting your news indexed just like before.

Make multiple changes and forget what they were, you could have a heck of a time, and much revenue loss, trying to sort out the issue. One culprit… certainly not deliberately, is the Simple Featured Posts Widget for WordPress. Cool plugin.

What Is This WordPress Plugin Good For?

What this plugin does is create a widget that can be placed in a widgetable area, just like any good widget. It provides a list of posts, with some smart thumbnail grabbing. Posts are pulled either randomly, by category, or by date, and are called “featured.” A little misleading, but that seems to be the standard for anything “featured” in WordPress themes and plugins. It attempts to automate a featured list which cannot be automated. That’s not the point here though.

Activating this plugin, in my testing, will cease all Google News indexing for your WordPress blog. How so? It seems that because the date isn’t shown in the indexed list, Google stops pulling content from the site. Deactivate the plugin and your AdSense news site is back in business, or at least mine was. The morale? Test after every change, even if the change is seemingly simple. It could save you time, frustration, and lost revenue. Perhaps this suggestion is of value for more than just news sites, and WordPress blogs.

Bonus Google News tips

Here are a few prerequisites to keep in mind if you think you want to start a news site that you ultimately want to get into Google News.

  • Your content reports on timely events and ideas.
  • The content is unique and is produced and edited by the owner’s of the site.
  • Contact information is available.
  • Authors are fully attributed.
  • The news area is free of links to product listings, classifieds ads, and other promotional material.
  • Publication dates and times are easily indentified.