Google News Sitemaps are specifically designed to allow you to control what news is submitted to Google. More specifically they allow Google to:

  • Identify specifically which are news articles
  • Spider and Index your news article faster
  • Identify the article titles, as well as the publication date for each article
  • Find each articles unique metadata to display
  • Specify article content with unique tags

Additionally Google states that you should only include news articles that are less than two days old (48 hours), this ensures that the content is fresh. A Google News Sitemap can contain no more that 1,000 urls, to add more you can utilise a sitemap_index file (which I have previously described how to create: The how to guide for Sitemap Index XML Files).

Google News Sitemap Structure

Included below is an example of a Google News Sitemap structure which includes some of the unique tags that can be applied:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"
        xmlns:news="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-news/0.9">
  <url>
    <loc>http://www.example.org/business/article55.html</loc>
    <news:news>
      <news:publication>
        <news:name>Sam Osborne SEO</news:name>
        <news:language>en</news:language>
      </news:publication>
      <news:access>Registration</news:access>
      <news:genres>UserGenerated, Opinion</news:genres>
      <news:publication_date>2011-11-26</news:publication_date>
      <news:title>How to Create a Google News Sitemap</news:title>
      <news:keywords>google news, sitemaps, xml</news:keywords>
      <news:stock_tickers>IAMASTOCK, SEOSTOCK</news:stock_tickers>
    </news:news>
  </url>
</urlset>

Google News Sitemap Tag Information

Each of these tags has specific requirements and not all of them are needed, for example:

<Publication> Tag

The publication tag requires a name and a location tag as children, For example, if the name appears in Google News as “Sam Osborne SEO (registration)”, you should use the name, “Sam Osborne SEO”. The language tag is pretty simple, its the language of your publication in short format, en for english, fi for finnish and it for italian as so on. This tag is required.

<Access> Tag

The access tag describes the accessibility of the article, if the article is accessible to Google News readers without a registration or subscription, this tag should be left out.

<Genre> Tag

The genre tag is a comma-separated list of properties defining the content of the article, such as “Opinion” or “UserGenerated.” See Google News content properties for a list of possible values.

<Publication_Date> Tag

The publication_date tag displays the date the article was published. Google will accept any of the formats below:

  • Complete date – YYYY-MM-DD (e.g., 1997-07-16)
  • Complete date plus hours and minutes – YYYY-MM-DDThh:mmTZD  (e.g., 1997-07-16T19:20+01:00)
  • Complete date plus hours, minutes and seconds – YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ssTZD (e.g., 1997-07-16T19:20:30+01:00)

<Title> Tag

The article title tag should only include the title of the article as it appears on your site, try not to duplicate any information such as the author, the date the article was published. This is something that is recommended to include but is not required.

<Geo_Locations> Tag

The geo_locations tag is added to help Google identify the geographic location of your articles. This can be great to use if you have sections of your site that cater to different locations around the world. Again this is not required but is generally recommended.

<Keyword> Tag

The keyword tag can be used to specify relevant keywords for the article, there is no limit but its generally recommended to keep the individual word count to less that 10 as not to appear spammy in the Google News algorithm.

<Stock_Ticker> Tag

The last tag that can be added is the stock_ticker. So if you had written an article about Admiral Car Insurance and wanted to include the Stock Ticker for them you would include “LON:ADM”.

In my next installation of XML Sitemap guides I will be writing about how to include images within a Google News Sitemap. This will hopefully be shorter that this post!

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