A recent publisher survey suggests developing content that makes a site a category authority is even more important than breaking a story when it comes to Google News visibility.
A survey conductedby a team of web journalism experts from Newsknife, Perfect Market and the Local SEO Guide(L) reveals that developing niche thought leadership and keyword strategies must be the top priorities for organizations looking to improve their visibility in Google News. The findings were presented at the Online News Association conference in Boston this week.

Content marketing(L) campaigns have evolved in recent years, as the metrics for measuring their content’s performance have been adjusted to scrutinize low-quality content. Among survey respondents are top SEO strategists for major publishers including The New York Times and Conde Nast. Marketers should take note of the derived Google News ranking factors as this space, known for high quality standards, offers access to a valuable information-driven audience.

Developing an authoritative voice within an industry is the most important step for a company, cited as the No.1 News ranking factor. Without content that demonstrates expertise, prospects are unlikely to return for more information. Of course, keywords signify the topic covered in content and a well-developed keyword strategy is cited as No. 2 for improved Google News ranking.

Targeting other channels to drive readership is equally important. The survey found that using Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms will help drive News search rankings. Additionally, engaging prospects through these platforms will foster loyal readership and increase overall exposure for content.

Perhaps the most surprising element was that “First to Publish Story” ranked No. 5 on the survey results. As web content has evolved, the sheer amount of sources publishing content has shifted the focus from speed to quality.

“Ranking for top stories in Google News is the Holy Grail for news sites, yet there has been little public discussion within the SEO community of how to do it,” Andrew Shotland of LocalSEOGuide.com said in a release.

Developing high-quality content can be difficult for some businesses. However, using quality content writers – whether internal or outsourced – can help drive SEO(L) campaigns. As a company produces high volumes of high-quality, varied content, their addition in Google News may improve. This offers access to information-driven consumers in a less-cluttered space, which might improve conversions.

In general, marketers are finding that audience targeting is the key to adding value through content marketing – news or otherwise. Brafton reported last week that industry experts have urged companies to ensure that each piece of content is aimed at one of the business’ desired demographics.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.