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Where to start with news SEO for small publishers

If you’re interested in news SEO or growing search traffic as a publisher, but don’t have a lot of in-house resources and aren’t sure where to start, here’s a quick guide:

Keyword research

Google News (

Google Trends (

Answer the Public (

People Also Ask/search bar on the Google SERPs (search engine results page)


  • Keywords are the words or phrases that search users are actually searching on Google. If your content is about that keyword, you want to make sure that interested search user finds your content, by making that the “target keyword” in your headline, display copy, etc. Be specific with your keywords.
  • Think about your target keywords and where in the headline you’re placing them
  • Be aware of headline length limits on desktop and mobile
  • Don’t forget to put related keywords in subheadlines, display copy (subheds throughout the story, video titles and captions, etc.)
  • Try different headline formats – question, explainer, etc.
  • Here a great article explaining all the places Google might pull a headline from on your article pages:


What is difference between a keyword or tag?

A keyword is the word or phrase people are searching for, and can be very specific (i.e. armadillo evolution). You use the keywords you’re targeting with a particular piece of content in your headline, subheadlines, text, etc.

A tag is basically a way to let readers and Google know what overall categories each piece of content belongs to. For example, an article about armadillo evolution might fit in Science, Evolution, Animals and Explainers tags. When a reader clicks on/Google follows a tag link, they get to a topic page, made up of all the articles that have that tag. This can help you build authority for different topics you cover often.

Learn more

Where does news publishers’ traffic come from on Google? 

News SEO Basics from the News Dashboard 

News SEO tipsheets 

Really helpful visual guide to the SEO topics you can study and how to work through them, plus lots of great resources:

A news SEO specific newsletter to sign up for:

Trends in search + news

AMP to Google Page Experience/Core Web Vitals (estimated May 2021):

Google Discover:,t%20even%20know%20you%20needed.&text=Google%20suggests%20content%20for%20a,location%20history%20and%20location%20settings.

Google News Showcase:

Google Voice Search: