SEO For News Websites With Barry Adams

For those looking to start their own news site, Barry offered this advice:

  • Build a dedicated news platform – don’t try optimizing a subsection of a broader site.
  • Consistently publish high-quality, original reporting – higher volume is better.
  • Focus coverage on a specific niche area or local market. Avoid being too general.
  • Be extremely patient – with the algorithmic approval process, now takes 2+ years to get into Google News.
  • Prioritize technical SEO from the beginning – this lays the groundwork for ranking success. Don’t leave it as an afterthought.

Barry noticed a major gap – few specialists were leveraging SEO specifically to help news sites. He leaned into his expertise in this niche by launching a dedicated newsletter and working with major global publications.

Google crawls news homepages constantly, as often as every 5 seconds for major outlets. With this speed, performance is critical – pages must load lightning fast.

Link Building

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The preference for latest content explains why news SEO is so time-sensitive. Google wants fresh information to surface rapidly. The lack of deduplication also poses challenges to original publishers.

Advice for Launching a Brand New News Website

For news, the critical element is the headline used in your structured data, not the title tag. It must contain maximum relevancy to the core topic while still being engaging.

Crawl Speed

Listen to SEO for News Websites by Barry Adams

Some of the key takeaways included:

  • The need for an urgent, pre-publish SEO workflow.
  • Crafting engaging, relevant headlines while using strategic keywords.
  • Linking internally to highlight authority versus external link building.
  • Balancing crawl efficiency via pagination and site speed.
  • Avoiding client-side rendering of content.
  • Securing Google News approval now takes years of building reputation.
  • Prioritizing technical SEO from the outset.

Today, Barry runs a successful consultancy helping news publishers optimize their presence. He’s rightly earned a reputation as a guru on applying SEO in the news arena.

SEO for Google News Websites

Where News SEO and “Classic SEO” Diverge

Barry humbly describes himself as an “SEO dinosaur”, having been in the industry since the early days of the late 1990s. His passion for search began in university when he built a personal website that was struggling to get traffic. This motivated Barry to explore how to make his site more findable.

Use keywords in the first 5-8 words while crafting compelling, accurate headlines.

  1. Build high-quality author pages and bios to reinforce expertise.

According to Barry, the news environment has unique dynamics that necessitate specialized strategies:


Tags and categories are hugely impactful for news SEO. They showcase the breadth of topics covered while demonstrating specialty/expertise to Google.

Google indexes news rapidly, so content must be baked into the HTML source code. Relying on client-side JavaScript risks pages being crawled before fully rendering.

Time is of the essence with news SEO – you must optimize content for search before publishing. Don’t count on going back later.

  1. Optimize headlines for maximum relevancy to search intent and high engagement.

I recently had the absolute privilege of speaking with Barry Adams, a pioneering SEO consultant who has dedicated over 20 years to optimizing news websites.

The SEO Podcast by #SEOSLY is sponsored by JetOctopus

You can listen to episode #60 of the SEO Podcast by #SEOSLY below.

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Drawing from his wealth of hands-on experience optimizing major news brands, Barry prescribed the following blueprint for success:

  1. Install an SEO workflow for journalists before publishing.

My conversation with Barry revealed some fascinating insights into Google’s algorithmic handling of news results:

  • The URL is the sole unique identifier – not headline/content. Changing the URL resets the content as “new” to Google.
  • Newer articles tend to rank better – Google sees the index date as the publication date.
  • Poor at deduplication – scraped or republished content often outranks the original source.
  • Specialist/local sites preferred for niche topics rather than general news.
  • Getting approved in news listings now takes ~2 years with the new algorithmic inclusion process. Previously this was a manual review.

A defining moment came for Barry in 2007 when he attended the Search Engine Strategies conference in New York. Legends like Matt Cutts spoke at the event. Despite feeling confident in his abilities prior, Barry emerged with a sobering realization – he was still a total SEO novice compared to the experts.

Sub-500ms page load times should be the goal. Optimize images, scripts, databases, etc.

  1. Avoid client-side rendering of content to match Google’s indexing.

Serve fully rendered HTML pages instead of relying on JavaScript.

I’m grateful to Barry for so generously sharing his expertise during our conversation. Veterans like him are invaluable in moving the SEO profession forward.

Watch SEO for News Websites with Barry Adams

Internal links play a bigger role with news versus external links. Emphasize topical strengths.

  1. Use tags strategically to indicate main areas of coverage and depth.

Unlike blogs with endless posts per page, news needs crawlable, controlled pagination. This proves comprehensive coverage of a beat versus only having a few articles.

No Client-Side Rendering

Episode #60 of the SEO Podcast by #SEOSLY features an absolute star in SEO, Barry Adams, who is best known for SEO for news websites.

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It was truly inspiring to learn from such a knowledgeable veteran like Barry. His wisdom around the unique nuances of news SEO was incredibly helpful.

After graduating, Barry pursued a career in web development and infrastructure. His specialized knowledge in areas like HTML and server configuration gave him a strong technical foundation. When Barry started getting assigned website management duties, he leveraged his existing SEO knowledge.


I invite you to subscribe to the SEO Podcast by #SEOSLY to keep learning SEO with me and the SEO experts I interview.

SEO for news websites

SEO for News Publishers with Barry Adams

Being timely content, news articles tend to naturally attract links. This reduces dependence on proactive link building. The focus shifts to internal linking to highlight topical authority.


As you can see, optimizing news requires special considerations and tactics compared to “classic” SEO for content sites, ecommerce, etc. The immutable time element and Google’s rapid crawling mandate an entirely unique approach.

Barry’s Blueprint for Optimizing News Websites

Though indirect, strong author profiles boost site reputation and authority.

  1. Implement an effective internal linking structure that highlights authority.