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.
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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.
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.
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.
- 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.
Time is of the essence with news SEO – you must optimize content for search before publishing. Don’t count on going back later.
- 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.
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You can listen to episode #60 of the SEO Podcast by #SEOSLY below.
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Optimizing news sites requires a markedly different approach compared to standard SEO across industries like ecommerce, lead generation, and blogging.
Barry offered a wealth of practical insights into succeeding with search as a news publisher in today’s increasingly competitive landscape. In this comprehensive article, I’ll provide a detailed overview of Barry’s sage advice on leveraging SEO to grow your news site.
Introducing Barry Adams – The Expert in SEO for News Websites
With news sites, you only get one shot at optimizing an article for SEO, as Google indexes them rapidly after publishing. There’s no option to retroactively go back and tweak things later, as you would have with evergreen content sites. The moment you hit publish, that article better be optimized.
Tags showcase content breadth. Follow best practices for consolidating and sunsetting stale tags.
- Paginate content properly based on volume – not too much or too little.
In 2014, Barry went independent and started an SEO consultancy. After working with the Sun Newspaper in London in 2016, he shifted his focus exclusively to news SEO.
This ignited Barry’s passion to truly master SEO. Over the next decade, he continued learning and specializing in search. This included serving as Webmaster for an international company and honing his skills in-house at a local newspaper.
This battle-tested formula will help any news publisher optimize their website for visibility in SERPs and news-specific products like Google Top Stories.
Interesting Facts on Google’s News Algorithm
Aspiring news publishers must have realistic expectations about the runway required to gain approval. But by respecting Google’s requirements and priorities, emerging sites can eventually gain visibility alongside established news brands.
Key Takeaways from My Interview with Barry Adams
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Facilitate crawling by breaking content into logical pages with 50-100 articles each.
- Accelerate server response time – news crawls demand speed.
Barry offered phenomenal insights into the intricacies of optimizing news sites based on his decades of specialty experience.
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Drawing from his wealth of hands-on experience optimizing major news brands, Barry prescribed the following blueprint for success:
- 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.
- Avoid client-side rendering of content to match Google’s indexing.
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.