Sitemaps Series: Specialized Sitemaps – Google News Sitemaps

By Janet Driscoll Miller | Mar 16, 2010
More Articles by Janet


In the last several posts I’ve covered the basic Google Sitemaps, but there are additional types of Sitemaps to consider using based on the type of content you produce. But one of the most commonly used specialized Sitemaps is a Google News Sitemap.

Image representing Google News as depicted in ...Image via CrunchBase

News Sitemaps allow you to control what type of information you submit to Google News. However, Google News doesn’t necessarily favor your web pages for inclusion in Google News just because you have a Google News Sitemap.

Before You Get Started

Before you create a Google News Sitemap, you should make sure that your site is registered with Google as a news website. You can request that Google include your site in Google News by clicking here.

How Is a News Sitemap Different than a Regular Google Sitemap?

A Google News Sitemap, while XML-based like regular Google Sitemaps, has a different structure than regular Google Sitemaps. Here’s an example of how a Google News Sitemap’s XML code looks:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9″ xmlns:n=”http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap-news/0.9″>
<url>
<loc>http://www.example.org/business/article55.html</loc>
<n:news>
<n:publication>
<n:name>The Example Times</n:name>
<n:language>en</n:language>
</n:publication>
<n:access>subscription</n:access>
<n:genres>pressrelease, blog</n:genres>
<n:publication_date>2008-12-23</n:publication_date>
<n:title>Companies A, B in Merger Talks</n:title>
<n:keywords>business, merger, acquisition, A, B</n:keywords>
<n:stock_tickers>NASDAQ:A, NASDAQ:B</n:stock_tickers>
</n:news>
</url>
</urlset>

In a Google News Sitemap, each news item is delineated using the <url> start and end tags. Within that tag is the familiar <loc> tag, also used in regular Google Sitemaps, which provides the URL location of that piece of news. However, the remaining tags are a bit different.

After the <loc> tag is the <n:news> start and end tags, which indicate that this particular URL is a news piece. The <n:name> tag provides the name of the publication providing the news and <n:language> indicates the language that the piece is written in. The <n:access> tag indicates to Google if the news source is subscription based or free. If this content is free and does not require registration, you can remove this tag. The tag <n:genres> is a list of Google News content properties. There are set types of properties that you can access by clicking here. In this case, we have indicated that the type of content is press release or blog content. Separate multiple types here by commas, as shown in the example. <n:publication_date> is the date the content was published, <n:title> is the title of the piece of news, <n:keywords> are the keywords that you think best describe the news content subject matter, each word/phrase separated by commas. There’s an existing list of Google News keywords that you can also refer to by clicking here. Finally, if your news story refers to a company and you wish to include its stock ticker, you can do so in the <n:stock_tickers> tag. You can use up to five stock tickers, separated by commas, and the tickers must match the ones used in Google Finance.

Registering Your Google News Sitemap

Once you’ve created your Google News Sitemap, you’ll need to register it via Google Webmaster Tools, just as you would a regular Google Sitemap. For instructions on how to register and verify your Sitemaps with Google, click here to refer to an earlier post on the subject.

While Bing can use regular Google Sitemaps for indexing website content, Bing does not currently have a clear method for inclusion in the Bing News area. So likely you will only be able to use your Google News Sitemap for Google News at this time.

Google News Sitemaps Limitations

Like all Google Sitemaps, there are limitations to keep in mind when working with Google News Sitemaps:

  • Google requests that Google News Sitemaps only contain news items from the past two days.
  • Like regular Google Sitemaps, Google News Sitemaps are limited to 50,000 entries or 10MB of file size.
  • If you have more than 50,000 entries, consider using a Sitemap Index. However, Google does indicate that a News Sitemap Index can only have 1,000 entries (vs. a regular Google Sitemaps Index, which can have up to 50,000).

Tomorrow I’ll cover another type of specialized Sitemap: Google Video Sitemaps. Stay tuned!

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