News articles and sites, from Google tips to manage them the SEO way

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How can you effectively manage a news site? How can you approach very short news articles, such as flash news? And what about the press releases? Those who work in the editorial field often find themselves dealing with these (and other) thorny issues, which risk leading – when the solutions taken do not prove suitable – in SEO problems throughout the site: Google’s John Mueller answered some of these doubts, offering its indications to optimize a news site.

News sites and flash articles

The first point addressed by the lead of the Google Search Relations team during a recent appointment with the “Google Search Center’s consulting sessions” concerns a specific aspect of the life of an editorial site, namely the publication of shorter articles. The potential risk is that Google can identify these flash news as thin content, as it consists of little text, sometimes not exceeding the single paragraph; for this reason, an SEO asked directly to Mueller what was the recommended path, and if it could be a valid idea not to index these short articles at all to help the site’s overall performance on Google.

A flash, but useful, news is not at thin content risk

The Googler’s answer is quite clear and reassuring: news sites should not worry too much about the length of the articles, because even very short articles sometimes “go well for the date query” and Google does not automatically label short content as thin content. Mueller reiterates once again that Google does not use content length metrics for ranking – hence, the word count is a parameter that can be taken as a statistical reference, not as a peremptory indication – and indeed says that for the General Search on the Web Google “does not care about the length of the articles“, admitting not to know if there is a different policy for Google News. In any case, in both cases the content of the news is relevant: even short articles, of few words, can provide value if they contribute to give new and useful information to readers or if they answer the question of who performs a query. On the contrary, content that is duplicated or copied from other sources is viewed in a negative way, which does not add new information, as well as those filled with spam and, in general, articles that “do not contribute something unique to the web”. In these cases, no matter the word count and even long articles run the same risk of being seen as thin content. The goal of Google – in Search, but also for news – is to provid