The Google News blog has an excellent post on the truths and myths of how Google News works. Here is the short version:
- Images don’t help your articles rank higher (there is a but…)
- Google News currently can’t fetch revisions to articles
- Timing your articles for specific releases won’t help it rank better in Google News
- You need text in your articles; Google can’t include a picture with no text in the news index
- Google Webmaster Tools has a section for News content, so you can see Google News-specific errors
- Google Sitemaps does not help with boosting the ranking of an article in Google News
- A site redesign, specifically new site and URL architecture, may impact your performance and indexing by Google News
- Google AdSense has no impact on your Google News ranking
If I had to add my own advice, based on reading the SEO forums on a daily basis, I would add that the only way to get included in Google News is to be reviewed by a human and be manually included in the Google News index. Good SEO won’t get you included in Google News, no matter how many links you have. You still need a manual review. You can request such a review using this form.
The major takeaways I had from this post are two things:
(1) Google News is working on a way to check your articles for updates. Sometime in the future, if you make changes to a story, Google will be aware of those updates. This is something most publishers want from Google News.
(2) Good images can be featured in Google News and if you click on the image, as opposed to the story hyperlink, the story hosting the image will be the destination URL. So although images won’t help you rank your story headline higher, the image may be featured next to other stories and can increase your traffic from Google News.