SEO is all about common sense

A study published under the name Google News Ranking Factors 2011 outlines the 10 most important factors that decide ranking on Google News – one of the biggest news aggregators in the world. And the result is good news for everyone, especially those who fret spending more money on expensive SEO services.

I’ve said it many times before, and now it’s supported by cold hard data: SEO (Search Engine Optimization), at least for Google News, is more about common sense and good writing than code magic and secret formulas. SEO service providers everywhere should cringe at this news because it proves, once again, that anyone can do this.

You can go check out the 10 most important factors that decide ranking on Google News right on the site. Highlights include authority, keywords in headings, trustworthiness, sitemaps and quality.

Overall the factors can be split into three groups:

  • Trustworthiness (1, 3, 4, 6, 8 )
  • Good writing and good journalism (2, 5, 7, 9)
  • Good coding practice (10)

Improve your SEO with some Common Sense

Based on this study and many others it is clear that rather than you don’t need to find a secret formula for how to trick the search engines into ranking your content higher. Instead you need should take the three main areas above and make them your mantra:

  • Do your research, make sure to quote and link your sources and only publish accurate and topical content. That way people trust you, share your content and your ranking will grow.
  • Make sure your writing is solid, both in the title and the body of the article. Better written articles are better rated. For the title, research what keywords people are looking for on the topic and use them, but use them sparingly. In other words, write titles that ask or answer a question directly.
  • Build the back end of your site properly, use the correct tags and above all create a Google XML Sitemap for your site so Google has an easier time indexing your content.

For the last point, if you have a WordPress site you can get Google XML Sitemaps by installing a simple plugin.

Get the whole study and read it for yourself over at Google News Ranking Factors 2011 (via ReadWriteWeb).