Google Search + Google News - there must be a better way

Update: I did follow the Ghost tutorial to set up a Google News sitemap just now. But definitely hope for and open to other feedback. Thank you!

Hi! I run a news website in Berkeley, CA, that publishes daily stories about public safety. It has been my beat for the past 10 years.

I launched my site at the end of September, so it’s new, and I’m sure that’s a factor. But I’ve already published 80 stories; most are scoops and exclusives. My site is indexed but I’m still having some serious issues. I’ve had links from regional and national outlets due to all the stories I’ve been breaking, but I’m still just getting very low Google visibility.

Fortunately, social, direct and referral traffic have all been awesome. But search is obviously a key piece as I grow. All my SEO is optimized. But it’s not helping at all.

Here are some of my main pain points right now. I feel like there must be more I can do to make this better.

(1) Even though I run all my stories through Google Search Console, they take hours or longer to be indexed. That obviously doesn’t work for a news source where most of my stories are scoops and breaking news. I’m just using the basic Ghost sitemap …

(2) Searching for “berkeley scanner” leads folks to my site which is great. But searches for specific article subjects or more general things like Berkeley crime and Berkeley police (the focus of nearly all my stories) just don’t lead to my site at all - or I am VERY far down the rankings. It’s frustrating when I am the one breaking news that others pick up (and often credit me for, via link and name!) - but Google still isn’t surfacing my stories in any way.

(3) My publication is listed in Google News, but searching for key terms in my stories (headline, lede, etc.) does not result in my stories being shown AT ALL for any search; searching for my site name in Google News ONLY pulls up other news sites that link to me and my scoops. I can’t figure out why that is or if there’s some change I need to make in the News Publisher center setup.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.



Have you recently moved to Ghost or have you used Ghost all along?

In my case, I moved from WordPress and just created a new feed which used the same RSS path as WordPress instead of Ghost’s default and all headlines on Google News, get indexed straight away. I didn’t bother with a specific news sitemap.

Hi! I’ve been on Ghost all along. For me - Google News was reading my RSS as an empty section until I created the Google News sitemap. I had always read you didn’t need to have a Google News sitemap, but this also isn’t my area of expertise. The Ghost tutorial was fantastic and immediately solved the problem I was having.

Before that, though, I had tried using /feed/ (based on something else from the forum) but it was still giving me the empty section error, with no way to fix it.

I’m just glad I noticed that new (?) Ghost tutorial on the Google News sitemap. Esp bc Google’s documentation about how to do this same thing left a lot of open questions (as a non-coder).

I hope this fixes some of the other issues I was having in terms of slow indexing and low visibility - but time will tell! In the meantime, I’m happy my Google News listing at least looks the way I want it to look (which was not the case before).

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@Berkeley_Scanner Glad to hear you were able to get a Google News sitemap up and running :raised_hands: nice work!

As for SEO, I’ve had a quick look at your site and didn’t spot any issues. It sounds like you’re already doing all of the right things (publishing high quality content frequently, optimizing your content, submitting new URLs to Search Console, getting backlinks).

AHREFs shows me that your domain is very new, which explains why Google is slow to index new pages. Building up your domain for SEO is a slow burn, but if you keep doing what you’re doing, over time, your domain will gain more authority.

As you can see here, everything is trending in the right direction:

Thank you for sending! I appreciate it.