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Google on news sites and SEO best practices for short articles




Google’s John Mueller answers questions about SEO best practices on news websites. Especially because it is related to the publication of short articles.

According to Mueller, news sites don’t have to worry too much about article length. A short article may be sufficient for a particular query.

This is explained in the Google Search Central SEO Hangouts recorded on February 19th.

An SEO named Lene Hegland, who runs a news website, asks Mueller about the risk of short articles appearing as thin content.

She says she’s also considering noindexing articles that are one paragraph long, in case they help her site in search rankings.

Her concerns about thin content are justified, as Google is known to reduce the value of thin content.


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Google’s Panda algorithm updates are designed around reducing the prevalence of thin content with little or no added value.

What should Hegrand do about a short article on her news site? Should she noindex them so Google doesn’t see thin content?

This is what Mueller recommends.

Google John Mueller on a short news article

It’s related to noindexing short articles, so Mueller says it depends on whether the site owner wants to index the page.

Mueller says he doesn’t think the noindex tag is needed just because the article is short. This is because even small articles may be fine.

“You can use noindex if you don’t want it to appear in your search, but I don’t think you need to use noindex just because it’s a short news article.

Even a short article may be perfectly fine. I don’t really focus on article length, but want to index it? “


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Hegrand says, she wants to index articles on Google search, but she’s worried about sending a negative signal with thin content.

Mueller tries to reassure her by saying that Google doesn’t care about the length of the content:

“In web search, I don’t care about the length of the article. I don’t know if there is a policy about Google News. Especially if you say this is on a news website, this news article is too long or too short. I vaguely remember the first error I encountered in Search Console.

Maybe it’s something that plays a role there with respect to news content. In that case, you can also use the Googlebot News meta tag to specifically block from Google News. Just block it in Google News while still showing it in the search results. “

Short content is not automatically displayed as thin content. Google does not value content based solely on its length.

Long articles have an equal risk of appearing as thin content if they are full of spam or if they don’t provide anything specific to the web.

Content that has been duplicated or scraped from another source without new information added is other forms of thin content.

Short articles can provide value when you provide something new and useful to the Web, such as the latest news updates not found on other sites.

Even short content is fine as long as you answer the user’s question. Google aims to provide the best results for every search, not the longest.


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Listen to Mueller’s reaction in the video below:

For more information on this Hangouts, see the following articles:

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