Achieving a Google Top Story feature can seem elusive. Yet, it hinges on clear criteria and actionable tactics. This article strips back the complexity to offer concise steps toward elevating your content: perfecting its quality, mastering SEO, and nailing the technical aspects—your guide to unlocking prime visibility in Google’s search results.

Key Takeaways

  • Content featured in Google Top Stories benefits from adherence to Google’s E-A-T principles, freshness within 48 hours, utilization of structured data, and factors influencing user interactions and relevance.
  • Optimizing content for Google Top Stories requires creating high-quality, fresh content consistent with Google News content policies, improving website speed and user experience, and employing structured data and rich snippets for better content indexing.
  • In addition to optimizing direct content factors, boosting your content’s exposure and visibility in Google Top Stories can be achieved through an active and strategic presence on social media and partnerships with influencers, while monitoring and analyzing performance with tools like Google Analytics and Search Console.

Understanding Google Top Stories

Google’s Top Stories feature is a unique presentation style that brings together various sources from the web such as articles and videos, all carefully selected to match a user’s search query. By utilizing advanced machine learning technology, this tool gathers, filters, and ranks relevant content to increase visibility on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). It offers an effective way of showcasing your stories among top results on Google.

How Top Stories appear in search results

Illustration showing how Top Stories appear in Google Search results

One of Google’s prominent features, Top Stories, is designed to showcase news content related to a user’s search query. It has been optimized for different devices and offers a seamless experience across platforms. There are additional benefits!

Below the featured articles lies a ‘more news’ button that allows users to access more relevant content or catch up on any missed updates. By carefully curating this selection of articles, users can easily find and select stories that align with their interests.

Factors Affecting Selection for Top Stories

When it comes to being featured in Google’s Top Stories, relevancy is not the only factor considered. The selection process also takes into account factors like quality and freshness of content. For this reason, Google puts a strong emphasis on Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) when choosing which articles will make the cut for top stories. Having signals of expertise such as citations from reputable websites can greatly improve your chances of having your content selected.

To these criteria, timeliness also plays a significant role in making it into Top Stories – with preference given to articles that are less than 48 hours old. This highlights how history is made within the realm of online news stories. Another way to increase visibility and relevance for top story consideration is by using structured data like NewsArticle markup tags that help Google better understand your content.

The presence of keywords throughout the article, along with related media elements and user interaction data, all contribute to determining its relevance level for inclusion in the Top Stories section. This underscores the importance of producing high-quality, fresh, and engaging content to be featured as part of Google’s Top Stories selection criteria. In summary, the key factors that impact the process are expertise, timeliness, content quality, and engagement metrics. That is why, beyond relevance, publishing trustworthy and reliable articles can enhance visibility in Google’s premier news section. Top stories are determined not just by making history but also by applying effective strategies to thrive, like structuring.

Optimizing Your Content for Google Top Stories

Gaining a position in the Google Top Stories carousel can greatly enhance the exposure of your content, even among fiercely competitive terms. This requires utilizing an effective strategy for SEO on Google News, optimizing publisher representation, and establishing a strong technical foundation for your content to thrive.

Creating high-quality, relevant content

Photo of a person creating high-quality, relevant content

The key to securing a spot in Google Top Stories is producing high-quality content that adheres to their strict policies. This applies not only to news websites but also to blogs and other content-rich sites seeking recognition on Google’s platform.

Aside from quality, it is equally important to maintain consistency and timeliness in your content production. Regularly publishing relevant material can greatly enhance your chances of being featured in both Google News and Top Stories sections.

Improving website speed and user experience

Ensuring optimal website speed and providing an excellent user experience is crucial for boosting your content’s ranking in Top Stories. Google uses Core Web Vitals metrics to evaluate loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability, all of which contribute significantly to a positive page experience that impacts rankings in Top Stories. As the use of mobile devices continues to rise, optimizing mobile usability has become more important than ever.

Although page speed is still considered a ranking factor, its impact may have lessened due to overall improvements in connection speeds. High levels of user engagement can positively affect visibility on Google Top Stories by reflecting low bounce rates and longer time spent on site. The tools available through Google Search Console can help identify any issues with the mobile experience so they can be addressed promptly as part of prioritizing mobile-first indexing.

Utilizing structured data and rich snippets

Utilizing structured data and rich snippets can greatly improve the visibility of your content in Google Top Stories. Follow these tips to establish a strong online presence and increase the likelihood of being featured.

  1. Make use of structured data to help Googlebot effectively crawl and comprehend your content.
  2. Incorporate News-specific structured data for additional context about your news stories.
  3. Create a solid presence on Google Publisher Center, which can boost chances of appearing in Top Stories.

Implementing’s NewsArticle markup is highly recommended as it provides relevant information such as headline, author, and image that helps google better understand your content when displayed on platforms like Search or News channels.

To enhance visibility, consider using other types of structured markups, including Authorship credits, New Media Organization details, or VideoObjects features. Incorporating these elements with the ‘News Article' type may enrich search results both on Google search features and the “Top Story” section found inside the Google site tab (

Leveraging Social Media and Influencer Marketing

To optimize content, effectively incorporating social media and influencer marketing can greatly expand the reach of your story and connect with new audiences, including niche communities.

Building a strong social media presence

Having a strong social media presence is essential for increasing the reach of your content. This involves establishing SMART goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. It also includes identifying your target audience on various social media platforms and tailoring your content accordingly.

Trying out different types of content on different platforms can result in significant growth in engagement with your audience as well as brand recognition. Creating an editorial calendar specifically for social media can help with organizing themes and schedules for posting. Finding a balance between automation and genuine interaction is crucial – automated posts ensure consistency while real-time engagement maintains authenticity. Utilizing analytics from social media to monitor engagement helps identify which type of content connects best with the audience so you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

Collaborating with influencers

Collaborating with influencers is a valuable strategy for increasing the credibility of your publication and earning trust from Google. This can result in improved visibility on platforms like Google News, including appearing in top stories carousels. By tapping into their existing audience and reach, influencers have the potential to expand your news content’s exposure to new demographics and communities.

Compared to traditional advertising methods, influencer partnerships offer a more authentic approach that resonates better with audiences. Influencers are seen as trustworthy sources by their followers who look to them for recommendations, this translates into higher engagement rates and increased visibility for your content. Working with influencers can also drive high-quality traffic back to your site while providing a positive return on investment due to their ability to sustain genuine connections with their audience through meaningful engagement.

Monitoring and Analyzing Your Performance

Keeping track of your content’s performance is vital for maintaining a high rank on Google. This involves monitoring metrics such as organic traffic, search engine results page (SERP) position, and click-through rate. It is important to have a secure website with HTTPS to establish trust with both users and search engines.

Google offers helpful tools like News Consumer Insights that can contribute towards building loyalty and providing accurate data. These resources are particularly beneficial for gaining visibility within the Top Stories section of Google.

Using Google Analytics and Search Console

To effectively track the performance of your content, it is important to create a Google Analytics account and add a tracking code on each page of your website. This will allow you to use tools such as Google Analytics and Search Console which can measure various metrics like clicks, impressions, CTR (click-through-rate), and SERP (search engine results page) position to evaluate user engagement.

These tools also provide automated SEO reports which make it easier for you to compare data. You can analyze key factors such as clicks, impressions, average position, and keyword performance against competitors using these reports.

With features like the Index Coverage report that identifies crawling and indexing issues along with the Performance report that includes query filters for identifying keyword ranking problems or negative keywords impacting SEO. Monitoring your content’s success becomes much simpler through Google Analytics.

Learning from competitors

Learning from competitors can provide valuable insights for improving your own content strategy. By keeping an eye on what others are doing, you can gain knowledge about why some articles perform better than others, changes in user intent, how content loses relevance over time and the impact of search algorithm updates on rankings.

It is important to identify any instances of keyword cannibalization in your competitor’s approach as this will help prevent similar issues and maintain stable positions in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Tools like Ahrefs and Semrush offer comprehensive features such as backlink tracking, monitoring SERP positions, and finding opportunities for link building that make it easier to analyze competition.


In short, getting a top spot in Google’s Top Stories can greatly increase the visibility of your content. This requires producing valuable and pertinent material, optimizing website speed and user satisfaction, as well as utilizing structured data and rich snippets. A strong social media presence and collaboration with influencers can also amplify reach. It is important to consistently monitor performance using tools like Google Analytics and Search Console while learning from competitors’ strategies in the ever-changing digital landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Google determine Top Stories?

Google uses a complex algorithm to determine which news stories appear in the Top Stories section. Factors such as freshness, relevance, user engagement, and credibility of the source are taken into account. Google continuously refines its algorithms to ensure that the Top Stories feature reflects the most current and authoritative news content.

Can I customize my Google Top Stories feed?

Yes, you can customize your Google Top Stories feed to some extent. By indicating your interests and preferences through Google's settings, you can influence the types of stories that appear in your feed. However, the algorithm primarily determines the selection of news articles based on its criteria for relevance and timeliness.

How do you write a hard news story?

The Inverted Pyramid approach should be followed when writing a hard news article, beginning with the most crucial details and gradually moving down to less significant ones. To maintain an easily scannable format, it is important to use short paragraphs and sentences in the text.

This will ensure that readers can quickly grasp all of the essential information without having to sift through lengthy or complex content.

Are the sources in Google Top Stories reliable?

Google aims to include reputable and authoritative sources in its Top Stories section. However, the platform aggregates news articles from various publishers, and the credibility of each source may vary. Users are encouraged to critically evaluate the reliability of the sources and cross-reference information from multiple sources when necessary.

Why are some stories not included in Google Top Stories?

Not all news stories make it to the Google Top Stories section. The algorithm prioritizes fresh, relevant, and engaging content from reputable sources. Stories that do not meet these criteria or are deemed less relevant may not appear in the Top Stories feed. Additionally, stories that violate Google's content policies or are deemed misleading or harmful are excluded from the Top Stories feature.

Damon Nelson
Damon Nelson

Damon Nelson is a seasoned Entrepreneur, Published Author, Business Consultant, Webinar Speaker, and Online Marketer. Over the last 35+ years, he has built multiple retail businesses. As well as being responsible for helping many others start and grow both their businesses and online presence. Mr. Nelson has been in the internet marketing world for the last 20+ years, specifically in the automated marketing genres that include his successful product launches of VidPenguin, RSSMasher Technology, and Masher Sites. Want to learn more? Check out Damon Nelson's latest books and training videos.