A lot of people have asked me lately how I got my space blog listed on Google News. Doing so has enhanced the distribution of my articles and the Moon Monday newsletter on Google Search and News as well as other channels like the Discover feed on Android and Chrome. For a creator who isn’t active on social media, organic traffic sources like Google are important for my work to reach more people. And Google News in particular has been the largest such driver.
So how did I submit my space blog to Google News? Given below are all the steps. These apply specifically to Substack, since that’s where my site is, but the steps are generally valid for other blogging platforms as well. This is not intended to be a tutorial, and I can’t handle many support requests (sorry), so I’m only listing high-level steps and trust that you’ll search your way through the finer things.
Make sure that your blog or newsletter’s content is actually news-related either directly or at least tangentially. If only some of your sections or categories are newsy, then submit just those. This isn’t a hard rule—and I’ve seen publications on Google News that have nothing to do with news—but it’s better to avoid your site from getting unnecessarily penalized in search results.
Setup a custom domain for your Substack publication. Note that Substack charges $50 for enabling the feature but it’s worth it for your blog’s portability and branding. In fact, most popular blogging systems charge yearly for mapping custom domains so the one-time $50 cost of Substack is actually cheaper on average.
Once your site is up and running on a custom domain, you should now see an option called “Google Site Verification” in your Substack Dashboard > Settings.
Sign into Google Search Console and add your site. At this point, Google will provide you with a “meta tag” option to verify your site. Copy-paste its code into the “Google Site Verification” input field shown in Step 3, and click Save. Once done, come back to Search Console to complete the verification.
Visit Google’s Publisher Center and click on “Add Publication”. Follow all the steps to submit your site.
One of these steps is adding your site’s RSS feed, which is how Google would know of newly published stories on your site. Each Substack’s RSS feed lives at “/feed”—append the same at the end of your site’s homepage link. For example, my space blog is at “https://blog.jatan.space” so my RSS feed is at “https://blog.jatan.space/feed”. Accordingly, add the RSS feed for your site.
What about submitting RSS feeds for your sections or categories? Substack has those too! Albeit they’re not as intuitive to figure out. For example, my Moon Monday newsletter section on the blog is at “https://blog.jatan.space/s/moon-monday” and its RSS feed is at “https://blog.jatan.space/feed?section=moon-monday”. You can similarly get RSS feeds for your other sections and add them to your Google News publisher application as relevant.
Wait patiently. In my experience, Google can take anywhere between 15 days to two months to approve your publication’s application. If they reject it, they usually provide a reason, which you can then look into and solve if addressable.
Even after your publication is approved on Google News, you won’t suddenly see more traffic flowing in. Google can take months to start “trusting” your publication. Eventually, at least some traffic will come.
That’s it. Again, sorry that I can’t help with detailed personal support but I hope you find these brief steps useful and that your publication gets the traffic it deserves without losing your sanity to social media.
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