Last week, we released the result of a survey of Google News Ranking Factors with some of the top news sites in the business. You may have already heard about the Top 10 Positive Factors for high Google rankings, but we think it would even more useful for you to take a closer look at the Top 10 Negative Factors that hurt website rankings.
Recently, Google conducted a survey and found many local news publishers repeating a lot of SEO mistakes that eventually hurt their website rankings. So, here’s a list of top 10 negative factors that contribute to low rankings of your website:


1. Duplicate Content

The biggest negative factor for search engine rankings was duplicate content. Although there were many publishers creating duplicate content, Google survey confirmed that they also used other sources for creating scrapped, spunned, and plagiarized content.
Every day, Google is becoming smarter at finding out the original source of content many websites use. As a result, Google have degraded the search engine rankings of such websites that borrow their content from alternate sources.
So, next time you distribute the press release on your website, remember to separate the original news content from the press releases by creating two different sections for each and inserting “nofollow” tags in each links for the press releases.


2.  Writing Vague and Abstract Headlines

Abstract headlines don’t include targeted keywords in it. It may seem creative not to include keywords, but they aren’t still targeted. It’s okay to write titles like “Ho No!”, or “Do Be Do Be Do”, or any other vague titles you can think of, but in order to see raise in search engine rankings, you need to stick to what works. Learn how to do the keyword research and then include important keyword in your title.
Make sure the keyword also fit in naturally instead of appearing “stuffed”.


3.  Sites Not Using Google News Sitemap

Many news sites aren’t using Google News sitemap. I am surprised! Using Google News Sitemap has a dramatic impact on the crawling, indexing, and rankings of your site. And the best part is that it’s very easy to implement, too. So what are you waiting for? Use Google News sitemap and see a boost in your search engine rankings, now!


4. Publishing Low Quality Content

No excuse for bad writing anymore. Google News can manually and algorithmically figure out sites that publish low quality content – mis-spelt words, poor grammar and punctuation, and generally low quality content.


5.  Blocking Googlebot via Robots.txt

If you are blocking Googlebot, intentionally or unknowingly, then check your robots.txt file really fast. This is one of the old-school SEO blunder many news website repeat, over and over, calling their SEO consultant every night.
If free traffic has stalled, then one of the first things you must do is check your robots.txt file. Make sure you don’t include these two lines in the file: “User-agent: *” and “Disallow: /”
Let Googlebot find your site and improve search engine rankings.


6.  Poor Site Performance

If your site is producing a lot of 500 or 400 errors and loads slowly, eventually your site’s ranking will drop too. Google always want to send traffic to fast loading pages. To monitor your website’s performance, you can use variety of free tools, like Google Webmaster Tools (look “crawl stats” and “site performance” report) and Google’s Page Speed Tool.
One way you can improve your site’s performance is to use a script that will keep track of server logs whenever Googlebot receives 4xx or 5xx errors. Send this log to your SEO consultant notifying them of errors. Whoever responsible for that poor performance will be busy removing those errors if they don’t want more emails from you.


7. Poor Citation Rank

You won’t get up in Google’s ranking if you can’t get other websites to link to you. Citation Rank is a measure of how well your story, post, or blogs gets linked from other sources or referenced on other sites, specifically on other news sites.


8. Low PageRank Domain

Another reason why your site is suffering on Google ranking is that the overall SEO program isn’t competitive. That means you aren’t getting all the basics right.
So, make sure your website is accessible by major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Write articles targeting profitable keywords. Get other sites link and reference your site, regularly.


9.  New Site

Just like new sites have harder time getting high rankings in search engine results, new sites with low or absolutely “zero” trust and history will have a difficult time to rank as well. Brand new sites, therefore, must demonstrate authority and trust by getting linked and referenced from other well-established and authoritative sites.
Get your site shared in popular social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google Plus. Get your content well-clicked relative to other news websites for a specific news story. Instead of covering a broad range of topic, focus on specific niche for proper rankings.


10. Using Syndicated Content Having the Same Titles as the Source

This may sound like the same things as duplicate content, but we still think that this case deserves a little more attention as more and more news organizations are relying on syndicated content, without even taking time to rewrite the whole content.
So it is better in the long run for you to produce your own content.


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