Creating a Google News Sitemap for Movable Type and Melody

Little do people know, but there is actually a difference between a regular old Google Sitemap and a Google News Sitemap. A Google News Sitemap is augmented with additional information that helps target content towards specific news channels. The better you are at targeting your news, and the more you do to help Google index news oriented content, the better chance you have on landing on the front door of news.google.com -- which when that happens is a boon for traffic.

Endevver developed a custom News Sitemap which can be installed using the following instructions.

  1. First you will need to create some custom fields. The following are the definitions for those custom fields which could optionally cut and paste into our config.yaml when creating a theme; or if you wish, you could take the information below and create your custom fields manually.

     fields:
       google_news_cat:
         name: "Google News Category"
         description: "Choosing a Google News Category can greatly increase your post's chances of appearing on the Google News front page."
         type: select
         obj_type: entry
         tag: EntryGoogleNewsCategory
         scope: system
         options: American Football,Arts,Athletics,Automotive,Badminton,Baseball,Basketball,Books,Boxing,Business,Celebrities,College Baseball,College Basketball,College Football,College Sports,Companies,Computing,Cricket,Culture,Cycling,Economy,Education,Entertainment,Environment,Field Hockey,Food and Beverage,Geography,Golf,Handball,Headlines,Health,High School Sports,Home and Garden,Humor,Ice Hockey,Industry,Internet,Legal,Lifestyle,Local,Markets,Movies,Music,Nation,Olympics,Op/Ed,Personal Technology,Politics,Racing,Religion,Rugby,Satire,Science,Soccer,Space,Sports,Table Tennis,Technology,Tennis,Theater,Travel,TV,Video Games,Weird News,World
    
  2. Create your Google News Sitemap using the following file:

  3. Set your template options using the information below. (This too is provided in a format which you could cut and paste into your theme.yaml or config.yaml)

     template:
       sitemap_news:
         label: 'Sitemap (News)'
         outfile: 'sitemap-news.xml'
         rebuild_me: 1
         build_type: 4
    
  4. Advanced users may want to read the knowledge base article about Creating a Google Sitemap that doesn't slow down publishing, especially if you site creates a LOT of news articles in a 3-day period.

A few words about this sitemap template:

  • It aggregates content across all of the blogs in an installation. If you would like to aggregate across a different set of blogs or web sites, then you will need to change the blog_ids parameter in mt:Entries.

  • This only includes articles for the last 3 days. This helps keep publishing fast, and recognized that Google News has a bias for new content anyways.