Getting Ranked In Google News
The Google News Team has an interesting blog post about the "truths and myths" of how Google includes and ranks articles.
Some of the facts that stand out include "Having an image next to your article improves your ranking MYTH. While having a good image with your article does improve your chance to get your picture shown, it has no impact on the ranking of the article itself."
"Updating an article after posting it will create problems with Google News TRUE
Currently, the Google News crawler only visits each article URL once. If you make updates to the article after we’ve crawled it, they won’t be reflected on our site."
Google says it is working on being able to re-crawl articles that have been updated but currently does not re-crawl update articles.
It’s a myth that timing of an article improves ranking. Google says," Whether you publish before, after, or in the midst of when other publishers post articles won’t affect your article ranking. Our algorithms take a number of factors into account when choosing the best articles in a cluster."
Having a sitemap will not help your rankings but there are reasons to have a sitemap. "First, sitemaps give you greater control over which of your articles appear on Google News; they tell us specifically which articles to crawl."
"Second, sitemaps allow you to specify meta-information about individual articles, such as their publication date, or keywords that help inform which section of Google News the articles should appear in."
Redesigning a site could affect coverage in Google News. "If you drastically change the structure of your site or your page layout, the crawler may have trouble navigating the new design. When in doubt, check out the section in our publisher help center about changes to your site or contact the Support team."
Using AdSense on a site will not improve article rankings." We try to stay as objective as possible, and giving sites with our ads product a boost, well, that wouldn’t be very objective!"