Do you need a 3 digit ID in your URL to get accepted into Google News?

Posted on May 2, 2009


There are many requirements that your content needs to adhere to before it can be submitted to and accepted into Google News. These requirements cover the actual published content of your website’s news, and the technical way in which your website presents the news. Google has a full list of these requirements, including FAQs, on its help for publishers page.

However, how many of these ‘requirements’ are actually requirements? For example, of the things that Google tells you that you need is a 3 digit ID number, which isn’t a date, in the URL of each of your posts. The guidelines from Google state:

Display a three-digit number. The URL for each article must contain a unique number consisting of at least three digits. For example, we can’t crawl an article with this URL: We can, however, crawl an article with this URL: Keep in mind that if the only number in the article consists of an isolated four-digit number that resembles a year, such as, we won’t be able to crawl it.

That seems pretty clear. You cannot have a date in the URL of your news posts, nor can you have a URL without a 3 digit number, or you won’t get accepted… except that’s not exactly true. You can have your site accepted to Google News without the 3 digit number, as we have done already for clients.

Just to prove the point, the following websites are in Google News, and they don’t have 3 digit numbers in their URLs (none are anything to do with StuckOn by the way).

They also both have dates in the URLs, which Google claims it cannot crawl for Google News.

Google does say that the rule on ID numbers and dates in the URL is waived for sites that use Google News sitemaps, but again, we’ve had sites accepted in Google News without sitemaps and without 3 digit ID numbers.

However, while you can get into Google News without a 3 digit ID number and with a date in your URL, if you’re creating a new website with an intention of getting into Google News you should conform to Google’s guidelines. There’s no sense in giving Google a reason to refuse your website.

If your site is already established however, and you have thousands of indexed pages and links, you don’t need to change your URL structure just to be accepted to Google News. You can get in without doing that.


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