28 March 2020 at 07:28 #20287
28 March 2020 at 16:03 #20296RolfKeymaster
Hi Edoardo, you are not the only one encountering this problem. The Publisher Center Help forum is full of threads about it. And not just for WordPress sites. Some report that the issue “just went away” after a while, some in days, some only after months.
Although Google does not give one clear answer (and in a recent Publisher Center Help update a dedicated page on this issue seems even to have been deleted!) I’ll try to explain what I suspect Google News does, based on several sites and experiences, and what you can do to get it sorted.
First: this should not be related to your Google News sitemap. GN has said it does not retrieve image / thumbnail information from the sitemap. It uses its own algorithm to find the best suitable image from two possible sources: the RSS or Atom feed(s) you added in your Publisher Center, or the Post content/source code itself. Or both of these, depending on your settings in Publisher Center.
Second: Google News may even discard images that are clearly marked as “featured”, because it may be an incorrect size/orientation or show inappropriate content. I suppose this last reason for not using an image is very rare though, but the size/orientation reason is common. Minimum is said to be 60px by 60px so GN can make at least a thumbnail from it, but preferably larger and in landscape format to use it as full-width header image on different news outlets. Even though you cannot force GN to use full-width image layout, it’s best to provide such an image if possible. Specially if you are using AMP pages, then you’ll need images of at least 1200px wide!
What you can do to make sure Google News finds the correct image:
1. Make sure you give your news posts a featured image of a fairly large size.
2. Verify if featured images are marked as such in your page source code. Open a post in your browser, press Ctrl+u to view the page source. Press Ctrl+f and enter
og:imagein the search field. If you find an entry like
<meta property="og:image" content="..." />then verify if the URL in the content attribute is the correct image. (Note: I’m not sure if external CDN domains — like https://i2.wp.com/yoursite.com from Jetpack for example — are allowed by GN). But if there is no
og:imagepresent, then you can use any SEO plugin (or Jetpack with the Share module) to add one.
3. Verify if featured images are present in your RSS/Atom feeds. Specially if you have added feeds for sections in your Publisher Center. You can use a plugin like https://wordpress.org/plugins/featured-images-for-rss-feeds/ to add featured images with the correct markup so they will be recognized as thumbnail image.
4. Ask Google News to look further than just the feed. In your Publisher Center, under the Content tab, you will see your Sections listed. Each should have a feed set up as source. Click Edit and scroll down to Feed options. By default, the option “Generate articles directly from feed” will be selected. Change this to “Generate articles by crawling source URL” or “Generate articles directly from feed and crawl”.
Hope this helps 🙂
By the way, the next Google News Advanced plugin release will provide a dedicated RSS feed that includes featured images…
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