Hyperlinked Headlines May Hurt Your Google News SEO

May 4, 2011 • 8:57 am | comments (16) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google News & Headline HyperlinksHow many SEOs out there think it is a bad idea to have your story or web page's headline hyperlink back to the page? Well, if you want to ensure your articles are crawled properly by Google News then you might want to remove the hyperlink.

For example, what if I made the headline above, the line that reads "Hyperlinked Headlines May Hurt Your Google News SEO" a hyperlink back to this article... Would that hurt my chances of Google crawling, indexing, and ranking this story?

You would think not. Some of the top blogs, news sites and web sites have their headlines hyperlink back to the page. Heck, we had it on our previous design but left it off of here because it felt redundant to our breadcrumb trail hyperlink back. Most sites, especially SEO blogs have the headline hyperlink back to the story URL.

In a Google News Help thread, Googler Harvey P. said that Google sometimes has issues with hyperlinked headlines. This response comes after one Google News publisher had issues with their content showing up in Google News. Harvey replied to this publisher saying:

Our system often struggles to crawl article pages with hyperlinked headlines. If you remove the hyperlinks from the headlines on individual article pages, we may be able to crawl more of your content.

This is the first time I have ever seen a Googler or even an SEO say that hyperlinked headlines can cause crawl issues. Branko, an SEO, actually documented that you should not hyperlink your headlines for Google News back in 2009.

Am I the only one surprised by this?

Forum discussion at Google News Help.

Update: As I updated above, Branko actually documented and if you look at the old thread he pointed to it actually links to a help document that reads, "In your article page, avoid using the article title, or a substring of the title, as an active hyperlink."

The thread has a Googler saying:

But in general, if there's a discrepancy between the HTML title tag and the title in the HTML body, that makes it more likely that we'll have trouble determining what the correct title for the article should be. It doesn't sound like you made any specific changes right before you started seeing this problem, but of course if you did, that's an obvious place to troubleshoot as well.

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Glenn Ferrell

05/04/2011 02:51 pm

Surprise to me too. Thanks for reporting it !

Binu George

05/04/2011 04:53 pm

But many Google News headlines are from sites and blogs which actually hyperlinked back to the article !! Confused!

Barry Schwartz

05/04/2011 04:54 pm



05/04/2011 08:10 pm



05/04/2011 11:28 pm

Interesting information! Something that I didn't know but will now keep in mind. Thanks for the post! We have a service that helps track local seo. Especially great for those who aren't particularly good at keeping up with the times. www.chatmeter.com


05/04/2011 11:35 pm

I never liked linking from headlines because the phrase/word wasn't naturally surrounded by text. Interesting! Same outcome from a diff point of view. I've honestly haven't tested this myself, but if I had the choice, I'd want my link coming from an area surrounded by supporting text.

Liza Shulyayeva

05/05/2011 12:25 am

I've heard of this, but have never used hyperlinked headlines as it seemed unnecessary, so haven't done much digging into it. Interesting to have it reiterated by a Google employee.

Local Find

05/05/2011 01:56 am

We have never directly hyperlinked our headline titles back to the article URL within the post either and we agree with Liza it does seem unnecessary. It tends to send the crawler in a circle within the article post so no wonder Google has now made a comment regarding this practice.

Anirban Das

05/05/2011 05:56 am

I heard but never tested how its effects on G crawling,thanks for informing..........

Kavya Hari

05/05/2011 06:39 am

Worthy information. But, i dint hyperlink to my post headings. Thanks a lot for given here :)

Brian Turner

05/05/2011 09:51 am

I mentioned this in 2007, Barry: http://www.internetbusiness.co.uk/2007/02/27/the-ultimate-guide-to-google-news-publishing/

Barry Schwartz

05/05/2011 09:52 am

I updated the story saying it was mentioned in the past. I am sorry for being wrong. :(


05/05/2011 10:53 am

useful information. i will keep in mind at the time of blog posting.

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05/05/2011 11:37 am

Ya ! thats right, some times it create problems for google bot, but all new websites are using this and get indexed by google ?

iPad Application Development

05/06/2011 05:42 am

I don't think so , because my WordPress CMS based blog on my website crawled at once after publishing i have never any such type of issue ....

Damon Gudaitis

05/10/2011 09:45 pm

I have a small problem with Google News that might be related. While my headlines aren't hyper-linked, the breadcrumbs are and Google News for some silly reason picks up the breadcrumbs as the headlines maybe 25% of the time.

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