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Google News help - how to get thumbnails in news feed

2:40 am on Jan 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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All of our articles are included in the Google news feed. However, a thumbnail is never used. We have done research and have changed many things, but a thumbnail is never used in the news feed for any of our articles.

The image we have is prominently displayed, large in size, within the paragraph tags, is not clickable and has a well written caption. We are doing everything suggested, but still, no images are shown.

More strangely, other sites have their thumbnails show up next to our articles. If we are the top article on that topic, why is our thumbnail not chosen? Does anyone know the criteria Google uses to choose a thumbnail for a topic?

Any feedback is greatly appreciated.


PS - Here are the guidelines we have followed:

Submitting Your Content: Images

Google News displays images associated with the articles currently included in our index. If your articles are included in our index, but you're not seeing their images, please follow these suggestions:

Label your images with well-written captions.
Make sure that your images are fairly large in size, at least 60px by 60px.
Use images that have reasonable aspect ratios.
Ensure that your images are inline and aren't clickable.
Place your images near their respective article titles.
Use standard image formats, like JPEG, and standard filename extensions, like .jpg or .jpeg.
While we can't guarantee that we'll be able to crawl your site's images or include all your images, these suggestions will increase the likelihood of your images' inclusion in Google News.

[edited by: tedster at 3:38 am (utc) on Jan. 26, 2010]
[edit reason] removed the links [/edit]

6:10 am on Jan 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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other sites have their thumbnails show up next to our articles

This Google News help page [google.com] offers a form to report thumbnails that are not used properly. Maybe that will help.

The whole thing is done by algorithm, and by reporting the issue for human review, they may also find some bug that is causing the rest of your frustrations.

6:59 am on Jan 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Google's image submission guidelines you quote are excellent, but they don't mention several common factors I've noticed in the thumbnails that Google does use.

For one, most of the images are tightly composed. The people shots are most often close-ups. The wider shots used tend to be more graphic than most, compositionally divisible into several clearly defined areas. They work well at a small size.

I'm assuming that Google can identify this type of composition algorithmically. I see Google News also cropping some images, and the cropping choices are often extremely good. It's hard to know whether Google's image algorithms are so good that cropping can be automated.

Additionally, the subjects of thumbnails shown are probably skewed by Image Search popularity... with some Image Search queries most likely having a query deserves freshness factor that pushes them to the News results.

6:41 pm on Jan 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

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esprague: what size images are you using.

my images are almost always picked up. they are always bigger than 180px width and i use an align attribute.

also my images are in begining of story.

3:33 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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We usually get all of our photos included with our articles in Google News.

Here is what works for us

1. Photo should have a maximum height or width of about 300 pixels at 72dpi

2. Image needs to be in jpeg format.

3. Include keywords from the article in the filename of the image

4. Include the image online at the exact time time that the article is published. If you ad the photo later, it does not get indexed by Google news

5. Try to keep the image at around 50k in size

6. Keep the image near the top of the article. On our site we put the images right next to the Headline and the story summary, with the article appearing below the image.

I hope these help.

7:38 am on Feb 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Thanks everyone for the replies! I've been out of town but this was great to come back to. I will try implementing these and see if it helps.