Google is no longer requiring Google News publishers to maintain the classic “three-digit rule” in the URL structure.
Google News has always required Google News publishers to have three-digits in their URLs to ensure their content gets indexed and ranked by Google News. The exception to the rule were those publishers who implemented News Sitemap indexing.
But now, even without a Google News Sitemap, you no longer need to have three-digits in the URL structure of your Google News publisher site.
Stacie Chan from Google explained that the Google News indexing “team took this into consideration, and decided to remove this rule in order to include more of your great news content.”
“We’re happy to announce that Google News no longer requires you to follow the “3-digit rule,” which previously required you publishers to have a unique number of 3 digits in your article URLs,” Stacie Chan announced to all Google News publishers.
Of course, those publishers who have already implemented the 3-digits in their URLs do not need to make any changes. You can keep your URL format the way they are. You still do need to make sure your URLs are unique and permanent.