Google Introduces New Hidden Meta Tag ‘News-Keywords’ for Google News Publishers
Google brings changes time to time to make its search engine world’s best; Google has just introduced a new hidden meta tag for Google News publishers. The new meta tag simply allows the publishers to add up to 10 keywords or phrases, the words those are searched by the users of the Google search engine to find out an article on any particular subject. The Google News blog notes that this is a supplementary technique that Google crawlers use to categorize an article for the Google search engine and Google News.
Notably, the keywords will not be shown on the post and carry equal value so sub-editors, SEO editors and electronic journalists can put them without thinking of their order in which they put the keywords and phrases, separated by a comma.
Here’s the example of the code for new meta tags as given by the Google News help section which would be placed between < and >, to demonstrate the keywords that could be used to metatag a news article about the World Cup:
meta name=”news_keywords” content=”World Cup, Brazil 2014, Spain vs Netherlands, soccer, football”
Mary Hamilton, deputy SEO editor at the Guardian, told Journalism.co.uk it is likely that each news outlet will have to amend its content management system to include the new metatag.
Hamilton explained that it is “too early to say how new organisations are going to implement” the changes and whether they will develop automated systems of adding keywords or if journalists will be required to manually input them for each news article.
The Google News blog states this development gives news outlets more freedom to write creative and pithy headlines, without the need for keywords. Digital journalists have been able to write different HTML title headlines (displayed in the URL), which Google reads, and on page headlines, written for the reader, for some time.
Hamilton said that headlines such as “Wall St. lays an egg”, which Variety used in the 1929 to report on the Wall Street crash, would not be appropriate in the digital age. The Google New blog uses the headline as an example, describing it as a “pithy, catchy, and expressive of the substance of the story as well as the scale of its consequences”.
Hamilton said: “It doesn’t mean news outlets can suddenly start using print headlines on the web again.”
Google News is not the only place a headline appear,” she added, using social networks as an example. “And as far as we know Google will still consider the headline as as ranking factor.”
The Google blog explains why they introduced new ‘News-Keyword’ meta tag for the posts:
Similar in spirit to the plain keywords metatag, the news_keywords metatag lets publishers specify a collection of terms that apply to a news article. These words don’t need to appear anywhere within the headline or body text.
Because the metatag appears only as part of the HTML code of a page, visitors to a site won’t ever see the magic under the hood.
This metatag will be one signal among many that our algorithms use to determine ranking.
The news_keywords metatag is intended as a tool – but high-quality reporting and interesting news content remain the strongest ways to put your newsroom’s work in front of Google News users.
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