Now, here is some good news for publishers.

Yesterday, Google announced a new meta keywords tag strictly for news articles called the news_keywords. This means that news editors are now given more leeway to exercise creativity when writing catchy headlines and body text instead of limiting themselves to specific keywords.

Google Introduces a New Way of Tagging News Articles

Galfi, Google news product manager, “The goal is simple: empower news writers to express their stories freely while helping Google News to properly understand and classify that content so that it’s discoverable by our wide audience of users.

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.”

How It Works

According to Google’s Help Center page, each article is allowed to use a maximum of 10 news phrases and comma is the only punctuation allowed to separate the keywords. The page also shows how to use the news_keywords given an article on World Cup:

<meta name=”news_keywords” content=”World Cup, Brazil 2014, Spain vs Netherlands”>

Keywords are also essential to help differentiate similar phrases. One example cited by Google is when a publisher wants to indicate that the article is about soccer’s World Cup and not rugby’s World Cup. In this case, the words ‘soccer’ and ‘football’ can be added to the meta tag:

<meta name=”news_keywords” content=”World Cup, Brazil 2014, Spain vs Netherlands, soccer, football”>

Take note that news_keywords is only applicable for news sites under the Google News index. If your site is not included in it, then it makes no sense to use it.

It’s Just Another Tool

Google makes it clear that while the news_keywords metatag helps determine ranking, it’s only one of the many factors. And that “high-quality reporting and interesting news content remain the strongest ways to put your newsroom’s work in front of Google News users.”

Big News

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