What the Google News metatag means for search users

The news keywords metatag for publishers in Google News should allow Google to better identify and classify content that is specifically news-related. The new metatag looks like this:

Up to 10 keywords per article can be added, with every keyword having equal value. Google has admitted that the tag will be a “signal among many” when it comes to deciphering algorithms to establish article rankings. The official Google line is thus:

“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.”

But the Google News metatag is significant for many reasons. Google is placing considerable emphasis on content these days; it is actively committed to promoting websites with good content and the Google News metatag is just another example of this.

Inbound links were once the number one criteria for determining quality and trust, but this was massively abused by SEOs. In fact, as a Forbes article in July pointed out, Google may be in the process of ‘making the SEO industry obsolete.’

Content and the promotion of good quality content is one of the best ways for the search giant to identify quality websites these days. There are few shortcuts to be taken when look to create this sort of top-quality, informative content.

Add to this the fact that search algorithms are increasingly also looking at stats such as social likes, comments and shares to determine rankings - all of which need good content in order to get these stats – and it is easy to see why Google is placing such an emphasis on content. As the worlds of search and social increasingly merge into one, there is going to be a far greater emphasis put on content and content production.

The rewards for brands that adopt a content strategy, and continue to invest in that strategy over time, are set to far outweigh any initial investment; it will be quantified in far more than search rankings or social likes, too, in fact, it will be at the heart of all marketing activity.

Dale Lovell is Publishing Director at Content Agency Search News Media.and can be followed on Twitter @searchnewsmedia.