News Meta Keywords Announced by Google

by Matt McGee

Meta keywords are back.


Well, technically, it’s not the same meta keywords tag that died years ago for traditional SEO purposes.

No, it’s a new news_keywords metatag that Google just announced today and only works for news publishers that are sources in Google News. The new metatag essentially gives publishers some freedom to be more creative in their headlines and article copy, and not have to worry about cramming keywords in everything they publish. Here’s a quick explanation from Google News Product Manager Rudy Galfi:

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.

Google has already published a help page showing how to implement the news_keywords meta tag, which is like this:

meta name=”news_keywords” content=”SEO, SEO Expert, online marketing”
Publishers are limited to 10 news keywords and they have to use commas to separate each one. (Talk about back to the future, right?)

Google also warns that using the news_keywords meta tag isn’t a quick path to ranking better in Google News. It’s only one signal, and “high-quality reporting and interesting news content remain the strongest ways to put your newsroom’s work in front of Google News users.”

In other words, if you’re running a “news” site called Marty McFly’s Tech Dump that no one’s ever heard of and has low-quality content, the news_keywords tag isn’t gonna help your iPhone 5 review outrank Walt Mossberg and the Wall Street Journal.

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