The Return of Meta Keywords

The Return of Meta Keywords

Remember the good ol days when you could keyword stuff your meta tags to your hearts content and climb the SERPs on wings of angels? Back then, it seemed like the webmasters with the most words were always the winners. Obviously, between overly ambitious SEOs and spammers galore, the practice was heavily abused. Something clearly had to give.

Flash forward to today stuffing your meta tags is not only ineffective, its now more like SEO suicide. Your website will be penalized if you go overboard with your tags, and some shrewd SEOs even recommend you leave them completely alone in favor of focusing instead on the quality of your content.

Now, in a throwback to the old school move by Google, meta keywords have been reintroduced for Google News users. Its different code with a different look and different rules, but shades of 1990s SEO still abound. Lets look at the new addition and how you can use it for your websites news stories.

The Keywords Metatag: What You Need to Know

The new tag is specifically for Google News publishers, but it is nevertheless remarkably similar to the original keywords metatag were all accustomed to using. The difference is that this new metatag is labeled news_keywords and it allows publishers to cherrypick a handful of keywords that best describe the news piece theyre submitting for inclusion to Google News. The words dont have to show up in your title or H1 tags its strictly metadata Google can use to properly classify your content.

It merits noting here that Google News must approve your website in order for your content to show up in the listings. Once youre bypassed that hurdle and youre officially an approved publisher, you can get crackin on newsworthy content that will add to the conversation in your niche and promote your site in the process.

So, why the addition of the new tag? Googles supposed to be so much more sophisticated these days, right? The answer to this question is simple it helps Google classify content, yes, but its main objective is to allow publishers to get more creative with their content. Big G is desperately trying to up the quality factor of every pot it has its hands in, and Google News is no exception. Creative freedom with no worries of keyword stuffing is a great way for webmasters to get news out without crafting something that reads as contrived or phony.

Heres a little tidbit from the Google help pages to illustrate the new keyword tag in action:

The info in Googles help section also points out that you can use keywords to disambiguate between closely related terms. The article gives the example of separating the topic of the World Cup for soccer from the World Cup for rugby like so:

Best Practices for Google News Exposure

The ultimate goal of Google News is to provide users with unparalleled access to as many kinds of diverse news sites as possible. Thats why properly classifying your content using the new metatag will help you get found. One major caveat, however: Google has become picky. Very picky. If youve followed the algo updates as reported here on SiteReference or elsewhere, you know this fact better than anyone.

There are rules surrounding the quality of the content you submit for Google News inclusion, and the closer you adhere to them, the better your chances of getting found.

First requirement: If your article is in the form of a blog post, is a satire piece, or is a press release, you must label it as such. Tag your content and provide a visible label for the end user. Its one piece of the overall puzzle, and you must adhere to all the other guidelines to get a shot at the bigtime.

I think so, but only if youre using the medium in conjunction with an overall web marketing strategy that hinges on more than Google alone.

What do you think about the new metatag addition? Anyone out there tried it and seen results? Tell me about it in the comments below!

There seem to be variations in how Mr. G wants keywords to be used in the metatags. Does anyone have idea where I can find the original copy of Mr. I am a newbie in this business of driving traffic to website, I am confused with the ol school and new requirements of Mr. G. I appreciate if someone can give me a link where I can find the current Google requirements for webmasters.