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Google News Lays An Egg
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Google News Lays An Egg

Yesterday, Google came out with a new metatag called news_keywords, which is intended to give writers some breathing room when creating their news article titles.

A metatag is a snippet of code in your html telling search engines what content is on the page. The tags don't show up in browsers, but they can be sparsed.

You may or may not have seen these tags. If you run a Wordpress blog, the All In One SEO Plugin allows you to enter the title, description, and keywords for your metatag.

Back in the early days of search engines, metatags were a big deal. They told search engine spiders the title of the page, what description to display, and what keywords it was associated with.

Nowadays, metatags are not nearly as important as they used to be. Search engines now put more emphasis on schema tags and rich text snippets than on metatags. In other words, you don't need to enter a title and description for the search engines anymore; you don't need to enter any metatags at all.

In fact, Microsoft uses metatags to tell if a website is spamming or not. If you have a lot of metatags on your site (in the league of hundreds), beware: your site may be being monitored for spam.

However, the metatag still has its place, as this new metatag from Google intends to show. News articles have still had to be named in such a way as to make themselves searchable and retrievable by search engines.

This restricted creativity to a great degree.

In 1929, an article was released following the stock market crash titled "WALL ST. LAYS AN EGG". It was one of the most prolific articles in circulation.

The title was what sold it. It was catchy and creative, something fundamental for engaging a reader.

Today, however, this article would probably be titled "Stock Market Collapses", which is neither catchy, nor creative, nor unique.

Thanks to the news_keyword metatag, writers can name their article anything again--within the limits of the conversation, of course. The metatag would then do the legwork getting the article indexed.

So a title such as "GOOGLE NEWS LAYS AN EGG" wouldn't get an article indexed under search results for some form of biological produce concocted by Google News. With the metatag, it's all good.

Google's sensitivity to creativity should be much welcomed by writers and readers alike. Whether or not other search engines will adopt the same philosophy remains to be seen.


Street Talk

Very useful info, thanks!

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  about 8 years ago
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