Google has announced a new tag for its US market that news producers can use to highlight important content. The new link rel attribute tag signifies ‘standout’ pages, which Google will then consider for the featured section of Google News.
The tag was launched by Google’s Product Specialist David Smydra and Product Manager Justin Kosslyn on the Google News blog, and also at the Online News Association Conference in Boston on September 24.
The tag, which should read needs to be placed in the header section of the page’s code. At present, the tag is only for the US edition of Google News.
The tag does have some limits. Smydra and Kosslyn stated that while news site owners can use the tag as much as they like when highlighting other organisations’ content, there is a limit of seven uses a week for own use. Sites highlighting more than seven pages per week are likely to find their tags less recognised or ignored completely. This limitation comes from Google’s hope that site owners will use the tag to point out all good content, not just that on their own pages.
If launched worldwide, the tag is likely to make being a source for Google News even more desirable for search engine optimisation. Site owners will find their SEO jobs much easier if allowed to highlight strategically important content updates, enabling them to give more weight to national news versus a Merseyside update, for example. Google has yet to announce a worldwide rollout date, however.