Like JR the Meta Keyword Tag is back!

JR_Ewing returnsAbout 6 years ago I came across a local Estate Agent site that was painfully slow. It was awful. Finally it loaded but had very little content on view. I looked at the source code and saw that it had over 10,000 keywords forced into the Meta-keyword tag.

Now if there is one thing that even the most amateur SEO knows, that is the Meta Keyword tag is useless. Many have suspected so for ages, then Google admitted it itself a few years ago.

Due to over-use and spammy behaviour, such as that Estate Agent, Google stopped even looking at it. It’s pointless, a waste of time and a waste of space.

But now, like JR, Bobby Ewing and Cliff Barnes, it’s back – but with a bit of a facelift and on a different channel.

Google released the news yesterday that they have launched the a META keyword tag for Google News. Google has stipulated that you are only allowed 10 comma separated keywords per article and that it is not a quick easy way to get to the top of the listing but to empower publishers to write their stories as they see fit while helping Google understand what the story is about. If you like it is Google saying – make a great newspaper-like article without worrying about squeezing the keywords into the title.

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=”Ryder Cup, USA 2012, Woods V Rose”

Can we Re-employ the Sub Editor?

So with newspaper journalists complaining that SEO has killed the sub-editor, this gives them new creative powers and freedom to come up with punny type articles. As the Google News Product Manager Rudy Galfi explains:

“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.”

So Should You Use the Meta Keyword Tag?

However we’d probably still recommend that you use the keywords within the article, <H1>s and the title tag.But in the meantime we are going to do some testing on a major football site we have that currently gains a lot of traffic in Google News.

We’ll get back soon on the testing we have done on the new “back from the dead” keyword tag.