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Publishers Must Start Utilising the "news_keyword" Meta Tag in Order to Rank Better in Google, says Punch Communications

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwire) -- 01/03/13 -- Online news sources that wish to have stories visible to Google News search users must better utilise the "news_keyword" meta tag, says integrated PR, social media and SEO agency, Punch Communications.

The meta tag was launched by Google in September 2012, but since that time, very few online publishers have incorporated it into their site, despite it being designed specifically to assist such websites rank better in the search engine's news results. Within the tag, which should be used for each webpage, up to ten keywords or key phrases related to the context of the news story can be listed.

The tag was introduced because news headlines are often limited to a certain number of characters and therefore cannot incorporate all possible relevant search terms. Furthermore, some journalists are not search savvy or are writing primarily for the printed version of the publication, meaning the headline will be written from a traditional print point of view; for example, a witty headline, a play on words or a title that contains a pun may not be SEO friendly.

Google has declined to comment on how many online publishers are using the tag, but a report by rival search engine Blekko has revealed that only 2,465 domains are using it. Whilst a number of authoritative news sites, such as the BBC, New York Times, Huffington Post and PR Newswire are correctly incorporating the tag, this figure is extremely low; it equates to approximately five per cent of the 50,000 sources that feature in the Google News pages.

Pete Goold, managing director of integrated PR agency, Punch Communications, commented: "Whilst the news keyword tag is being used by a number of the larger, more authoritative online news websites, just five per cent of sources utilising it is an exceedingly low figure, especially now that it has been three months since the feature was launched. Google introduced the tag specifically to help stories with unusual, short or pun-type headlines to rank in its News pages. Therefore, publishers, especially smaller sites, must take full advantage if they want to fully benefit from having good online visibility."

To find out what an integrated search, PR and social media agency can do for your brand in comparison to a traditional approach, please contact Punch Communications on 01858 411 600 or via www.punchcomms.com.

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