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Brands that publish content to their websites in hopes of attracting the attention of prospective leads must use specific features put out by Google to achieve success. For example, the search engine giant released a news keyword meta tag option in September 2012, aimed at helping brands become noticeable via Google News queries.

What is news_keywords?

Google designed the “news_keywords” tag to help publishers retain their witty and clever headlines. The feature also allows brands to rank higher in SERPs. A company can publish an article to its blog with creative headlines and show up in specific searches online, even when users don’t enter the words the brand used in its headline. Overall, this feature is meant to help organizations retain their unique voice on the web without losing the potential advantages of high-quality SEO content.

Are people using the tag feature?

news meta tag reportUnfortunately, a new study from search engine Blekko discovered that the majority of onlines news publishers aren’t using the news_keyword tag to increase visibility in Google News. For one reason or another, brands overlooked the tag’s release and introduction.

According to Blekko, approximately 5 percent of brands that publish news content to the web use the tag. The others may miss opportunities to generate new leads via search, as their headlines may not rank at all or the articles might seem irrelevant at first glance. Business owners must evaluate their sites’ traffic to determine if they’re suffering due to the oversight of Google’s unique news tag option. Stagnant growth or even a decline in traffic could be the result of a variety of search functions, including lack of up-to-date SEO tactics.

Search Engine Land does point out that Blekko’s data comes with quite a few flaws. The search engine covers only 4 billion pages on the ‘net, while Google reaches 10s of billions. Blekko might be missing a few publishers, making its findings inaccurate. More, Blekko evaluated sites like tinyurl.com, bit.ly and t.co, and found that they all use the news tag, but since these domains are shortening services, Blekko’s data may fall short in terms of accuracy.

For brands that want to improve their news content marketing efforts, the meta tag may help drive site traffic and website conversions. Brands can implement the new feature in 2013 and analyze traffic and SERP upticks moving forward.