Little use of Google News keyword meta tags

Local SEO is all about optimization, and it's even in the acronym. So when local businesses decide to start a news feed on their given industry or sector to provide content to users, they have to do so in a way that underlays the ever-long quest for optimization. Part in parcel to that is cutting out techniques that do not add to productivity while requiring attention and resources that could be spent on different aspects to the SEO strategy overall.

However, it may be hard to identify such areas, especially when one powerful search engine flouts its new offering, which does little to help advance local SEO. Such is the case for Google News keyword meta tags, which the tech giant introduced just a couple months ago to alleviate the stress news writers feel when trying to fit in keywords to have their articles displayed. But like regular meta keywords, which became obsolete to SEO not long ago, news meta keyword tags have been proven to contribute little to SEO as evidenced by the low adoption rate among news publishers.

Just 5 percent adoption rate
With many Google SEO factors shrouded in secrecy, a rival smaller search engine named Blekko conducted research to find out just how many news writers use the meta tag option. What it found was a surprising low rate of usage. Blekko used official Google data that said more than 50,000 sources publish in Google News, the company then crawled the site to find that 2,465 domains used the meta tag capability, resulting in a 4.93 percent usage rate.

High-profile tag use
However, despite the underwhelming support for keyword meta tag use in Google News, Blekko found that the most consistent users of the tags were high-profile news outlets. Among them were The New York Times, The Guardian, USA Today, The Washington Post, Gawker, Politico, ESPN and ABC News.

The results also came with a bit of a catch. Blekko only covers about 4 billion pages on the internet, while Google covers upward of tens of billions, suggesting Blekko could be undercounting the number of publishers who have adopted keyword meta tag use in news articles.

For local SEO specialists, it all boils down to a question of optimization. If big name publishers do indeed use the tags, but are among a very small minority, local businesses will have to ask themselves just how much they value their news rankings and how much meta tags can actually help.