Less Than 5 Percent of News Publishers Use Google's New News Keywords Meta Tag
You'd think that when Google comes up with another way to rank well in its search engines that news companies would be all over it. Sadly, that's not the case. About three months ago, Google launched the news keywords meta tag. It's supposed to allow news publishers to have a better chance of ranking for words they otherwise might not have included in headlines. Less than 5 percent of publishers have taken the bait, so to speak, and we've already rolled into a new year. Don't publishers need revenue like anyone else?
Of course they do. For some reason, they're really missing the boat on this one though. Search engine Blekko has released a report that shows just how many pages and sites use the new meta tag. What did Blekko find?
The report, posted on Dec 21st of 2012, shows that there were 2,465 domains on the Internet that used the news keyword tag and even then only on some pages. Google released stats saying that there were 50,000 news sources on the Internet. So, if there are 50,000 sources, but only 2,465 domains using the news tags, that means that there are just under 5 percent of publishers using new tags.
To be fair, Blekko doesn't cover all of the web. In fact, it indexes 4 billion pages on the web. Compare that to Google's index that goes into the 10s of billions of pages. It's reasonable to assume that Blekko might be missing something. Also, Blekko includes sites like tinyurl and bit.ly as sites using the news tag, which they aren't.
Still, 4 billion is a decent portion of the Internet. How many sites are spam sites, abandoned sites, personal blogs, or something on that order? It's equally possible that Blekko is capturing the "essential web" for this analysis.
Change is hard. A lot of news publishers might just be reluctant to spend the resources, both time and money, to do the extra SEO necessary to keep up to date with the latest Google changes. It's also possible that some publishers just don't want to use Google's non-standard tagging scheme. Whatever the case, sites like the New York Times, BBC, CNN, PBS, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and a bunch of other big names are using the tag. Presumably it's the smaller publishers that are lagging behind but then smaller publishers tend to have fewer resources to devote to things like this. What will end-users notice? Probably nothing if all they're reading are big-name news publishers.