A ‘Standout’ Effort by Google to better its News Results

At the recently held Online News Association Conference in Boston, Google announced a new content tag for U.S news edition – the ‘Standout’ tag. This tag is meant to enable news publishers to flag their top most or exclusive content with a ‘Standout’ tag and thereby signal to Google that it is to be given more priority. Now, news publishers and journalists can put this tag in the HTML header of one of their articles and Google News may show the article with a ‘Featured’ label on the Google News homepage and News Search results.

tandout tag works in the same way as other link rel attributes. When marking a piece of content as standout, you place the tag on that page and indicate the canonical URL. This syntax for putting the tag is:

Standout tag has been sighted as significantly good for news organization and journalists, for, now it will be easier to get the attention of Google’s algorithm to their prime content. At present, the use of Standout tag is limited to at most seven times a week, i.e., publishers can tag only up to seven pieces of content per week. If a news website exceeds this limit, it may find the tag less recognized or ignored by Google altogether.

There is also an option to tag content from another publication on any domain. Unlike the seven-article limit per week on flagging your own content as standout, there is no limit on the number of times you can cite other publication’s content. Citing other sources is, however, different from using the original-source and syndication source tags. While those tags tell Google what version of the story should get credit, a standout tag tells Google whose story is the ‘standout’ version.

Standout tag is just one of the many signals to appeal to the better in Google. It may not on its own influence a story’s placement on Google News but it is an effective way to point out to Google that a certain piece of content is essentially a publisher’s best work or another publisher’s best work. Google has noted that this tag has been introduced ‘in an effort to enable publishers to build this news ecosystem’. And by using links between sites as a way to measure their value, Google is simply broadening the scope of link economy to news. News organizations will simply have to engage with this new link economy or stand to be left out of the search loop.

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