Google Makes it Easier to Identify Original News Sources

If you are an SEO/SEM professional, you already know just how important content creation can be.  Content is a driving force in attracting the attention of the major search engines and keeping visitors on your site, satisfied with the information you provide them and a lure for them to keep coming back.  With so much content creation on the web, it can sometimes be difficult for Google to figure out just who created the content and if it is the original source.

It’s only fair that the person that creates the original content reaps the benefits; however with so much content creation on the web, it’s not surprising that in certain circumstances Google thinks the original source of the content turns out to be on a site that either syndicates content or worse- uses content without permission from the content creator.  To combat this issue Google has recently rolled out a way to try to ensure that the original content and the site that it belongs to gets the credit.

Original Source Meta-Tag
If you are the creator of original content and you want to make sure that you receive credit from Google for posting it onto your website or blog, Google now offers its Original Source meta-tag.  If your site has ever been scraped for content or if you have been a victim in the past of content theft, this tag can be a huge benefit to protecting your content and ensuring that credit is given to you.  You can view the tag below:

meta name=”original-source” content=http://www.somedomain.com/article1.html

The tag should be placed in the header section of your page wherever original content is posted.  With the sample above, you simply insert your url where the original content is posted in the place of (://www.somedomain.com/article1.html).

Syndicated Source Meta-Tag
We already discussed the original source meta-tag, but in addition Google also offers those that share content from other sites a syndicated source meta-tag.  This tag is specifically created for those that would like to share content, but also would like to alert Google that it was not created by them or is the original source.  For sites and blogs that like to give credit, where credit is due, this is the perfect way to cite your sources for Google.  You can view the tag below:

meta name=”syndication-source” content=http://www.somedomain.com/article1.html

The tag should be placed in the header section of your page wherever shared content is posted.  With the sample above, you simply insert your url where the syndicated content is posted in the place of (://www.somedomain.com/article1.html).

These Tags are in an Experimental Phase
It should be noted that both the original source meta tag and the syndicated source meta tag are both in an experimental phase.  Google obviously wants to see how well they provide them with information and whether or not sites are using these tags to possibly game the system.  These tags have been available for a few months, so hopefully soon, Google will report back to webmasters on whether they will continue or if further modifications are needed on the webmaster end.

For SEO/SEM Professionals
Obviously, if you create content that you would like to show up in Google News, you want to make sure that credit is given to you by Google.  For those that create lots of content, it may be a good idea to utilize the original source tag.  In addition, if you share content that others have created and are looking to cite your source, then definitely utilize the syndicated tag.

It is important to note that the flaw with using the syndicated content tag is that you don’t get penalized if you don’t use it and the benefits of using the syndicated tag may actually hurt a site if it is used.  Google knows about this paradox and is looking at ways to counter this issue.
Another issue that many are discussing is that certain sites may try to game the system and use the original source tag on their website even though they are not the original source of the content.  Again, Google is looking into this issue and is requesting feedback from website developers for input.

Only time will tell whether or not these meta tags continue to be used by Google, however if you are a content creator looking for tools to ensure you receive credit for your content, definitely look into using these tags.

Please consult the Google help page for these tags at the following link:  http://www.google.com/support/news_pub/bin/answer.py?answer=191283