Google News Launches “Standout” Tag for Featured Content

Today at the Online News Association conference, Google introduced a new link rel attribute that news organizations can use to mark their best work. You can mark up to seven pieces of content per week. Google News will use this information as a signal for labeling news stories as “featured” on the Google News home page and in News search results.

The attribute works a similar way as other link rel attributes:

  • The tag should be placed in the <head> section of the source code on the page
  • The syntax is <link rel=”standout” href=”URL”>

For example:

<link rel="standout" 

When marking your own content as standout, you place this tag on that page and indicate the canonical URL. You can also recognize excellent source content from another publication that was a resource in writing your story. In this latter case, you would point to the URL of the source as the href value. You can point to content on any domain. Unlike the seven-article limit per week on flagging your own content as standout, there’s no limit on the number of times you can cite other content.

In other words, you can point to your own domain up to seven times a week (any more than that and Google News will start to ignore this tag) but can point to other domains as many times as you’d like. Citing other sources is different from using the original-source and syndication-source tags. Those tags tell Google what version of the story should get credit; this tag tells Google which story is the “standout” version.

Google News already recently introduced Editors’ Picks, and it’s unclear how these two feature will work together, although a news organization has to be approved for Editors’ picks, whereas any publisher can use the standout tag.

David Smydra, who made the announcement today, spoke at a workshop at the National Press Club earlier this week and provided some interesting tidbits:
  • Google News includes around 50,000 publishers
  • Google searchers click on news stories 4 billion times a month — 1 billion from and 3 billion from news results in web search
  • When searchers skip a result and click the result below it, that is a signal that the clicked result is more trusted, which may boost its ranking in the future
  •  If you embed a YouTube video on a page of a site that’s part of Google News, that video could appear in Google News results even if the channel that it comes from isn’t a Google News publisher

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Content | Features: General | Google: News | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. She built Google Webmaster Central and went on to found software and consulting company Nine By Blue and create Blueprint Search Analytics< which she later sold. Her book, Marketing in the Age of Google, (updated edition, May 2012) provides a foundation for incorporating search strategy into organizations of all levels. Follow her on Twitter at @vanessafox.

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  • Richard

    I think this is a great improvement for those sites that have worked to get there articles shown in Google News and does add an extra dimension for SEO. A quick tip for those who want to help their rankings would be to look at a site that corresponds with their market area, that is included in Google News and make intelligent comments on those stories that the site owner deems more newsworthy.

  • Matthew Read

    I think it’s a good point about the editor’s picks. If publishers have the ability to label content as standout what if the editor wants to ‘pick’ one that isn’t a standout? Will they be limited to what they can pick? Or will the 2 be completely independent of each other?

  • Simon Serrano

    I’m wondering how the 7 limit works on a sub-domain level:

    Say for example, a news organization uses sub-domains to segment it’s content categories (ie.,, does each sub-domain get 7 uses or is the limit counted at the level?

  • RT

    So if I wanted to promote blog posts I could paste this relational tag into a post? It wouldn’t be in the right part of the page is why I ask.

  • Sean Carlos

    It appears that support for “original-source” has been removed. There is no longer a reference to it on the English language help center page, although it is still on foreign language versions. (add the URL parameter &hl=it to see the Italian version for example)

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