Three things in this world are certain: death, taxes and the fact that search engine optimisation WILL make your site get more clicks - and therefore more ad revenue.
Google knows this better than most.
So, handily, the tech giant has made its tagging system slightly more complicated - but with interesting results. In addition to existing content tags, 'original-source' and 'syndication-source', there is now a new way of highlighting content that is genuinely excellent: the 'standout' tag. Content marked as such is highlighted by the search engine algorithm and may appear on the 'featured' tab of Google News homepage or appear in Google News search results: therefore, the page gets more views.
As Neiman Lab reports, the 'standout' tag may encourage more cooperation between online publishers.
Why? Because Google has naturally limited the number of articles that can be marked as 'stand-out'. A news organisation can only mark 7 of its own stories per week as standout, any more than this and the algorithm will start to ignore the tags.
However, the idea of cooperation arises when you realise that, when it comes to other people's material, it is possible to mark as much content as you like as 'stand-out'. Hence the back scratching begins: you tag mine, I'll tag yours. If newspapers tag each other's content as 'standout' then everyone gets more of chance to be featured by Google.
The Google News blog outlines why it thinks this cooperation is such a great idea : "Linking out to other sites is well recognized as a best practice on the web, and we believe that citing others' standout content is important for earning trust as you also promote your own standout work."
As the blog points out, this credit giving system "will only succeed if the publisher community helps it succeed." As mutually beneficial exercises like 'follow Fridays' on twitter are so commonplace within the journalistic community, is this tag the natural next step? Or, in an industry squeezed by the vast amount of competition offered by the web, is the possibility of giving the competition the upper hand just a little too hard to swallow?