META Keywords Don't Matter According to US Court

Apr 28, 2008 • 10:22 am | comments (3) by twitter | Filed Under Search Engine Industry News

At Search Engine Land, Barry writes about how a US court has decided that META keywords don't matter -- they are "immaterial." The tip came from Eric Goldman's blog where he writes about a recent case that held a company responsible for including trademarked terms in their meta tags.

In this case, because search engines don't use the actual META tags, there is no case. Jill Whalen says on Sphinn that you can test this easily by including a page with an arbitrary word and seeing if that word will come up in your search results once Google spiders the page.

META keywords are not discussed in this Google Help document which should support the law's findings.

However, as another member points out, Yahoo may be using these keywords to rank. In other words, the US Court is overly focused on Google, but perhaps they should weigh in on other search engines.

Forum discussion continues at Sphinn.

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Michael Martinez

04/28/2008 06:44 pm

The keywords meta tag was still being used by Yahoo! and Ask the last time I tested them, but its impact seems to be minimal. All of the search engines use the meta description tag for their listings but not for rankings, so far as anyone has been able to determine. The court's ruling is technically correct (it doesn't say meta tags don't matter -- just that they don't have any significant impact). People should NOT be ignoring their meta tags just because Google doesn't index the keywords tag. That's the wrong message to take away from this case.

No Name

04/30/2008 10:24 am

About time for this...meta keywords are barely recognised by search engines, they are invisible these engines put very little weight on meta tags now as they have traditionally been channels of abuse and popular with spammers and black hatters

No Name

11/09/2010 05:16 pm

Perhaps one slant on this or a different perspective is that Google does not pay attention to meta keywords simply because of keyword spam abuse, though that may have motivated them in the beginning, now they simply do not need them anymore because they figured out a far more sophisticated accurate way to see a documents content and relevance. Their algorithym can tell if keywords are semi-natural by the text before and after it and probably a hundred other defined ways of looking at word syntax and text structures, like the "pacing," etc.

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