If you had to ask any SEO what one of the most overrated and useless SEO tactics of the last decade was, most would respond overwhelmingly: the Meta Keywords tag. The tag has continued to remain a completely useless relic of a bygone era in SEO when keyword over stuffing was the norm. Most people don't even include it in their pages anymore, and for good reason as it's generally a waste of time. But new evidence may suggest that the tag may not be completely ignored by Google as most have believed.
A recent forum thread on High Ranking Forum has discovered Google using the keywords in the tag to fill out internal site search boxes. According to Jill Whalen, she has caught Google filling out her internal forum site search boxes with keyword phrases contained with the Meta Keywords tag. In the case that she describes, Google pulled the entire string of keywords (commas and all) and used that string of words in the internal site search. These searches then generated search results pages which get spidered by Google and then show up in the index.
Jill goes on to say:
"Meta keywords contained on a given page does not influence the search results for *that* page. While yes, it may cause Google to do fill out your internal site search page for those phrases, which in turn they index and the resulting page can then be found in the search engines, that seems to be the extent of it."One of the other members in the forum asks whether the search result page that gets indexed is not just a case of some oddball human or robotic third party creating spammy links which Google then follows to find the search result page. Jill doesnt think this is the case, while not 100% she still thinks all signs point to Google here. It will be noted that over the last couple years the search engines themselves have declared the Meta Keywords tag dead on several occasions: Google here, Yahoo, questionably here, and Bing doesn't either so don't listen to this page it's wrong.
Continued forum discussion at High Rankings Forums