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Google tramples on 'keywords' meta tag charge

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Google has reiterated that it doesn’t use the “keywords” meta tag in its search engine web ranking results.

The company’s search wonk Matt Cutts was at pains to distance Google from any suggestion that the world’s largest ad broker did use the keywords meta tag in its web search system.

“Google does sell a Google Search Appliance, and that product has the ability to match meta tags, which could include the keywords meta tag,” explained Cutts.

“But that's an enterprise search appliance that is completely separate from our main web search. Our web search (the well-known search at Google.com that hundreds of millions of people use each day) disregards keyword meta tags completely. They simply don't have any effect in our search ranking at present.”

Cutts said Google has cold-shouldered the keywords meta tag for the best part of a decade. This is in part because it was so often open to abuse, a fact that is pretty well known among the web glitterati, if not in the real world.

Google is often extremely protective of revealing much about how it ranks web pages via its search engine. But in an accompanying video, Cutts mentions lawsuits that involve the keywords meta tag and Google’s search rankings, which explains why the web giant is oh-so-transparent.

“It’s really not worth suing someone over because, at least for Google, we don’t use that information in our rankings even the least little bit,” said Cutts.

Microsoft on the other hand had this to say about the somewhat controversial keywords meta tag useage in its search engine Bing.

"The meta tag’s keyword attribute is not the page rank panacea it once was back in the prehistoric days of internet search. It was abused far too much and lost most of its cachet. But there’s no need to ignore the tag," wrote Microsoft's Rick DeJarnette in July this year on Bing's webmaster blog. ®

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