META tags. Gotta love ‘em. They are pesky bits of HTML code hidden on (some) webpages to give information about each page. Ten years ago, search engines consulted META tags to help them learn what search phrases each page was relevant for. Then people started manipulating META tags to try and convince search engines their pages were the best pages for particular topics by virtue of their META tags saying so. Search engines wised up to this elementary trick (or went bust).
Not that META tags are completely, utterly, totally dead. On rare occasions, Google still uses the META description tag as the page excerpt it quotes in search results. That is, if there’s not a better and more appropriate quote that fits the search query better.
The META keywords tag, however, was buried several years ago, when even Yahoo/Bing apparently had abandoned it. Keywords as in…
<META name=”keywords” content=”spam, spam and eggs, spam and bacon, spam spam spam and bacon, and oh hey bing this is the greatest webpage ever on spam, so let me repeat the word spam a few more times, spam spam, spam, spammity spam”>
Squidoo fills in the META keywords tag on each lens with your Squidoo tags, by the way. It’s quaint that way.
However — wait! Stop the presses! Our old friend Danny Sullivan has checked with Bing and discovered that Bing still uses the META keywords tag as a signal!
Now that all the spammers with short attention spans have run off to start keyword stuffing their tags, here’s the information you need to know. Danny Sullivan reports that Bing is only using the META keywords tag as a possible warning sign of spam and shallow content. The META keywords tag won’t help improve your rankings at all, but if you keyword stuff your META tags — or, on Squidoo, your Squidoo tags — you could get a Bing penalty.
Please, don’t tell the keyword stuffers. Don’t tell them about duplicate content penalties, either. It means more opportunities in the SERPs for the rest of us.
Next up, HOW TO GET HUGE PILES OF SQUIDOO POINTS! Go! Quick! SquidLike your way to the top of the SquidPoints system and get all kinds of SquidLevels!
(I love these silly games which distract low-content-providers from more effective ways of gaming the system.)