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Are repeated meta keywords duplicate content?
mikem1986




msg:3737162
 9:07 am on Sep 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

if i put this for example?

====================

<meta name="keywords" content="<city>, <city> interview, <city> review">

etc

is having the word <city> in 3 times classed as duplicate content?

=====================

also if i had for example a <city> community website and it had this tag

<meta name="keywords" content="<city> community, visit, <county>, review, poll, interview">

as the standard keywords which are on every page but then before the "<city> community" id add the page specific keywords would this be classed as duplicate content becuase these are on each page?

[edited by: Receptional_Andy at 12:40 pm (utc) on Sep. 3, 2008]
[edit reason] Removed specifics as per charter [/edit]

 

Silvery




msg:3741281
 2:53 pm on Sep 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

I believe that, by-and-large, it's probably preferable to not use the keyword meta tag.

Danny Sullivan tested about a year back and found that Google and Microsoft didn't rank pages based on the words in keyword metatag, although he found evidence that Yahoo! and Ask did.

As to whether it's "strong signal" or "weak signal" for Google, I have a theory that it can be a negative ranking factor, but not a positive one.

I don't believe that Google ranks pages based on keyword meta, but they might use it as a means to help determine their quality score rating of a page or site. If a keyword metatag contains words not found in the webpage, or if it's crammed up with too much content, those might indicate that a page was "overly-SEOed" or spammish. So, it could reduce a page's overall ranking, but not increase it.

For this reason, I think it's best just to not use it altogether. Too many companies mess up their meta keywords tag by adding in too much seemingly-unrelated content (from the search engine perspective), so it's safer and preferable to use other, more widely supported signals for optimization purposes.

Quadrille




msg:3741320
 3:57 pm on Sep 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't go that far - though I'd suggest that if you do use the keywords tag, you use it appropriately.

I've seen no evidence to suggest that a 'good' tag will do harm, and there's always the possibility that it may have some future use, as the SEs get ever more sophisticated.

Having been 'caught out' by the increased importance of the description tag, it's easier to add the keywords tag as I go along, rather than have to play catchup later.

But the only variation I'd make from the 'strict', is perhaps to add a few misspellings, where appropriate, as it has been suggested that Yahoo! notices them. I think it's pretty unlikely that doing so would do any harm, and it may do some good.

Silvery




msg:3741513
 9:38 pm on Sep 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Perhaps you're commenting on another's comments, Quadrille, but if you're not, I'll clarify.

I didn't say or intend to suggest that a "good" tag would do harm. What I was stating was that if a tag contained words not actually appearing on its page, and/or contained far too many terms -- then the tag could be one of the factors Google uses to assess "quality" or "spamscore". If so, then a well-meaning designer might add some apparently-unrelated terms into a meta keywords tag, and cause the page/site to start to accrue some negative hits against their quality score.

Since meta keyword tag doesn't appear to be used by Google as a keyword weighting factor, if I'm correct then it's not going to help you -- but it could hurt you.

Best to avoid it altogether.

Silvery




msg:3741517
 9:42 pm on Sep 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Ah, one additional note -- your idea that search engines might later start weighting the tag so you should use it now to avoid playing catchup later is not a very good theory, if you're aware of the historical context.

Keywords meta tag was earlier used more heavily by search engines, and was a sort of early effort into creating the semantic web. Since it was misused, search engines started dropping it completely or dumbing-down its influence considerably.

Since it was already tried to some degree, and since it seems to encourage spammy behavior, it's highly unlikely that search engines would resurrect it and return it to its earlier level of influence.

Quadrille




msg:3741520
 9:44 pm on Sep 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm happy to disagree with you; I don't see how it can hurt if done correctly. We know the tag *is* used by Yahoo! and we have no way of knowing if it will be used in the future by Google or any new upstart (Does Kewell use it? Who knows? Who cares?).

If done correctly, there's no evidence that it will hurt you, and it may help you.

In SEO, every bit helps. Go for it.

Quadrille




msg:3741524
 9:50 pm on Sep 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

You posted as I was writing:

SEs did drop the use of the tag due to abuse; but SEs get more sophisticated by the month - and they live in the now. Even Ask can tell the difference between a spammy KW tag and one that reflects the page content; Google can tell the difference while juggling seven tomatoes and wearing a blindfold. So the past need not prevent a future use.

Sure, we could all wait for that day - but as I said before, it's easier for me to add them as I create pages, than to play catchup when / if that day comes. And I see no risk. And I may get Yahoo! benefit.

Let's agree to differ; we clearly aren't convincing each other!

[edited by: Quadrille at 9:51 pm (utc) on Sep. 9, 2008]

tangor




msg:3741567
 11:34 pm on Sep 9, 2008 (gmt 0)

Let's agree to differ; we clearly aren't convincing each other!

Agreed! Since there is no real evidence meta keywords help (or don't) code to one's own comfort!

pageoneresults




msg:3741626
 1:22 am on Sep 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Its amazing how we can have this lengthy of a discussion on an element that is supposedly deprecated by the major SEs. I've followed this element along with many others over the years. This argument doesn't hold water for me... :)

Keywords meta tag was earlier used more heavily by search engines, and was a sort of early effort into creating the semantic web. Since it was misused, search engines started dropping it completely or dumbing-down its influence considerably.

"Dumbing down its influence considerably." Here we go again with the little bit of wiggle room as tedster referred to it as. Dumbing down would have been the best option for them to choose. I'm not too certain that is was the magic bullet when everyone claimed it to be. It might have had a bit more influence back in the days but that was resolved over time.

Since it was already tried to some degree, and since it seems to encourage spammy behavior, it's highly unlikely that search engines would resurrect it and return it to its earlier level of influence.

Okay, let's take that same philosophy and apply it to all the html elements on the page. So, the keywords element is of little value, understood. That means the focus has shifted elsewhere correct? Couldn't the "encourage spammy behavior" be applied to any single html element? We've seen meta description abuse, <h> abuse, and all sorts of other element abuse. I would think by now that most of the SEs algorithms can determine whether or not an element on a page combined with others passes a certain threshold, yes?

So, does that mean that there is no weight given to meta descriptions? How about meta rel elements? How about author elements? Are these all to be avoided because they've been abused over the years? Come on, the year is 2008, I think we can agree that the SEs do a pretty good job of determining page quality. It's the external factors they can't control! ;)

If a keyword metatag contains words not found in the webpage, or if it's crammed up with too much content, those might indicate that a page was "overly-SEOed" or spammish. So, it could reduce a page's overall ranking, but not increase it.

I'm glad you brought that up! Someone mentioned earlier that the removal of the meta keywords and meta descriptions elements caused their rankings to improve dramatically. Again, I like to see what they looked like before they were removed and whether or not they qualified for that threshold that may have been crossed?

Removing something and then confirming that it was the cause of something else should lead you back to the original element that was removed. What was wrong with it? Saying that the removal of meta descriptions would improve your performance in the SEs is asking a few to commit webicide. I'll bet there aren't too many here that would take you up on that offer, to remove the meta description elements from their pages. Anyone willing to do that for testing purposes? ;)

potentialgeek




msg:3741706
 4:09 am on Sep 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Silvery I think is on the money. I was going to suggest similar ideas.

Also want to point out that some of the statements about tags quoted as authoritative could have been made before new patents were filed and new penalties added to the algo. We can't bank on their early statements which were never supported by the statement "This will always be true." Nor can we assume that if changes are made, Google is going to issue a statement saying its previous comments are no longer valid.

Silvery mentioned the spam issue that packed meta keywords could cause and Tedster suggested certain signals could be flagged by Google for closer inspection. The 950 penalty or phrase-based spam penalty at its core (Tedster has posted excerpts from the patent previously) considers the similarity between words and phrases as signals of spam.

In other words, Google knows spammers blanket themes to catch as many similar phrases as possible. This leads to an obvious potential flag from Google with respect to meta keywords, because the widely accepted if not practiced idea among webmasters (at least years ago) was that you should include similar keywords and phrases, including typos.

Unless Google has specifically coded the part of its algo that looks for phrase spam to ignore keywords, and we don't know that it did, meta keywords could lead to penalties.

I would further suggest that thin sites with little on-page text that are stacked with meta keywords are more likely to get penalized. It's rarely natural for a short page to, for example, require more keywords than on-page text.

A lot of meta keywords are redundant. Google already gets the idea about a page from your title and meta description and on-page text plus IBLs and site theme.

I don't use meta keywords.

p/g

robzilla




msg:3741772
 6:42 am on Sep 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

I still use them. Creating them forces me to think about the keywords and short phrases that are most important to a page. That's something I consider to be of value to myself as a webmaster, so why wouldn't it be so that, by properly using the tag, it would also be of value to search engines?

tangor




msg:3741819
 7:56 am on Sep 10, 2008 (gmt 0)

Removing something and then confirming that it was the cause of something else

Don't think that what was said. :)

I believe what was said was a static page over eight years old WITH NO CHANGES saw an increase when the meta statements were removed. A subsequent 10 page modification (from the same time period) received a subsequent increase. And NONE of the meta statements removed were over the top or wrong, or in error. I think there's too much pie in the sky speculation going on regarding meta keywords and descriptions, and perhaps personal opinion as to what constituents a "proper" keyword/description.

250 word article, ad with pics, plus price.

Description seems to have some value. Keywords does not seem to have similar value. Google appears to lean toward CONTENT as opposed to keywords and description. At some point, it seems, we can overdo.

YMMV

[edited by: tedster at 11:08 am (utc) on Sep. 10, 2008]
[edit reason] no specific keywords, please [/edit]

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