Robert_Charlton - 6:23 am on Sep 3, 2012 (gmt 0)
meta keywords still do matter
Only in an oddball case like this one where there are presumably legitimate links pointing at the page, but the text isn't reflected elsewhere on the site. The situation illustrates how Google's anti-Google Bomb filter works, and it tells us that an occurrence of the term in the meta keywords will disable the filter.
I discussed a similar example a couple of months ago, in this July 2012 thread....
Meta keywords - are they worth it?
As I'd noted about an example we allowed to be posted...
The page is ranking because of inbound links along with years of quirky online marketing. Several of the meta keywords appear to be supplying a confirmation to Google that the inbound links containing them aren't unwelcome Google bombs, but the meta keywords themselves are not otherwise causing the page to rank.
Some years back, I remember that on a search engine conference panel, when asked about meta keywords, Yahoo said that it referred to meta keywords only when all other signals had been exhausted. On the same panel, Matt Cutts said that Google wasn't using meta keywords, but that it reserved the right to do so when it wanted to. ;) In the case of disabling the Google Bomb filter, this might be such an instance....
If you remove the meta tag without adding confirming text on the page, chances are that the site will disappear again. This doesn't mean that meta keywords help in a competitive ranking situation... just that when you deny Google all rational signals of identification, they will use meta keywords as a confirmation. No search engine is psychic. It's really best if you help them by including your relevant content on the page.
Worth noting in this regard that way back, when meta keywords were given weight by search engines, Inktomi considered it spam to include words in the meta keywords that weren't also included onpage.
Regarding this test...
Put a unique, gibberish word (that there are no results for in Google) into a keywords metatag on an indexed page.
I'm curious whether a meta keyword by itself will be enough. It might need the boost of an inbound link (in which case there would be two pages ranking for it), but I'm not sure.
It would be an interesting two-step test.... do it first just as the meta keyword, then, if there are no results, hit it with inbound link(s). Also, I'd monitor also with a site:testdomain search at various stages of the test, to see whether there are thresholds of ranking that a meta keyword can trip.
Well, I for one am going to test this, I rank 7th for a keyword and have done for a year or so. I do not run keywords at all. Just entered the keyword now. Lets see.
IMO, it's not likely that the meta keyword will help in a competitive situation at all.