Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 18.104.22.168
Forum Moderators: open
Are lots of people out there doing it - making an effort to conceal their keywords from their competitors?
Anyone looking at your site who knows what they're doing can generally figure out what it might rank for without looking at the meta keywords tag.
The keywords tag is disregarded by almost all major search engines, and its usefulness has been in question for years. So there's nothing magic about it, and it's really not worth any great effort to conceal it.
Note: If I saw somebody scrambling meta keywords I would be very curious about what “valuable” information are trying to hide and look at various things (on-page/off-page) to see all the keywords they were actually targeting which, as Robert points out, is not hard to do if you are looking for it. Besides, I prefer to stay away from giving robots different content than viewers.
If a competitor thinks that "stealing" your meta keywords will help him or her, then that is not a very dangerous competitor :)
If you are referring to someone who copies a high ranking pages meta keywords and then steals them verbatim for their own meta keywords thinking that it will help their rankings then I would agree that they are not much competition.
However, if a competent webmaster with basic SEO skills and lots of PageRank is thinking about adding some new content to their site then I don’t want to give up all my keyword gems in the meta tags to help seed their keyword research (Note: I believe wordtracker’s lateral search feature uses related websites meta tags to help seed peoples keyword research).
Many people, including myself, go through considerable effort trying to find the best keywords with wordtracker, overture tool, looking at referral logs, tracking conversion rates, and yes, occasionally checking out what the competition is targeting.