Posts Tagged 'Metatags'

*Expert Witness States That Keyword Meta Tags Influence The Ranking of Search Engines

by Dynamix Web Design

Ott just pointed out on his blog the expert witness of Frank Farance in the case Jenzabar Inc v. Long Bow Group Inc. in which the expert witness points out that the use of  specific terms in both the KEYWORD meta-tag and the TITLE tag (positively) influenced the ranking of the relevant pages. This comes as a solid surprise as Google has just expressed lately that the use of the KEYWORD meta tag in the header of a web page does not influence the ranking of this site in its results.

However the Farance stated that:

However, when numbering the factors taken into account for the ranking of search results and mentioning the “TITLE” meta tag or the “DESCRIPTION” meta tag, the “KEYWORD” meta tag is not listed:

Still, further down (31) in the witness Farance points out that (1) most webpages of the defendant had pretty (‘copy and paste’) similar headers (that’s the part with all the meta tags),and (2) that only some pages had carefully filled headers. Of these pages whose headers where carefully filled with information ONLY (3) the page relating to the defendant contained keywords that were not also displayed in the visible (body) part of the webpage.

So in my understanding, Farance argues that this fact was critical for the ranking by Google.

My conclusion:

As I have learned during my professional career not to argue with technicians, I can only state with all due respect that I find the witness not conclusive as it e.g. omits all the other factors relevant for the linking of a webpage such as e.g. the number of incoming links pointing onto the pages related to the defendant. I get the impression that the pages in question were optimized for search engines, which would on one hand explain why they contained so many keywords and on the other hand, why they were de facto ranked at a “higher” position in the Google search result.

Furthermore I find it interesting that there is no explicit statement about the influence of the KEYWORD meta tag alone but only about the combined influence of “the TITLE and the KEYWORD meta tag” together. This is surprising as the subsequent paragraphs focus only onto the content of KEYWORD meat tag and I reckon that some people might not notice this detail.

*Of Cats and Dogs -or- The Difference Between Keyword Advertising and Meta Tags

Screen shot 2009-11-02 at 15.03.25
edited by C. Angelopoulos
this is a cross-post to the IPKat’s post.

Actually, I do think making a proper distinction between Keyword Advertising and Meta Tags is important in law; Below, a list of three reasons as to why:

1: Because they aim for different effects.

With the help of meta tags, people attemp to transport content or to improve the ranking of a site in the SEARCH RESULTS, while Keyword Advertising is used to display ADVERTISEMENTS above (Top-Ad) or beside (Side-Ad) the search result. While users soon “learn” to ignore these ads (for more details on this effect see Level of Trust in Search Engines), trying to smuggle oneself into the search results is a way of exploiting users’ incredible, and most probably unfounded, trust in the ranking of search engines (please see here, under Do Users notice the Ads?). So, while the first is a method of advertising, the later one aims at deceit. But does this make any difference in practise? It does!  Why?

2: “Because mummy said so“.

Let’s face it, this has always been the longest running and best argument in the world ever. The market leader has officially declared (again) that it does not consider meta tags for the ranking of its search results. Maybe others do, but Google at any rate doesn’t since 2004(!). So, as there already is a difference in practice, the question is shouldn’t this difference be reflected in the law as well…?

3: Because evolution/development just keeps moving on.

Although cats and dogs are both mammals, only few will argue that they are the same animal. While it is completely reasonable, and in some cases even necessary, to develop analogies between existing practises and new ones, this does not mean that the old terminology should be forced onto new phenomena. The analogy might later (in fact) turn out to be perfectly applicable, but using the old term might prove problematic and should be regarded as unprofessional.

(And dear colleagues let’s face it, not everybody who has been given a BlackBerry by his/her company or has bought him/herself a new shiny/stylish iPhone is an IT-lawyer. This stuff IS sometimes a bit complicated – otherwise my doctoral thesis would prove to be rather pointless! 😉

Please feel most welcome to disagree on any or all of the above and feed this troll by commenting.

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