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12 June 2008

Meta Tags: The "Rules" We Follow

There are some things that you CAN do but SHOULDN'T do because the intent is questionable.

I found yet another example in the web field the other day. I was creating a website for a local company and the owner asked how he could make the site more visible to search engines like Google, Yahoo, Answers, etc.

I began to explain what meta tags were and how he could come up with a list of words for the search engines so they would return the site in searches for those words.

He seemed to understand and then asked how it could be that every time he searched for his store, the competitor came up in the list before him.

A quick "view source" showed us that the competitor had entered my clients company name (word for word) as one of his meta tags.

My Two Choices
Given this turn of events I had the following options:

  1. Tell him 'turnabout is fair play' and simply put the competitors name in our meta tag.
  2. Use the opportunity to model ethical business practice for my client.
Luckily it was fairly easy to choose option 2. My client agreed that it was low business practice and he wanted nothing to do with it. I can only pray that I would have been so ethical if he had have pushed me to do the opposite.

In Summary
In this upside down world it makes sense to do anything to get one up on the competition. And while you may lose market share due to ethical decision-making I believe God will bless you. If not here and now, in the near future or at the end of it all.

Either way I'd much rather be on this side of the fence...

By the way, there is a slight chance you could be taken to court for this behavior. But this isn't the judge I'd be worried about. Even if you get away with your meta tag mayhem in this life, you will stand before The Judge someday.