I'm at eWorld on the 20th/today to present on New Search Technologies.
I love this topic! So much to talk about. In fact, with only 30 minutes for the presentation there is too much to talk about.
One of the slides I've had to cut is a quick discussion on "new search methodologies". At Search Engine Strategies Chris Sherman has a good slide which bullet pointed meta tags as a failure and then led on to the current trend of tagging. I love the juxtaposition. The relationship between meta tags and tagging is very close.
Is tagging a failure? That's a great debate (more than a bullet point could allow in the time Chris had) Certainly the meta keywords are not worth much these days than the "easy era" (but how often do you see a site ranking well which has inaccurate meta keywords). The meta description is, in my opinion, vital. This is the tag which has the best chance of enticing searchers to click through into your site. One Google patent application would lead us to conclude that this click through rate is very important. If this blog had a low click through rate for the search [Andrew Girdwood] then I could see why Google and the others would begin to drop my rankings for that term.
Then there's the robots meta. Right now the assumption is that search engines are allowed to index and spider by default. Could that change? Look at Google's promotions in Belgium. Imagine helping create a million dollar CMS, omitting the robots meta only then to discover you needed to say "index,follow". That would be an expensive oops.
Search engines have invented two new meta in recent years too.
We have the "noopd" meta tag. That's a glorious tag. I love it. Live Search/MSN had it first. Kudos, much kudos, to them.
Then there's the sitemap XML verification meta tag which Google brought in. That's very helpful where you can't upload .html files (like on Blogger, for example).
What next? Could we see more meta tags? I think so. I think we'll see a resurgence of location and location encoding for sites. It's an appropriate way for webmasters to help search engines geo-target organic results.