Do Website Meta Tags Really Matter to Search Engines?

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 9:15 AM on October 1, 2009:

Handshake 2.0 asked Daryl Scott, creator of competitive intelligence software AttaainCI, for his expertise on the news that Google does not use the keywords meta tag in web ranking.  According to Matt Cutts of Google's Quality Search group, "Google uses over two hundred signals in our web search rankings, but the keywords meta tag is not currently one of them, and I don’t believe it will be."

Daryl Scott replied:

Page content has always been far and away the most important factor in SERP - Search Engine Results Page - for specific keyword types of searches (especially long-tail searches). My feeling is it doesn't hurt to add Keywords meta tags (there are many apps out there and some may use this info in some ways that are useful now or in the future).

The real message to me is re-stating the obvious - namely that the Description meta tags (and Title tags, too, for that matter) are important because they offer an opportunity to control what message is displayed in the search results snippet. Some sites ignore the Description tag because they think "meta tags don't matter," and then get goofy-looking search engine generated snippets, missing a marketing opportunity to display a more meaningful message by supplying a meaty page description meta tag.

Title and Description meta tags as displayed by AttaainCI

Above is a screenshot demonstrating the correspondence of Title and Description meta tags (as displayed in AttaainCI) with the Google search results for a sample company.


Daryl Scott is the founder, President and CEO of Attaain, Inc., and was featured in the first Rackspace Tech Showcase on Handshake 2.0.

Rackspace Tech Showcase - Attaain, Inc.

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 6:00 AM on July 28, 2009:

From Daryl Scott, Founder, President, CEO, Attaain, Inc.:

Daryl Scott created AttaainCI, a competitive business intelligence and market intelligence system I hate to see business information going to waste.

Handshake 2.0 asked me what led to the development of Attaain Inc./AttaainCI.  I guess you could say I have a recurring habit of taking emerging technologies and applying them to business problems in need of a solution.

Prior to founding Attaain Inc., I applied a wide range of technology platforms to create a wide range of business solutions.

My underlying formula in all of these applications:

Latest computing platform + under-utilized data +
business need = unique business information solution

In a nutshell, my technology/application chronology goes something like this:

  • 1976: TI-59 programmable calculator: statistical applications
  • 1977-1979: TRS-80: Marketing applications
  • 1980-1983: Apple II+/Apple IIe: Marketing applications
  • 1984-1993: Macintosh/Windows: Sales/marketing/advertising and mapping/geographic information systems (GIS) applications
  • 1993-1996: Apple Newton: applications for “mobile professionals”
  • 1996-1998: Windows CE: general mobile computing business applications
  • 1999-2001: Windows/Windows CE: client/server field force automation and data collection applications
  • 2001-Present: Internet/Web Browser: business/company/market intelligence software-as-a-service (SaaS)

AttaainCI was born of the latest need arising from the intersection of emerging technologies, information and business. On the technology front, the growth of widespread high-speed internet connectivity combined with the explosion of business-related information available via the internet, plus the advent of the Software–as-a-Service (SaaS) business model created a perfect storm of opportunity in my mind.

The vast amount of strategic decision-making information now available via online sources can lead to a severe case of “information overload” when attempting to manually process and analyze all of this information in a timely and cost-effective manner. As a result, crucial company and market information often goes overlooked and under-utilized.

This led to the development of AttaainCI as a web-based framework (hosted on Rackspace servers, naturally!) for researching, analyzing and tracking this flow of real-time intelligence about companies, people and markets. Clients rely on these company and market insights to gain strategic advantage in their business development, sales prospecting, marketing/competitive intelligence and other key business activities.

So, substituting back into my time-tested formula above:

Internet/Web Browser + under-utilized real-time business intelligence + the need to gain cost-effective competitive advantage in business development/sales/marketing = AttaainCI

End of business information going to waste.


Attaain Inc. delivers “active intelligence for strategic advantage” with AttaainCI, the comprehensive web-based solution for researching, analyzing and real-time tracking of competitive business intelligence and market intelligence on key companies, people and markets. Attaain received the 2009 Innovation Award from the NewVa Corridor Technology Council.  Daryl Scott generously shares his knowledge and experience with Handshake 2.0. Feel free to read more about Attaain on Handshake 2.0.


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Blog Content - To Duplicate or Not Duplicate?

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 11:25 AM on March 17, 2009:

In the print world, writers expect to have multiple publications of their works.  An article, for example,  might appear first in a magazine, then in an anthology, then in a collection of the writer’s essays.  Multiple publications increases the reputation – the “relevance” – of the writer’s standing.

Online, multiple publications of a blog post, however, are reputed to decrease “relevance” with search engines and may actually harm the standing of the blog post in search engine listings.

Many companies have multiple blogs, or are parts of networks of blogs – including their own employees’ corporate or individual blogs - which have different segments of readers.  Content on one blog may appeal to readers of another blog.

Yet, we hear it’s a “no-no” to repost and duplicate content.

We asked Daryl Scott, creator of competitive intelligence software AttaainCI, for clarification.

From Daryl Scott:

Let’s consider Site A and Site B.

  • Having a link from Site A to Site B could increase traffic for Site B.
  • Having the content from Site B duplicated on Site A could help increase traffic to Site A (i.e., more content to be discovered by the search engines).
  • It is doubtful that duplicating the content would benefit BOTH Sites.

Search engines automatically handle duplicate content all the time, and generally "decide" which site to show in the search results if duplicate content is found, and they also "decide" the order of the sites within the search results that have the duplicated content (sometimes even eliminating one of the duplicates from the results).

A possible side effect of running the exact same content on both Sites A and B is that one of them may get rewarded while the other is not (and maybe does not even show up in the search results).

So, in the worst case scenario from Site B’s point of view, Site A might show up in the search results related to the content rather than Site B.  Maybe that's OK, based on what the blog writers are trying to accomplish, but it’s just something to consider.

 If Sites A and B are working in cooperation with each other, the best way to leverage the content of Site B is probably to "paraphrase" it (and perhaps comment on it to add value) on Site A and also provide the link to the source. That adds new content to Site A while still providing the value of a link to the source to Site B.

The whole subject of "duplicate content" and even the so-called "duplicate content penalty" (which is not so much a penalty as just a lack of benefit in some cases as described above) has been covered at length on the Internet. 

If you have interest, you might check out these discussions that cover this topic in more detail:  Demystifying the "duplicate content penalty" from the Official Google Webmaster Blog and The Duplicate Content Penalty Myth.


From Handshake 2.0:

Thanks to Daryl Scott for our new understanding of duplicate content, we won't duplicate the content here, but we pointed out in Company Intelligence:  My Company or That Other Company? that a free company intelligence report from AttaainCI offers an intriguing dilemma. 

Will I choose a free report to find out what everyone else knows about my company?  Or will I choose a free report to find out everything about my top competitor? 

Free company intelligence report from AttaainCI on my company

ree company intelligence report from AttaainCI on that other company


Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 6:00 AM on October 13, 2008:

In my AttaainCI orientation meeting with Daryl Scott, founder of Attaain, Inc., he probably wished I had asked him how I and other companies can apply his competitive intelligence software, AttaainCI, to better position themselves in their targeted markets.

Daryl Scott, creator of competitive intelligence software AttaainCI, President and CEO of Attaain, Inc.

I can't remember my exact words, but they were probably something like, "This is exciting!  Now what?"

Scott offered me a very simple way to use AttaainCI.

He said companies should ask themselves four key questions:

  • What do I want my company to be?
  • Who is already there?
  • How did they get there?
  • What important market/competitor changes are occurring?

He created AttaainCI to answer those questions.

As I watch myself using AttaainCI, and I talk with other subscribers of Web-based AttaainCI, I find myself and fellow users engaged with--and finding answers to--those questions in business-defining, business model-enhancing, strategy-developing, creativity-provoking ways.

When I subscribed to AttaainCI, I thought I was just getting software, you know, like Norton Anti-Virus.  Just a tool.

I didn’t expect to be inspired to think about my business in new ways.

I feel like I have a new equity business partner:  Mr. ACI, The AttaainCI Advisor.

Daryl Scott, creator of competitive intelligence software AttaainCI,
President and CEO of Attaain, Inc.
at VT KnowledgeWorks - Photograph by Dan Smith

Attaain, Inc. is a member company of business acceleration center VT KnowledgeWorks, located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, a technology, research, and science park on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.  The research park provides high-technology companies access to university faculty, facilities, and equipment and business-related support services.  The Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center fosters commercialization and technology transfer of university research for both high-tech start-up companies and established technology businesses.

AttaainCI Competitive Intelligence Advice for Blog Diva

Posted by Handshake 2.0 at 6:00 AM on August 5, 2008:

Greetings, Blog Diva!

Using Attaain, Inc.'s AttaainCI web-based competitive intelligence software-as-a-service (SaaS), I noticed that your Handshake 2.0 pages use the same description meta tag on each page ("High-tech business news site") and do not have any keyword meta tags. For your perusal, here's an AttaainCI Website Keywords by Page Report (.pdf) for Handshake 2.0.

You might put on the to-do list to give each page a unique, meaty description (since some search engines pull this as the excerpt in search listings), and also add some meaningful meta keywords related to each page as well. These are easy for your web person to integrate, and will help your search performance.

One other random thought (which you probably know already)... if you're really interested in generating ad revenues from Google's AdSense, you might consider sprinkling-in two more AdSense units someplace on your pages, since you are actually allowed a total of three in any combination of sizes/shapes per page (plus two of the "link units if you wanted them someplace, too). If you integrate additional ad units in-line with some of your nice content, you may get more click-through on the ads, as well.

Good luck with Handshake 2.0!

Best wishes,
Daryl Scott, President
Attaain, Inc.

Information for this post was gathered using AttainCI, Attaain, Inc.'s web-based competitive intelligence software-as-a-service (SaaS).  The AttaainCI competitive intelligence system tracks key competitors, sales prospects, customers, potential partners, target markets, industry people and more.