Recently, I began noticing the meta tags on websites. The meta tags are hidden keywords that site operators can use to influence their site's
appearance in search engine results.
If you're not aware of what "meta tags" are, here's the quick version. Basically, they serve two functions: (1) they let a WWW server tell your
browser what character set (i.e. font and size) to use, the title of the page, and other things to make the page you see look right; and (2) they
serve as a beacon/ranking tool for search engines. The web designer can place certain words in the meta tags, which then get scanned by the crawlers
at Google, and used to arrange searches.
Focus on the second one for this experiment. Go to a government web page, then view the meta tags using one of these methods. In IE, go to
View/Source. The meta tags can be found under the "keywords" area. In Firefox, the tags can be viewed with Tools/Page Info, then find
Check out the meta tags for these websites. (Keep in mind that the person running the site has chosen those keywords, which he or she knows will be
used to give results for search engines.)
www.whitehouse.gov: "social security, medicare, energy, tax relief, Education, policies, White House history, White House news, news, United States
of America, 43rd President, George W., W., George W, President George W. Bush, President Bush, White House, government"
www.house.gov: "US House of Representatives, US House, Representatives, Members of Congress, Congress, The Capitol, Capitol Hill, Congressional,
Committees, Member Sites, Committee Sites, Leadership Sites, Politics, Political, US government, united states government, united states house of
representatives, US Code, US laws, united states code, united states laws, visiting washington dc, Washington dc, legislative information,
legislation, bills, amendments, congressman, congresswoman, congressperson, 108th Congress, congressional schedule, this Week on theHouse Floor,
currently on the house floor, the legislative process, roll call votes, write your representative, internet law library, today in committee"
www.senate.gov: [No keywords]
www.cia.gov: "US Central Intelligence Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, CIA, C.I.A., cia, c.i.a., Intelligence, Government, United States, Goss,
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, directors of central intelligence, cia homepage, cia home page, cia factbook, cia fact book, cia world
factbook, cia world fact book, world factbook, world fact book, intelligence community, US intelligence Community, spy, spies, the company"
www.republicans.org: "republicans, republican party, george w bush, john mccain, al gore, grand old party.,republicans, george w bush, al gore,
republican party, john mccain, grand old party., republican party, al gore,republicans, john mccain, george w bush, grand old party., george w bush,
republican party, grand old party., john mccain,republicans, al gore, al gore, george w bush,republicans, grand old party., republican party, john
mccain,republicans, john mccain, al gore, george w bush, republican party, grand old party"
www.democrats.org: [No keywords I can find.]
www.usmilitary.com: "us military, U.S. Army, us navy, us air force, us marines, military pay scale, army reserve, air force reserves, military ranks,
news, benefits, army pay scale, navy seals, air national guard, military pay chart, us coast guard, military uniforms, reserve, united states army,
united states military"
www.marines.com: "usmc, Marine, Marines, Marine Corps, Marine Corp, US marines, US marine corps, recruiting, recruit, training, join, official
marines site, military, us military, few, proud, armed services, armed forces, job, jobs, career, careers"
www.goarmy.com: [No keywords I can find.]
I'm curious...where's "Iraq"? "Afghanistan?"
For more on meta tags: searchenginewatch.com...