SEO Tip #68: Are There Any Plans to Implement a Negative keyword Meta Tag?

Matt Cutts: This is a very good question. My guess is most people do not want to tell the search engines, “Oh no please you’re sending too much traffic. Go away, I don’t want you to show me a lot more users and visitors.” So honestly it’s not a request that we have really heard that often. I don’t know that I remember anyone ever asking for that before.

We have to prioritize in terms of engineering resources. And even if we introduce something like a negative keyword meta tag, whenever we roll our new indexing code or new ways of crawling things we’d have to support that going forward.

So we try to think in terms of things that we write not just creating features and features and features and features forever, because you don’t want to support tons of stuff that not a lot of people would really use.

Really I think of that as a failure in our search quality ranking. It’s our job to make sure that girls in the bathrooms returns relevant results. I’m not quite sure what a relevant result would look like that would be a high quality, really useful result; it depends on the intent of the user probably.

But that’s the sort of thing where we can look at that and we can say, “Okay, what do we need to do to return higher quality search results or something that’s more useful to the user?”

So thank you for flagging that, but we haven’t heard enough people asking, “Please don’t send me the traffic. I really would not like to show up for this phrase.” If enough people request it then we might, but it would also get into a strange situation where someone might say, “Well you said that I was a bad restaurant and I don’t want to show up for bad restaurant.”

We really think it’s best if Google tries to rank what we think are the best search results and then we can always improve our algorithms over time, but I don’t foresee us offering a negative keyword meta tag anytime soon.

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About the Author

Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson has been on the Internet since the its dawn(ie his first computer program was recorded on cassette tape) and his first hard drive cost about as much his current MacBook. His first byline was in 1993 for a local newspaper rag he eventually helmed, and his last “real job” was at a computer start up which ended when it ended. Throughout it all he’s freelanced and blogged. Now he is mesmerized by Search Engine Optimization forever trying to “rise to the top” for the right reasons. He’s been married to his wife Julia for as long as he can remember and has two lovely, wonderful children. He looks forward to sharing the latest in the technical best for all the online entrepreneurs.