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Discussion on ISSUE-79: meta-keywords

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2010 20:28:19 -0800
Cc: HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-id: <D33EF0AD-6E0D-4B10-A210-A3ACA9643F7A@apple.com>
To: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>

The Chairs have not seen any discussion of this Change Proposal. Can  
Working Group participants please provide their thoughts on this  
proposal? We would like to see some discussion before we call for  
counter-proposals, call for consensus, or seek some other solution.

Regards,
Maciej

On Feb 7, 2010, at 10:58 AM, Julian Reschke wrote:

> SUMMARY
>
> HTML5 makes unregistered values of meta/@name non-conforming. This  
> will
> affect many pages that use meta/@name = "keywords".
>
> This change proposal makes that value conforming again.
>
>
> RATIONALE
>
> HTML4 did not put conformance requirements on meta/@name values, nor  
> did it define specific ones. It did however mention the keyword  
> (sic) "keywords" in [1].
>
> According to [2], "keywords" is the most widely used value for meta/ 
> @name.
>
> HTML5 makes documents that use unregistered names non-conforming, and
> makes both the registration procedure and conformance rely on a Wiki  
> in WhatWG space. This is a separate issue that we should discuss  
> once the related issue about the @rel registry is resolved (ISSUE-27).
>
> With this change to document conformance, all documents using meta/ 
> @name= "keywords" will become invalid. Note that the current  
> implementation of the HTML5 validator (as of January 2010) does not  
> implement checking of meta/@name yet, so this change has not been  
> visible to people trying to validate their existing pages.
>
> It has been pointed out that search engines have stopped to consider
> keyword information, but apparently this isn't true for all of them
> (see [3], which I have verified).
>
> However, this is not sufficient reason to make it's use non- 
> conforming;
> there are other use cases for embedding keywords, such as in  
> controlled
> environments (building navigation pages / elements from keywords  
> inside
> a content management system has been mentioned).
>
>
> DETAILS
>
> Under "4.2.5.1 Standard metadata names", add:
>
> "keywords
>
>  Contains a comma-separated list of keywords relevant to the page.
>
>  Note that many search engines have stopped to consider keyword
>  information as relevant because it has been used unreliably or even
>  misleading. Recipients are recommended to use this information only
>  when there's sufficient confidence in the reliability of this
>  information, for instance in controlled environments such as sites
>  generated from a content management system.
>
> IMPACT
>
> 1. Positive Effects
>
> Documents using meta/@name="keywords" will be conforming again.
>
> 2. Negative Effects
>
> People may continue to believe that all search engines will use this  
> data, and spending additional time providing it for some of them.  
> This can be mitigated by explaining this in the spec, as proposed  
> above.
>
> 3. Conformance Classes Changes
>
> Documents using meta/@name="keywords" will be conforming again.
>
> 4. Risks
>
> None.
>
>
> REFERENCES
>
> [1] <http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/struct/global.html#edef-META>
> [2] <http://code.google.com/webstats/2005-12/metadata.html>
> [3] <http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/search/indexing/ranking-02.html>
>
Received on Wednesday, 24 February 2010 04:28:52 UTC

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