Search Engine Information Retrieval: Empirical Research on the usage of Meta Tags to enhance Web Site Visibility and Ranking of e-Commerce Web Sites.

Weideman, M. & Kritzinger, W.T.

Proceedings of the 7th World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics. 27-30 July. Orlando, Florida, USA.

Weideman, M. & Kritzinger, W.T. 2003. Search Engine Information Retrieval: Empirical Research on the usage of Meta Tags to enhance Web Site Visibility and Ranking of e-Commerce Web Sites. Proceedings of the 7th World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics. 27-30 July. Orlando, Florida, USA. Online: www.zaw3.co.za

ABSTRACT
The principal objective of this research project was to determine the extent to which e-Commerce websites make use of metadata to enhance website visibility to search engines. The methods employed were to firstly identify a number of e-Commerce websites, and secondly to inspect, record, and analyze the relevant meta tags used in its coding. A subset of 200 e-Commerce websites was compiled by extensive Internet searching using standard search engines and portals. Each site was evaluated to confirm its qualification as an e-Commerce site, and its three visibility-related HTML meta tags were inspected. The results prove that a reasonable percentage of e-Commerce web pages make use of the three meta tags in question, but none make use of Dublin Core. An average score of 66.83% was earned overall. The primary conclusion reached is that initially meta tag usage appears to be reasonably high, considering figures of 60% and above. However, if the percentages of the non-users are extrapolated across the size of the WWW, while assuming that not all web pages are e-Commerce based, a large number of web pages are not availing themselves of one of the most basic visibility features.
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