Is the California Government Website Run By Spammers?


I was doing some research last night and visited the official site for the California State Government. I noticed something a bit "funny" so started viewing the source code and was pretty amazed by what I saw.

You're going to want to visit but you'll have to be quick they have a meta refresh running with a zero second time interval. Take a look at those meta keywords

<meta http-equiv="Keywords" content="Campsites, Camping, State Phone Directory, Tax Refunds, California, Welcome to California, My California, MyCalifornia, MyCA, Government, Welcome to CA, Business, Safety, Health, Health & Safety, History & Culture, History, Culture, Travel, Tourism, Vacation, DMV, DMV appointments, DMV registration, Vehicle Registration, Car Registration, State of California, California Facts, Governor, Governor Gray Davis, Training, Education, Consumers, Families, Family, Social Services, California Consumers, Labor, Environment, Transportation, Commute, Highways, Natural Resources, Professional Licenses, Lottery, Weather, State Parks, Agriculture, Emergency Services, Employee Resources, Financial, Health Care, Housing, Insurance, Legal, Public Safety, Technology, Silicon Valley, Golden State, Veterans, Working, Tax, Outdoors, natural, recycling, officials, governor, traveling, tax form, tax information, disaster, relief, assistance, disabled, schools, schooling, learning, living, driving, press, media, student, visitor, moving, resident, Californian, State Employee, official ">

Holy cow talk about a text book definition of meta keyword stuffing. It is kind of funny what you can get away with on a .gov PR8 website. In case you missed it looks like this one's been running for a while Gray Davis hasn't been Governor of for over 2 years now. When you bounce forward be sure to take notice of the blue on blue text on the top navigation bar as well.


Probably not spammers..

Clueless web designers.

They missed a few...

Arnold, Ahnuld, Governator, Terminator...

So what?

It's a meta keywords tag. Not like it actually does anything. Not to mention that it's not even a real meta keywords tag but a meta http-equiv tag...

So What?

Well I wonder what might have been said if I had submitted a site with those meta keywords at the pubcon site review session. Do you think I would have had some finger wagging and tongue lashing from panel of search engine engineers ...

good enough for..

proves they added the "good enough for government work" quality discount into the algo

As a corporate schlep myself

As a corporate schlep myself our I have to admit our meta tags have looked the same. The business units practically want to put their mission statements into the title and descriptions.

The State of CA isn't interested in paying someone $300/day to tweak meta tags especially when they own the serps for what they care about like "CA DMV"

When you have a PR7+ site it really doesn't matter.

This reminds of when webmasters will tear up a "webmastering" forum because all the code doesn't validate 100% correct, or doesn't use all CSS, or doesn't meet section 508 requirements.

Do you think I would have

Do you think I would have had some finger wagging and tongue lashing from panel of search engine engineers ...

If they did that, it would be pretty silly, imo.

bad idea

Nobody trusts metatag keywords. So they can't help them get more traffic, except possibly in extremely minor search engines that have practically no traffic.

However, it's quite possible that they could be used as a signal for getting flagged as spammy by major search engines -- a case where overdoing it results in you shooting yourself in the foot.

So, that strategy won't help them, and it could potentially hurt them quite a bit.

Does the trustworthiness of .gov and the untrustworthiness of keyword stuffing just cancel each other out?


They could've had Paris Hilton

stuffed keywords and it wouldnt/shouldnt matter. Its the official site of the State of California, and just like with BMW, you cant run a search engine and not have certain sites in your index because of stuff like this that doesnt impact the user.

City website run by a SEO

Ahem, Check out the little minus characters on the bottom of this city's website.


You gotta admit it's totally awesome that TW is the place for outing spammers these days. Dougie would be so proud!

I reported them to the Attorney General

I reported them to the Attorney General a year ago.
The response I got, was "We will consider if it warrants action".
It clearly violates State code for goverment websites.
Our tax dollars at work.

Is there more than meet the eye?

If I'm not exaggerated, there might be more anomalies than this one that made G to start teaching them what is good, bad and the ugly. ;-)

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