How much is the keywords meta tag used in the main search results?
Basically not at all.
Let’s talk about that in a little more detail because sometimes people file lawsuits; you know, Alice has alice.com and Bob has bob.com, and maybe Bob takes Alice’s name and puts it in the keywords meta tags, and then Alice sees that, and she gets really angry and she, you know, talks to Bob and maybe sues Bob and all that sort of stuff… Well, how much should Alice be worried about, you know, Bob using that one term “Alice” in the keywords meta tag? The answer is: we don’t use the keywords meta tag in our search ranking.
Now, we do use some meta tags for the Google Search Appliance, so you can specify: “only return results if they match a meta tag” and things like that. But for our main, core web search, whenever we look at the keywords meta tag, we say “you know what, too many people have spammed that too much”. We really just don’t use this information at all.
Now that’s not to say we don’t use any meta tags. For example, there’s one called “meta description”. And oftentimes if you have a good meta description tag, we will use that information or part of that information in our snippet. So if we’re going to return alice.com and your meta description is something really useful, we might show that as the snippet in the search result. But if you’re looking at the keyword meta tags, we really don’t use that at all. So don’t bother to get frustrated if someone else is using your name in the keywords meta tags. It’s not really worth suing someone over because at least for Google, we don’t use that information in our ranking even the least little bit.
by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team