Great news to debunk all myths that have been said and argued in the past. It is official: Google software engineer (and paid link advocate) Matt Cutts stated last week on the Google Webmaster Blog that Google does not use the keywords meta tag in our web search.
Let me clarify. Google does not use the keyword meta tag, or meta description to influence their search results of a said website over another. They will, however, in certain situations use the meta description tag for a snippet in a search result. (if it is good we are told)
This was a response in numerous legal cases where it was argued that a defendant was using the plaintiff’s name, trademarked keyword or phrase in their meta tags to rank, or have relevance for them in a search result. Many have tried to cite Google saying that these tags played an effect in the ranking of a website over another. Not true, at least in regards to Google.
Google uses over two hundred signals in their web search rankings, but the keywords meta tag is not currently one of them, and they don’t believe it will be.
In regards to using a competitor’s name or trademarked / copyright in your meta tags? I’d stay far away from that as possible. We have consulted attorney’s over the past few years in regards to infringement cases. They are never cheap and it’s easy to see where the infringement happens online.