Imagine if you had to give someone a specific set of instructions, but couldn’t use any negative terms. Tell someone how to build a bicycle wheel for example — how to select the rim, hub, and spokes based on need, then how to lace the spokes, how to tension them properly, and how to make sure the wheel ends up round and true. Now, do it without saying “don’t”, or anything else that would help with error trapping.
Negative terminology is insanely useful when trying to provide instruction, or when categorizing materials. You see it in Google AdWords, for example, and in very rudimentary forms for SEO (robots.txt and META noindex), but why can’t we go above and beyond?
There’s two things that it would be simple to build out as standards, but doesn’t seem to have been done.
1. A <META name=”negative keywords” content=”"> Tag
This would be super-useful in letting Google (and the also-rans) that “hey, these terms do not apply to indexing this page”—if I set “motorcycle” as a negative keyword, then it should be obvious that by “bike”, I mean “bicycle”…
2. A <noindex></noindex> Tag Set
This is even more simple — it’s like a noindex META tag specifically for one block of HTML. Anything wrapped in this tag automatically gets ignored for the purposes of indexing.
Anyone have any other ideas in this vein?