Google has seemed to, for a long time, ordered backwards link searches by order of importance. There was a period where they did not, but now again it appears that they are.
I have to completely disagree with the above statement by ChrisB.
Chris while I agree with your findings (I hope I have this correct) That Meta description tags and Meta Keyword tags carry very little or no weight in the ranking algorithm. I do not agree that your so called "controlled tests" in any way proved this.
Just for the sake of argument, why did you include text on the page? Why not try this test with only the meta tag data and one link, with no anchor text, from a page that gets refreshed regularly? Would that not show if Google uses meta tag data as one of the factors in ranking?
I guess what I am saying is that you allowed too many variables in your test that may or may not have effected the out come. Why not eliminate the variables that are not required?
Because of some incessant complaints from the peanut gallery I switched all the pages. The previous meta tag pages have had their tags removed and put on the previous non-meta tag pages.
I know I am just a little peanut, but shouldn't you wait until after google re-figures PageRank and back links before you go jumping to conclusions?
I moved the meta tags all around and ranks did not change.