"give some suggestions on how they could
improve it's performance on the web."
It's traditional to obey the HTML standard,
and have the META tags inside the
tags instead of placing them in the body. They
are illegal in that position, so a robot that
conforms to the standard would ignore them. Without
META tags, ones ranking tends to slip in those
serach engines that rely on META tags.
Looking further ... it's a ghastly site! I don't know the
author of the page, but he does not have the level of expertise
that a professional should, and didn't validate the HTML.
[font size="4" face="Arial"]
[ and the tags.
It has been my experience that robots will give
higher ranking to valid HTML than to the WYSIWIG
kluges created by authoring software.
Submit the URL to any of the online validators and see what
errors come back. Fix them and resubmit. The site will automatically do
"He claimed that there were only a few minor
engines that would penalized this"
Can he specifically name the major ones that don't? It's
not difficult to reprogram search robots ... and it's done
continually as they refine their techniques.
" and was able to go online and show us several sites
that were doing this technique and were at the
top of their respective keyword lists in the
search engines. ...what gives?"
They've been lucky so far, or the rest of the page has enough
relevance to do it on its own. If you were to resubmit them,
they could be penalized and drop like rocks.
"Any suggestions on what I can say to combat
this guys well exemplified point?"
Take him to visit these URLs, wherein the search engines
or those who make a profession of watching the search engines
discuss tactics like hidden text. FWIW - it was hot stuff and
actually worked right after the FONT tag was developed, but
hasn't worked worth a darn for the past year or so.