What is the Meta Keywords Tag?
Essentially, meta tags are the summarised information of a webpage for search-engine crawlers; communicating what the website is about, and what it has to offer. At it’s peak, the meta keywords tag could be included in the meta data section of a HTML document; communicating information regarding your website to both browsers and search-engines. But today, if you’re considering strategies to improve your search-engine rankings, the common practice of meta keywords tag usage can safely be forgetten.
DO SEARCH ENGINES USE THE META KEYWORDS TAG
Well, a little over a decade ago, search-engines would evaluate pages based solely on their content (i.e not off-page links). Webmasters and publishers acknowledged this reliance, and the meta keywords tag became an area to stuff and spam(often-irrelevant) keywords. As this practice became so prominent, Google and many other leading search-engines of the time began to disregard the meta keywords tag.
If you’re still looking for an expert opinion, take a look at this video from Matt Cutts in 2009. Matt touches on the points that many in the industry already know; Google does not trust or use the meta keywords tag. Matt Cutts is a senior engineer at Google, and leads their Search Quality Group, so if any opinion should be valued, it’s probably his.
DO SEARCH ENGINES USE ANY META TAGS?
Not at all, Google and most leading search-engines still support several other meta tags. In fact, many of the meta tags are still an important part of the HTML code of your webpage. The three most important, and relevant meta tags to utilise include your webpage’s:
- META Title
- META Description
- META Robots
WHY IS THE META KEYWORDS TAG STILL USED?
If we look at the usage interms of search-engine optimisation, the meta keywords tag is done and dusted. The simple truth is that Google, and many other leading search-engines pay absolutely no attention to it. In fact I can guarantee that if you asked any search-engine optimisation professional what the most overrated search-engine optimisation practice is today; they will respond ‘meta keywords tags’. The meta keywords tag is a worthless relic of the nineties, that is some how still haunting search-engine optimisation proefssionals.
So why are web developers and web designers still using the meta keywords tag? Well there’s a number of possibilities, whether they are unaware, stubborn, misinformed or simply do not care. A common reasoning among search-engine optimisation professionals for using the meta keywords tag is purely for the acceptance of directory submissions. A few business directories will accept or deny your website based on the presence of meta keywords tag data.
SO SHOULD THE META KEYWORDS TAG STILL BE USED?
There is no real answer to this question, however the most basic response is; it doesn’t hurt. Be sure to develop a meta keywords tag that truely reflects what the webpage is about. Stick to less than ten keywords; utilising professional and accurate terms. To put it simply, use the tag for the purpose it was designed for.
Do you or your business use the meta keywords tag? Tell us your reasoning or strategy behind the practice below.