Meta tags provide high level data about what web page is about. Essentially, they are data about data and are located in the head section of the page. These meta tags are hidden from regular human visitors of your website. The meta keywords tag is one of those meta tags, and is supposed to provide an indication of the content within.
The meta keywords tag looks something like this:
<meta name=”keywords” content=”your keyword, keyword phrase and so on”>
You’d probably think that the meta keywords are the silver bullet when it comes to search engine optimisation.
Google Doesn’t Use the Meta Keywords Tag
The meta keywords tag has been spammed to death since 1997. Google doesn’t even recognise it when determining search rankings. As Matt Cutts blogged in 2009:
Our web search (the well-known search at Google.com that hundreds of millions of people use each day) disregards keyword meta tags completely. They simply don’t have any effect in our search ranking at present.
It’s not exactly breaking news, but it’s surprising how many web designers in Malaysia still use it. The worst offenders are the ones that just fill in 101 keywords in the meta tags on each page and call it ‘search engine optimised’. SEO is many things, but not that.
Yahoo doesn’t use it either. And worse yet, Bing seems to be using it as a spam signal.
Don’t Waste Time on Meta Keywords Unless…
As an SEO company, we advice our clients to leave out the meta keywords tag altogether most of the time.
Usually, it’s a waste of time. Time that could be used creating engaging and relevant content. At worst, your competitors can see the keywords you’re targeting and make it that much harder for you to rank.
However, there only seems to be one reason to use the meta keywords tag – if you’re doing SEO for Baidu. The search engine still places some emphasis on the tag.
If you’re not, then spend that time on other SEO activities, such as creating content or building relevant links back to you site. You’ll definitely get a better ROI on your time.