Meta Keywords Tag for SEO: Does it really Matter?

  • iftekhar
  • Apr 15, 2014
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It’s been quite some time now, since the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become an important topic to talk about for many of us. Especially for those who are somehow related with web design and development related issues. Lately, I have seen people who are not even well aware of these issues, would take great pleasure giving you one or two advices. This is both positive and also dangerous. It is positive because people started noticing SEO related important issue and negative because sometimes they would be preaching wrong things.

Let’s cut the crap and get into the point. To be very specific, discussion on the usage of Meta keywords on web sites for better ranking on Google or other search engine results has grown out of proportion. I still hear people talking about the importance of using keywords. But is it really that important? The answer is both “yes” and “no”. I will explain my logic in a minute but before that let’s take a look at the famous keywords Meta tag first.

<meta name="keywords" content="keyword, keyword, keyword">

So, this is the Meta keywords tag we are talking about here. Way back, there was a time when major search engines like Yahoo, MSN, Google they all used these tag to crawl information about any given URL or web page. But over the years, we all have learned that how it can be abused to gain the upper hand, regardless the fact that you may have very poor content or may be your keywords really doesn’t have anything to do with your site content at all. The concept of abusing keywords for better ranking on search results is also known as “keyword stuffing”. Things has changed quite a lot over the year and in 21st century’s web technologies are advanced enough that you can’t just do it anymore to expect some miracle to happen.

It’s been long since Google officially abandoned using Meta keywords tag to rank any web page on their search results. Back in 2009, Google stated in one of their blog post very clearly that, “Google doesn’t use the “keywords” meta tag in our web search ranking.” And that’s the hardest reality for all of us. Sorry keyword stuffers. Let’s take a look at the video blow and see what Matt Cutts from Google had to say on Meta Keywords tag. I hope you already got your answer. If not, then keep reading.

What about Bing and Yahoo?

Bing is not a new player in Search Engine world. Microsoft renamed its older search engine which was widely known as Live Search, MSN Search etc. as Bing. So, they are basically around for quite a long time and I personally think its quite smart thing to take Bing seriously.

Now, Bing took bit of a liberal stand on their strategy regarding the usage of Meta keywords tag. They neither discouraged us from using the tag nor encouraged to use it abusively. Bing is also aware of the fact that in the past people abused Meta keywords tag, so they suggested us to use it with some preconditions. I think Bing explained it all on their Webmaster Blog post back in 2009. It makes whole lots of sense to me. I mean if the search engine doesn’t really care more or less about the keywords then what’s the point of having the keywords Meta tag anyway?

In case, if you really don’t care about Google or Bing and still want to be stuck with Yahoo age, first thing you should know that Yahoo search listings on Yahoo! Search is powered by Bing. Yahoo! Search also follows pretty much the same strategy towards Meta keywords tag as Bing does. So, it’s very clear that major search engines are not leaving the Meta keyword tag entirely aside to build their search results listing.

What Should l Do?

Personally, my take on this issue is to use the Meta keywords tag with some logic. By logic I meant, not to stuff your article, website with thousands of keyword but using few keywords that really explains or gives us some idea about the web page or the URL. Even though Google openly admitted that they are ignoring the meta keywords tag but using them won’t hurt as long as you are not over doing it. If the crawler decides not to crawl your keywords still it won’t hurt just because of having it. I still use the keyword Meta tag on all of my site and will do so in near future as well.

In case if you are using WordPress CMS for your website, you can also take a look at my post on how to add dynamic keywords on Meta tag which you may find to be very useful. Down the line it’s entirely up to you to make the call.

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