Monday, April 20, 2009

The Truth about the "Keyword" Meta Tag

Hello everyone,

As an Online Marketing Consultant, I constantly get asked questions about SEO and the importance of meta tags. More specifically, the Keyword tag, seemingly the most important meta tag to many people, whom feel it is the key to SEO success. "Why isn't my website achieving a high ranking?" they ask me. "Well", I tell them, "Where you do you want to rank?" And the answer is almost always... Google!

To all you keyword tag fanatics... some sad news... Google does not use the keyword tag, and actually no meta tag for that matter, anymore. Other search engines though, like Yahoo and MSN, still take it into account. But, due to "keyword spamming" in the early days of Search Index Alogorithms, it has less relevance now than it ever has. The "description" tag and "title" tag actually have more merit than any other tag.

Ultimately, content is king with Google. A keyword is more relevant if it is dominant on your web page content and info. Keyword Density on each page is ultimately what is going to get you good ranking attention on your website. That being said, I do not reccommend getting rid of the keyword tags at all. Remember that when your website gets indexed by the search engine bots, they scroll down all the code and words on each webpage. Since they begin at the top of the page, all the way down to the bottom, Your title tag and other tags serve as an intro paragraph to the theme of your web page. Being uniform, concise, and offering relevant keyword density and content is the best method to get your site indexed well for the set of keywords you like.

But remember, keep your keywords very limited per page. I usually tell clients to keep it down to 2-3 keywords or phases per page. You want to be clear on the theme each page has, and trying to add and do too much can hinder the importance and relevance of content. Keep it simple but informative, and you should be good.

Now, go out and do it!!


Anonymous said...

Good job

Jayesh Badani said...

Thanks, good info

I blog at

Jennifer Larson said...

Hey there Ray,

I'm glad to see somebody spread the word about keywords. I think people have gotten so confused, due to the many changes that have occured over the years-especially with regards to Google's algorythms. I believe every blogger should live by the phrase, "content is king!" Really, that's what it boils down to.

Jim Komara said...

I moved a site over 100 spots on Google recently by making the meta tags match the site. It is true that Google does not use keywords the same way they used to, but they are still used in the big picture.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller said...

Unfortunately people learn something -- such as that the "keyword" meta tag is important -- and don't understand that things change quickly on the web. So I still see sites with huge numbers of keywords and the most wimpy description.

Thanks for helping to get out the word.


John Debrincat said...

Although you are correct for Meta Keywords you are not correct regarding Meta Description. Meta name="description" content= is used by Google and is very important. Firstly keywords within the site content and meta tags are matched and secondly it is used to create the search snippet by Google in some situations. If you have a Google Webmasters account you will also see that Google crawls and comments on quality of meta description in the Content Analysis section.

Erin Slusher said...

Interesting. Thanks for the good info. Is it just as helpful to be Search Engine Friendly as SEO?

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Transcend said...

Great post, these tips should be used for any person looking to use search engine optimization methods, will save and share.

Gerard said...

Page ranking is a primary consideration for most site owners. Although keywords should be established, the owner should continually come up with excellent content to sustain the client's interest.

Our company thought of the same thing when we created our website last year through the help of a (toronto) web developer. He helped us in determining the necessary information that must be included in our site. Also, the same (toronto) web design company made customized templates to make our site unique and visually pleasing.

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