SEO

The Importance of Keywords Meta Tag in SEO

When in comes to achieving top search engine rankings how large of a role do keyword tags actually play? This is a simple question with no easy answer. Not only does the answer vary depending on which search engine a marketer is targeting, but it also depends upon the changing valuations search engines place on these tags.

At one point in time the keywords tag had an impact on a web site’s position within the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Now the keywords tag has little impact on where a site will appear in the search results. When search engine first started determining the relevancy of a site they placed a larger emphasis on these tags.

Soon every webmaster used these them and oftentimes overused these tags and therefore the search engine placed less importance on them. After all, not every site that adds “SEO Company” into their keywords tag can have a top 10 ranking within the SERPS for the phrase “SEO Company”.

Still there is some value associated with this tag. Type the following into Google, Yahoo, and MSN only without the quotations, “dsrurejjnr“. This is a made up phrase that appears only in the keyword description tags of Real Good Furniture (take a look at the website’s source code). [note, some geocities spammy pages are listing it too]

Now look at the SERPS and notice that only in Yahoo does the site appear number one. It is not even listed on Google or MSN. The takeaway is that while the importance of this tag is minimal, Yahoo still gives it some weight.

Now this test is partially flawed since this information has appeared within the site’s source code for some time now. As one might notice when following the instructions above there are websites that have linked to Real Good Furniture, which have included the made up words on their page.

Therefore links pointing to the site now have some association with the fictitious keyword.

My suggestion is to try this test with your own website. Make up a keywords phrase and add it as the last keyword with the keywords tag of the source code. Wait a couple weeks and then do a search on the major three search engines. Now you will know the true importance the keywords tag plays in SEO.

Brent Yorzinski is the owner of the SEO Company Agilis Marketing. Despite his young age and even younger appearance he has successfully helped hundreds of companies achieve top search rankings on Google, Yahoo, and the other major search engines.

photo The Importance of Keywords Meta Tag in SEO

Brent Yorzinski

Brent Yorzinski founded the SEO Company Agilis Marketing. He has successfully assisted countless companies achieve top search results on the other major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN.
photo The Importance of Keywords Meta Tag in SEO
photo The Importance of Keywords Meta Tag in SEO

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37 thoughts on “The Importance of Keywords Meta Tag in SEO

  1. You make a good point. I tend to use keyword tags to include misspellings of the relevant keywords for each page. And I have seen some of the same results. They really don’t show up in Google or MSN but Yahoo seems to rank them pretty well, first page in most cases and many time at the top.

  2. I believe that the effect of the keyword meta tag also relies on other factors.

    For example, if anchor text linking to your site has those keywords in it, and if those keywords are also in your site’s content, then including them in the meta tag would have more of an influence.

  3. Seriously speaking, I agree that tweaking the tags can make slight difference in your SERP.

    But it is the link popularity factor that matters. It is no longer how well a site can be better optimize but how well its inbound link can be maximize. Sad but true.

  4. This is certainly a valid way to check if there is _any_ effect from keyword tag terms, but it’s still such a small impact and the uniqueness of this term is the only way that it will rank. This tag is really not worth the effort for the main search engines, but it’s sensible to include something within the keywords tag, because maybe one day…!

  5. I think this is a simple yet brilliant way to test whether keywords are still a factor in a sites rank. I will continue to use keywords even though some don’t think it is necessary. I don’t see how it could hurt my site in any way, only benefit it with the search engines that still use it. Something I found interesting was this page does not have any keywords in a meta tag. :-)

  6. Seems like a lot of effort for a factor which has very little weighting on the major engines. As a matter of course, we incorporate keywords into the Keyword tag but are considering removing them because it gives away marketing intelligence as to the specific keywords being targeted.

  7. I will continue to ignore keyword tags all together as they are more of pain in the ass than anything. The only thing they are good for is internal search relevance.

  8. Gone are the days where keywords would help massively in SERPs.

    I think it helps SEs to gain a better idea of what your page is about, rather than whats actually on it and what it should rank for.

  9. We haven’t been placing much effort on keyword tags over the last few years, however we still place some keywords in the tags because there may be other search engines out there that still uses meta keywords tag.

  10. Great advice here Brent. With all the conflicting information about meta-tags to be found out on the net these days, it’s hard to know exactly what is true.

    Your tip to actually test it out, is a great one. I plan on trying it out myself!

  11. Purely by accident I completely omitted the keywords and description tags from my daughter’s site. She ranks top in google UK for a couple of key phrases, (try “actor musician”) purely because they are present in the page title and content.

  12. I think the point is that their value is somewhat marginal. However, any advantage you can get when it comes to SEO is worth it – particularly if they can do you no harm. Keyword tags (aka meta keyword tags) are a good place to include obscure keywords or mispellings to help you rank in ASK and Yahoo for those terms. In the end of the day though, don’t look at them as a magic bullet.

    Here’s a link to an interesting article further discussing the subject of meta tags and SEO.

    John
    http://www.sbimonline.com

  13. Thank you Brent for thsi valuable discussion.For me, meta tag keyword is a place to put secondary keywords because title and description tags has limitation of character length.

  14. I came to this page for research info and am glad you included a way for us to try it out ourselves. Sometimes even though things are explained, it helps when you can see an example.

  15. The only reason it doesn’t have any impact is that the word “dsrurejjnr” is not included anywhere on the page itself. Your example is flawed and misleading. If you where to put dsrurejjnr anywhere in the content that furniture site would rank #1 for “dsrurejjnr”

  16. I was just wondering myself if adding keywords to the metatags was a worthwhile thing to do, or if url name, and content would be enough for most pages. Seems you have answered my question. I will run a couple of experements myself and make sure. But from other comments here it seems that keywords in the meta tags dont really carry enough weight for it to be worthwhile fighting with some cms software.

  17. Google ignore any meta tag today, it means you are not ranked well on SERPs even you put keyword rich in target tag. Anyway, Yahoo! still work by using meta tags.

  18. I am happy to see that I could provide valuable insight for a still ongoing discussion. As mentioned before, Google provides little in terms of the keywords tag assisting a site rank well in the SERPs, whereas Yahoo currently still takes this into account. Of course the search landscape is constantly changing so who knows if this will remain the case. I imagine the keywords tag will become less valuable to Yahoo as well down the line, but this is pure speculation.

    1. I was told they do. Of course, the actual visual text is much more representative than metatags since it’s more difficult to abuse that. Also, I was told that Google’s SE distinguishes titles from other text elements.

  19. Keywords help search engines to categorize your site, and to allow people to find your pages more quickly. However, most search engines have limits as to how many meta keywords are viewed. It is a good idea to review your keywords and make sure that they are as concise and specific as possible.

  20. Interesting article Brent, from reading people’s comments, it’s an area which shows very mixed opinions on the subject. Meta tag titles and descriptions some time back played an effect on the way a website ranks within a search engine. Over time this has gradually phased out, with some users paying very little attention to them.

    Although, when a user performs a search this is still the first part read. Therefore, in my opinion the keywords and description used still have their benefits as the keywords can make a customer understand your website better and suck them in.

  21. Interesting article Brent, from reading people’s comments, it’s an area which shows very mixed opinions on the subject. Meta tag titles and descriptions some time back played an effect on the way a website ranks within a search engine. Over time this has gradually phased out, with some users paying very little attention to them.

    Although, when a user performs a search this is still the first part read. Therefore, in my opinion the keywords and description used still have their benefits as the keywords can make a customer understand your website better and suck them in.

  22. Does this mean it is absolutely useless to use keyword in keyword meta tags in order to get benefited? If so, why do people still use it? Are there any chances that Google will ever give any importance to keyword meta tags in future?