Search engine optimization can be split into two different sections, on-page, and off-page SEO. On-page is primarily related to the quality of the content on your page and how well it is optimized for specific keywords. These factors can influence your rankings, and therefore they are incredibly important to businesses.
For many years SEO’s and digital marketers have been using on-page tactics to increase their rankings by creating better content and optimizing as well as possible. One such tactic involves metadata.
What Are Meta Keywords?
Meta keywords are just one of the many different meta tags that a website owner can use to give more information to search engines and other scrapers. This information is not visible to the public.
The reason for this data is to give information to the search engines and other scrapes so that they can do their job better. The meta keyword tag is a meta tag that you could use to tell Google, Yahoo, and Bing which keywords you think that you should rank for.
Do Meta Keywords Help You to Rank?
In the past search engines wanted you to use this meta keywords tag because their technology was relatively primitive and they needed you to tell them which keywords you should rank for. However, this is no longer the case, search engines are incredibly complex, and they can collect more information about your site than you could ever give them – so if an agency makes meta keywords central to their SEO packages – it may be a sign they have out of date information.
This fact means that the meta keywords tag is no longer useful to Google, they don’t need you to tell them which keywords you should rank for because they can figure that out themselves. In fact, they can identify keywords that you never knew existed and rank your content for them if they think that it’s appropriate.
Due to this Google announced in 2009 that they no longer use the meta keyword tag to influence rankings, making it virtually useless for SEO. Therefore, if you’re trying to rank in Google then meta keywords are a waste of your time, but this might not be the case with other search engines.
Although there is little data on this subject, it’s not inconceivable that less advanced search engines might still use the meta keywords tag, at least to some extent. Therefore, you could make the argument that including this tag isn’t a waste of your time.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Meta Keywords
On the other hand, some SEO and digital marketing experts would argue that using the meta keyword tag is a great way to tell Google that you’re a spammer. After all, this tag is a relic of a time gone by and very few people even know that it exists.
Therefore, by using it, you stand out like a sore thumb and this could potentially cause Google to take a closer look at your site and the SEO tactics that you are using. These rumors appear to be mainly speculation, but it’s certainly not inconceivable that they use the meta keyword tag as a negative ranking factor.
After all, the main reason why they removed it from their algorithm in the first place was that SEO’s were abusing it so heavily. Hence, it seems logical that they might still associate the use of this tag with spamming and abuse of their algorithm.
Other Meta Tags
But that’s not to say that all meta tags are useless, meta tags are a fantastic way to transmit extra data about your pages and then search engines love that. What they don’t love is when people try to manipulate their algorithm for selfish reasons.
The title tag is the most important meta tag, it allows you to display a title in most browsers, but this also gives you the chance to show one title to the user and another to the search engine. It’s not unlikely that Google prioritizes keywords in your title tags and uses this as a ranking factor.
But even if this is not the case, your title will impact your CTR and this is certainly a ranking factor. By creating a more compelling title, you can encourage people to click your link in the search engine results page and therefore increase your rankings while simultaneously getting more traffic.