Do we actually need Meta Keywords for SEO?

One of the most commonly asked question, but also the most useless question asked. In my opinion and from my experience, having meta keywords does not contribute TOO much when it comes to rankings, however having it won’t get you a lot more traffic, but it won’t hurt you either.

Long long time ago, when internet connection speeds were of a lowly but humble 56k and search engines were as smart as a two year old child, meta keywords were very useful. However, as time flowed and search engines grew smarter (and older), search engineers figured that allow web masters to describe what a specific page was about was a stupid idea. Hence the devaluation of the Meta keyword field began.

Now a days, Meta Keywords does not get valued much, and in Google’s point of view, its practically worthless and may even have a detrimental effect on your website if you mis use it. But why do we still use such a useless tag on our website? and most of all Why do I use it? This is because there are still smaller less prominent (and dumber) search engines which still rely on this hence my “Having it won’t get you a lot more traffic, but it won’t hurt you either” statement above.

In theory as long as you don’t spam your page’s Meta Keyword with 50 keywords which don’t even get mentioned on your website, it won’t have any negative impact on your website pages. That being said, I have seen many different website place over 50 keywords in their Meta keyword tag which appears as though they have been copied and pasted using Google’s Keyword tool. This absolutely does not help you rank, and if anything you website may be flagged for spamming.

So for everyone’s convenience, I have decided to make another Do’s and Don’ts of Meta Keywords to help you understand and use it properly

Do’s for Meta Keywords

  • Do place keywords which have been used on the page
  • Do limit the number of keywords used to approximately 5 keywords (I don’t do this because of Ultimate Tag Warrior, wordpress plugin)
  • Do use it on pages with a lot of content to help less popular search engines understand your pages
  • Do use targeted keywords to make your page’s topic a lot more focused and niched
  • Do use different keywords on different pages where possible

Don’ts for Meta Keywords

  • Don’t spam your meta keywords with vaguely relevant terms
  • Don’t use more than 7 keywords
  • Don’t use keywords which are not present on your page
  • Don’t place a description in your meta keywords field (this happens way too often with my clients)
  • Don’t use the same meta keywords on all your pages. This may cause your pages to get placed in supplemental
  • Don’t use meta keywords if there are no good keywords to use (never duplicate meta keywords)

Much like all things related to online content, make sure each page’s meta keywords are different to prevent the dreaded duplicate content filter which Google uses so mercilessly. However, if you follow the above rules, you should be fine and on your first steps to optimising your website.

Remember (Warning another poor analogy up ahead), when cooking, you must have the right temperature set with the right amount of ingredients, any more or less will ruin the end product. This applies to Meta keywords as well as anything SEO related.

4 comments:

  1. Kyle, 28. April 2007, 14:56

    Nice post.

    I think the most important meta tag is the title tag, and the description tag to a lesser extent. They help lure your prospect into clicking on your link in the SERPS. It’s like a mini advertisement.

    Google still uses them both, but not for rankings.

    The keyword tag, we’ll it’s basically diminished – but as you said, It doesn’t harm anyone if you use them properly.

    Cheers.

     
  2. Francis Lee, 28. April 2007, 15:59

    I agree, unfortunately, many clients and people who have not been properly introduced to SEO usually believe that meta keywords will help them rank their way to the top of the SERPs. Its is unfortunate that their lack of education causes them to spam their perfectly fine websites.

    In my previous post regarding the importance of page titles I outline how that it could be used and how it can help a website’s ranking as well as search engine market effort.

    I will most likely post about meta description sometime next week, just to keep people in the know.

     
  3. Kyle, 28. April 2007, 17:17

    Very, very true – I also find it annoying that there are so many people out there who say they offer SEO services when all they do is chuck a bunch of spammy keywords in the tag and hide keywords all over their site. They charge them a grand a half for “supposedly” optimising their website, when all there doing is getting the site banned and making the reputation of the SEO community even worse.

     
  4. Francis Lee, 28. April 2007, 23:09

    This seems to happen a lot, especially in Australia due to the lack of knowledge and understand the common business have on this topic. This is one of the reason why I am writing here on this blog, to try and educate people and businesses on SEO in general.

    Hopefully what I write can be of help to people. Ofcourse, I can be wrong at times, however me being wrong is nothing compared to those “supposed SEO companies” who blatantly scam people.

     

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