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.