logo-small logo-small_halloween

The Myths Behind META Keywords

Thom Craver

One of the most perpetuated falacies of technical SEO continues to be the need for the META Keywords tag. Google hasn't looked at that tag on websites in several years. Yet the blogosphere is full of articles that keep coming abouthow important the tag is to use.

The history of the META keywords tag goes back over a decade. Over time, it was used for fraudulent purposes. Sites would stuff whatever keywords they wanted into the tags, regardless of relevance. Since that time, most search engines - especially Google - stopped reading them and considering them as a part of ranking. Although Google stopped using it long before, it became official in September 2009 when Google's head of spam, Matt Cutts, posted on the official Google Blog, "Google does't use the 'keywords' meta tag in our web search ranking."

He even took to YouTube creating a video of the same name.


What Happens When you Use META Keywords?

In essence, nothing. Google ignores them, as does Yahoo. Bing looks at them, but not as a ranking signal. Bing reads the META Keywords tag as a spam signal. If your site uses the tag, but the keywords contained within it do not appear in your document, your site will be penalized.

Another side effect of using the META Keywords tag is that your competitors will know your keyword strategy. Granted, now-a-days there are plenty of competitive research tools to help determine a competitor's keywords. However, when you use a tag and list them on your pages, you're essentially handing them your keyword strategy on a silver platter.

Using them potentially creates more harm than good. Close the book on using keyword meta tags.

Can I Still Use META Descriptions?

In short, yes. Though, across most search engines, META Description tags are not used for purposes of ranking either. However, they still serve an important role.

A search result has at least three main elements:

1. TITLE, often in a large blue font

2. URL, typically smaller and often in a green font

3. DESCRIPTION, set off in a lighter color.

The description used in a search result often - though not always - is pulled from your META Description tag. Its 156 characters should adequately describe the contents of your page and offer a value proposition, if possible. Next to the TITLE tag, it is the second most important part of a search result that entices a user to click through to your site, as opposed to other listings.

Use the META Description as your elevator pitch as to why a search user should choose you. You have precious few seconds. Create a unique description that helps searchers determine whether yours is the page they seek.

Like this post? Follow us on Feedly and read more interesting posts:

Thom Craver is an international speaker, digital strategist, author and adjunct professor. He specializes in SEO and Web analytics. His last article for SEMrush was "Getting Started With Local SEO."
Share this post


2000 symbols remain
Thank you for posting such informative content. Keep posting like this. It helped me a lot.
Meta tags come with many myths attached. What works, what does not work and more importantly how to go about writing the Meta tags. With the search engines not.
Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful article.
Thanks for supplying this information
Me gustó mucho tu publicación de blog. Realmente estoy deseando leer más. {link removed by moderator}
Nice post related to SEO
The blog is absolutely fantastic. Lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need. Thanks for such a continuous great postings. [link removed by moderator]
Thank you so much for this well explained article. Looking forward to the next article.
Thanks for sharing this useful article, keep posting more like this
Thanks for sharing this useful article, keep posting more like thi
you are genius and geek person to me. i always found that your topic selection is always unique. thank you very much to share such informative article with us. we da clipping path a leading image editing company offer best clipping path services.
interesting post keep on sharing.
thanks for giving us so much knowledge and tips about local SEO thanks, I will implement in our projects

[link removed by moderator]
Your topic selection is very unique and informative for readers but one thing is sure, article is well written and quality too. Thanks for sharing with us your experience. [link removed by moderator]
Nice Blog. Thanks for sharing with us. !
Thanks for Sharing Your Thoughts!
Jitender Kumar
Nice blog, you sharing good information,
Shree Ganesha Jyotish
Such a nice sharing of knowledge. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for Sharing Your Thoughts!
So glad it was helpful
This information is very useful.
This information is very useful. thanks for sharing.
Nice article. This article are more important for SEO analyst .Thank you for sharing with us .You may check -[link removed by moderator]
i think this one is the best thanks pal for this info...
[link removed by moderator]
I think now google no longer notice the meta keyword anymore. My site [link removed by moderator] use it and I see not much effect
Thom ! You have rightly pointed out the Myth behind Meta Key Word. I think every digital marketer or SEO Specialist should read your article.
Meta Keywords used to be used quite heavily. Nowadays majority of the major search engines don't use them at all. The only one I believe still does is Yandex, of which it's a minor signal then. For more you can contact here [link removed by moderator]
Excellent and decent post. I found this much informative. I'm impressed by the details that you have on this web site. Thank you for this post
[link removed by moderator]
Nice article Sir ..! this blog are so informative and helpful , thank you for sharing.
Thanks Thom, this was a great post and answered a lot of questions about Meta tags. I must admit I was never a heavy user of Meta tags however I rely heavily on Meta tag descriptions. This was very helpful.
Thanks Thom..this is a helpful post. I want to apply it in my website [link removed by moderator]
thanks Thom, I do agree with what you said.META information is very important. Define good title and description can get good SEO. I adjusted my [link removed by moderator] following your guide.

Many thanks!