Is the Keyword Meta Tag dead? Actually, how much value do the Meta Tags still hold in general? It still depends on who you are talking to, there are a few who refuse to let go and that includes some of the older search engines themselves.
Leading SEO companies have realized that the search engine wars have moved back to the code. There are just so many ways to use a keyword and everyone is trying to use the same keywords. So now the search engines look at the page code and if it is done right it will help boost your rating more than Meta Tags but that is for another article.
For those who don’t know, the Meta keyword tag is a way to insert text into an HTML page that is not visible when the page is viewed through a browser. Some search engines read the content of the tag and associate the words in the tag with words within the page’s regular body copy. The first major crawler-based search engines to use the Meta keywords tag were Infoseek and AltaVista which began supporting tags in early 1996. By mid-1997, four out of the seven major crawlers at the time supported Meta Tags. Since, experience with the keyword tag has showed it to be a spam magnet. Some web site owners insert misleading words about their pages or use excessive repetition of words in hopes of tricking the crawlers about relevancy. For this reason, Lycos quietly dropped its support of the tag in 1998, and newer search engines such as Google and FAST never added full support at all. Pretty much by 2000, the Meta keywords tag was left with only two major supporters: AltaVista and Inktomi. Now Inktomi remains the only one, with AltaVista having dropped its support in July.
MSN and Yahoo place some importance (very little-but some) on Meta Tags. Google doesn’t use Meta Tags for anything besides your listing (if there is very little content on page). You won’t be penalized by Google for having a keyword tag providing you don’t include words or phrase that are not present within the visible on page text. Google will ding you for this.
Indeed, my advice about the Meta keywords tag is simple. For those running large web sites or short on time, don’t worry about it. The stress and time involved in trying to craft a tag is not worth it, in terms of the minor benefit it might bring. It is far more important for site owners to instead concentrate on creating good title tags for their pages, a key page element that has consistently shown it can help with ranking across all major search engines.
I’m not going to lose sleep over the decline of the Meta keywords tag. It has always been a point of confusion. How many times can I repeat a word on the page without getting banned? How many words are too many? If I don’t list a term in the tag, does that mean my page won’t show up? Those are common questions consistently raised over the years and represent time wasted worrying about a page element that a minority of search engines supported, and for those that did support it, gave very little if any ranking boost.Share on Facebook