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Do META keywords Matter in Google?
indodpendo




msg:740162
 1:48 pm on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ive been using them for years latly ive been finding that.
when i search for something like diet im starting to find more sites with no metatags just content and theses pages are always like number 1 and stuff.
Im in the adsense program and when i put meta tag keywords for some reason it limits my ads. my ads dont change but when i delet them my ads start rotating again. so It makes me come to that meta tag keywords my not be good. or not working that good

 

mrMister




msg:740163
 2:22 pm on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

The meta keywords tag is pretty much useless for all search engines now and it has been that way for some years. Google doesn't use it to determine your position in the search results.

There is some speculation that Google is using bayesian filtering to help rid its SERPS of spam. If that is the case then there is a possibility that having the meta keywords tag in your pages could be deteremental to your position in the SERPS.

The reason for this is embedded in the way that bayesian filtering works.A lot of spammy sites still use meta keywords tags extensively. If your site does too, then there is a possibility that your site's "spaminess rating" will be increased due to the apparent association and therefore given a lower ranking in the SERPS.

It is just speculation though. There's no hard evidence. However, I'd remove them to be on the same side.

PCInk




msg:740164
 2:55 pm on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

> However, I'd remove them to be on the same side.

I wouldn't. I use them on every page and have suffered no detrimental loss in SERPS. Some search engines still use the tags.

Some things I would do:

1) Check that they are short and to the point (long meta tags are a sign of spam).

2) In the description make sure most of the words are used in the body text, and in the keywords tag only use words that are in the body.

There is no evidence either way to show if Google use the meta tags (remember that they may ignore words that are only in the meta tags, so checking if they use them is a very difficult task). It is clear that Google do not place much weight on them, but there appears to be no harm in using them (sensibly!).

OptiRex




msg:740165
 3:09 pm on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

I use them on every page and have suffered no detrimental loss in SERPS. Some search engines still use the tags.

I agree with PCInk. All our sites use individual titlebars and metatags for each page, all are #1.

I wouldn't remove any unless I saw something dramatic happen...I hate to imagine what that may be!

Some things I would do:

1) Check that they are short and to the point (long meta tags are a sign of spam).

2) In the description make sure most of the words are used in the body text, and in the keywords tag only use words that are in the body.

Both points indicated are valid IMO.

mrMister




msg:740166
 4:11 pm on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

Just to clarify, my suggestion was directed at indodpendo, it wasn't general advice to everyone. If you have no reason to suspect that meta keywords tags are lowering your position in the SERPS, then there's no need to remove them.

He seemed to be suggesting that he felt that using keywords was causing a detrimental effect to his placement.

I theorised that it may be possible that bayesian spam filters could cause that. If so, it might be worthwhile for him to remove the meta keywords tags and see what happens. They don't have any positive effects in any of the major search engines, so removing them shouldn't do any harm.

Plenty of people are giving examples based on their own sites. If you understood bayesian filtering, you would realise that your own experiences have very little relevance to indodpendo's problem. If he's in a different sector to you, the way his site is classified by the bayesian filter will be completely different to the way yours are.

For what it's worth (not much), I removed meta keyword tags from my sites years ago and have no trouble getting number one rankings.

But remember, it's just a theory. There's no hard evidence to suggest that Google is using bayesian filtering. It's just that if they were, it may be a possible explanation to the problem indodpendo is experiencing based on the small amount of information he provided.

I agree though, reducing the number might also help. :-)

Let us know what you do indodpendo, and how you get on.

luckychucky




msg:740167
 4:27 pm on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you have no Meta Description tags, Google will use your DMOZ description instead, for the bit of text that goes along with your serps results. Sometimes. They go back and forth between culling a description from your on-page content, and using your DMOZ description. It's weird. But if you do have a Meta description, apparently that's what will always appear alongside you in the serps.

{oops...just realized this thread is about Meta Keywords tags. Oh well, consider it a bit of extra trivia you can use.}

Kirby




msg:740168
 4:44 pm on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

Other opinions about meta tags in general can be found in Woz's thread [webmasterworld.com].

>If your site does too, then there is a possibility that your site's "spaminess rating" will be increased due to the apparent association and therefore given a lower ranking in the SERPS.

You are right, this is pure speculation with no facts to support it.

mrMister




msg:740169
 5:04 pm on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>If your site does too, then there is a possibility that your site's "spaminess rating" will be increased due to the apparent association and therefore given a lower ranking in the SERPS.

>You are right, this is pure speculation with no facts to support it.

The speculation is whether Google uses bayesian filters or not. The text you quoted describes how a bayesian filter would most likely be implemented.

PCInk




msg:740170
 5:04 pm on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

We agree about Meta tags making no/little difference (as long as they are not spam - and merely having a meta tag is not spam).

But this:

> my ads dont change but when i delet them my ads start rotating again

Now this sounds weird - anyone wanna comment on this?

TrumanTiger




msg:740171
 6:42 pm on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

Just don't confuse meta keywords with meta description.

While having a description may not help your ranking, it is an area of the SERP (like your title) that you can control. If the searched term is in your meta description, then a portion or all of your description will be displayed on the serp. Instead of Google using a snippet that may not make sense, you can write a compelling description that searchers would be more likely to click on than another listing (or Google's own snippet of your page).

Wizard




msg:740172
 6:46 pm on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you have no Meta Description tags, Google will use your DMOZ description instead

Google uses first text paragraph for snippet, if there's no such (graphics only site), it uses meta description. If there's DMOZ description, it has higher priority than meta.

The speculation is whether Google uses bayesian filters or not. The text you quoted describes how a bayesian filter would most likely be implemented.

There is a little mistake in your idea - there are authority sites, that use meta keywords. If Google uses bayesian filter, it will compare your site similiarity to not only spam sites, but also to authority sites. So it won't penalize using meta keywords.

But it's quite clear, that G would penalize using spamming in the tag - it means using too many keywords, and using unrelated keywords.

my ads dont change but when i delet them my ads start rotating again

Now this sounds weird - anyone wanna comment on this?

This would prove that G uses meta keywords - to detecting what category of adwords suit the page.

rytis




msg:740173
 7:00 pm on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

Do META keywords Matter in Google?

No

BigUns




msg:740174
 7:10 pm on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hmmmm...

Here's a tidbit re Meta Keywords I've noticed lately: Some spam websites are using the ODP description of a page as the Meta keywords in the spam page; and in one case I know of with 10s of thousands of pages, there is no Meta description, just the Meta Keywords using the ODP description (no commas, just the sentence). These spam pages are surviving whatever it is Allegra is doing, so maybe the Blackhats know something "we" don't. (?)

steveb




msg:740175
 9:24 pm on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

Meta description is very important now as Google often is displaying it, and obviously you want to have displayed the exact words you want when possible.

Meta keywords matter to Yahoo but not Google so you should have them.

mrMister




msg:740176
 9:45 pm on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

The speculation is whether Google uses bayesian filters or not. The text you quoted describes how a bayesian filter would most likely be implemented.

There is a little mistake in your idea - there are authority sites, that use meta keywords. If Google uses bayesian filter, it will compare your site similiarity to not only spam sites, but also to authority sites. So it won't penalize using meta keywords.

I think you're somehow confusing the hilltop algorithm with Bayesian filtering.

With Bayesian filtering, every site will be given some kind of "spaminess rating", even authority sites, even Google's own site.

jazzylee77




msg:740177
 4:32 pm on Mar 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

1) Check that they are short and to the point (long meta tags are a sign of spam).

How long is too long?

Where do these numbers come from?

I recently used a submission tool called traffic blazer.

In their meta submission work page they say...

As a rule of thumb the Web Site Title, Description and Keywords content should not exceed 80, 250 and 1024 characters, respectively.

counting on their expertise I loaded up an oscommerce site with about a thousand characters (say a hundred words/phrases)of keywords relevant to the category and in the catalog. Category and product pages append a few additional specific keywords.

I think I'm on track with the title and description tags for every page...not too sure about all those keywords...it only cost me a little time, but maybe I should lose the large base of words that the products add on to?

Wizard




msg:740178
 8:03 pm on Mar 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

With Bayesian filtering, every site will be given some kind of "spaminess rating", even authority sites, even Google's own site.

Yes, and if they also run another bayesian algorithm for comparing with authority sites, every page will have its "authority rating". Comparing these factors, they can classify the site. If they do it such manner. But all I wanted to say is, that reasonable using meta keywords shouldn't make penalty.

...about a thousand characters (say a hundred words/phrases)of keywords relevant to the category and in the catalog...

And you have each one of them in the content, right? How did you achieve good density for all of them on a single page? And how did you manage to put all of them to title tag? ;))

If I were Google, I would have no doubt to classify this as spamming. But it's just my opinion, I'm no judge. Using 3 - 5 keywords in meta is a good idea I think, a bit more, let's say - 10 - acceptable. But obviously it's impossible to have too many keywords in title, anchor text, or first H1. So you cannot optimize one page for too many keywords anyway. Adding more keywords in meta tag than can be found really relevant for the page is a nonsense, and an action on a verge of spamming.

MHes




msg:740179
 11:23 pm on Mar 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I run a few niche directories and we use metatags. If a site doesn't have them we tend to put the into the 'to do' list... which then gets forgotten.

We visit the sites we know are relevant via the metatag info... it just helps us cherry pick relevant sites.

Some of our pages are pr6..... so matatags have an indirect benefit on google rankings via us and I suspect many other directories that spider sites like us.

mrMister




msg:740180
 10:13 am on Mar 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yes, and if they also run another bayesian algorithm for comparing with authority sites, every page will have its "authority rating".

What are you on about? Please explain.

PCInk




msg:740181
 10:34 am on Mar 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

1) Check that they are short and to the point (long meta tags are a sign of spam).

How long is too long?

How long is a piece of string? Every search engine will have it's own tolerence level and each engine will be different. Some will view repeating words too often as spam (how often is too often? - who knows).

These figures are only known by Google/Yahoo/MSN etc... and each will be different.

People worry too much about spamming the meta tags - just use common sense. Same as the rest of the page, really.

sparticus




msg:740182
 4:09 am on Mar 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

To quote W3C:

"The HEAD element contains information about the current document, such as its title, keywords that may be useful to search engines, and other data that is not considered document content."

Based on that definition, if you're going to use a META keywords tag you'd only put in keywords which would help a search engine work out what are the important words on the page - the KEY words. When a word on the page also appears in the keywords tag a search engine would know that it held special meaning. If it were an ideal world the META keywords tag would be useful. Now that search engines are smarter at detecting spam in other ways, I wouldn't be surprised if they started looking at the META keywords tag again.

I would keep using the tag properly and maybe one day Google might start paying attention.

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