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Just how important are meta keywords?
Tom_Cash




msg:4153529
 11:37 am on Jun 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hi folks,
A few times now I have read that meta keywords aren't something worth worrying about.

Then today, on an SEO blog I read that there is no reason to have them as the only search engine using them has been taken over by Bing (who don't) and that they do not recommend employing this tag.

Is this true?

How important are the keywords?

Can I leave them out all together?

Kind regards,
Tom.

 

Mark_A




msg:4153551
 12:38 pm on Jun 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well, I think it is clear that google ignores them.

As to Bing or Yahoo I don't know but how much extra work is it to ensure you do have reasonable description and keywords meta tags? I generally put them into pages anyhow.

Mark_A




msg:4153567
 1:10 pm on Jun 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Easy way to find out if Bing or Yahoo take into account meta tags, put an unusual spelling mistake in there, which is not present on the page. Then when the pages have been indexed run a search for the spelling mistake.

Tom_Cash




msg:4154704
 10:24 am on Jun 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

That's a good idea. Thanks for your replies!

Does anyone else have any views on this. A collective input would be fantastic!

Mark_A




msg:4154714
 10:36 am on Jun 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google does use the meta description contents in its serps and highlights where search terms are present, so it does seem it takes the meta description tag into account.

Mark_A




msg:4154741
 11:29 am on Jun 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

So the meta description tag is important.

All hail the meta tags!

goodroi




msg:4154748
 12:16 pm on Jun 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

hi tom,

most informed people don't want to discuss meta keywords anymore. it has been many, many years since they provided any significant benefit. unfortunately there is a constant stream of new webmasters that read a blog post that was written 10 years ago and refuse to accept that the magical trick of meta keywords is basically useless today.

imho meta keywords do have some small & unqiue uses but in my experience 99% of the time its a waste of time. almost always there are much better things a webmaster can do that will give a much bigger boost to rankings & usability.

curlykarl




msg:4154757
 12:40 pm on Jun 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

there are much better things a webmaster can do that will give a much bigger boost to rankings & usability.


Such as? :)

Mark_A




msg:4154767
 12:52 pm on Jun 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

"such as" ..

Well for me it would include inward linking, in site linking, (which relates to PR), on page areas like meta description, title, H1, H2 etc, body text, image alt fields etc ..

Tom_Cash




msg:4154840
 2:53 pm on Jun 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

Okay then, for me that wraps that up! Thanks very much everyone. :)

trader




msg:4154938
 5:13 pm on Jun 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I always do the keywords tag. You never know if one day the major SEs will start using keywords again. It's also possible they are still using them to a degree but that information is not disclosed.

What harm does it do anyway? It's just a small one-time job which takes a minute to finish.

Another benefit is it can get you thinking about non-obvious keywords you may not have included in your content area or meta desription which you can then add.

Tom_Cash




msg:4158249
 8:31 am on Jun 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yeah, that's a good argument for me not removing them.

topr8




msg:4158257
 8:46 am on Jun 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

personally i do use meta keywords as they are an important part of my own internal site search engine,

as they are actually in a field in a database i can choose to serve them to search engines or not at any time, currently i tend to show them to robots

phranque




msg:4159078
 9:35 am on Jun 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

How to Improve the Position of Your Website in Yahoo! Search Results | Yahoo! Search Help:
http://help.yahoo.com/l/us/yahoo/search/indexing/ranking-02.html [help.yahoo.com]
Use a "keyword" metatag to list keywords for each page of your website. Use distinct lists of keywords that relate to each specific page on the site. Do not use one broad set of keywords for the entire site.

(last updated february, 2010)
for what it's worth...

mhansen




msg:4159821
 1:25 pm on Jun 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

Figured I would jump in and share my own opinion as well. I have been building the web since 1997 and while I agree 100% that the meta-keyword tag might be useless... it takes less than 15 seconds to complete on a per page basis and if nothing more, keeps your targets fresh in your mind!

As a Webmaster, one of the first things (before you ever do the code stuff) I do in site creation is create a blueprint of the site, containing EVERY PAGE of a website at launch. (Future pages get the same research an planning treatment as well) That blueprint is a layout of all the research for the pages to fill their purpose and includes:

- Page Title - (5-10 Words Describing thispage.html)
- Page Description - (thispage.html tease and elevator pitch)
- Target Key-words-phrases for the page - (the short list of targets for thispage.html)

You see... the research has already been done BEFORE the page is ever built anyhow.

Why would you NOT include the meta-keyword info?

- copy/paste/done

Even if it only helps facebook or [other-than-search-engines] show data about your thipage.html, isn't is worth it?

M

Hoople




msg:4166247
 2:00 am on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

There was a recent interview with a Yahoo! search top exec (name escapes me) saying they are no longer indexing the keywords. IIRC it was at a recent search event where all major engines had officials present.

One of my non-profit site has a 'competitor' that did some keyword spamming using my non-profit client's name. At that time ~43 pages were indexed and reported by me to the client in early 2008.

Older pages created from this spammy template do show up in searches using specific keywords. Newer pages created from the same spammy template in the recent past (2009-2010) still have the keyword spam in the header but DO NOT show up in Yahoo! searches.

Best guess at the timeline was mid 2009, but it could be late 2008 too.

tangor




msg:4166266
 3:52 am on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

I personally don't use them... don't see value at the moment... but that could change...

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