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How many Keywords is too much?
how many keywords websites

 3:19 am on Dec 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yo yo, ,
Ok my idiot of a boss thought it would be cool to add like hundreds of completely unrelated keywords to his dating website. This is not a small <snip> website either, it is one of the biggest in the field.
I recently did a analytics on hit and how it is listing in Google in my country: it has fallen dramatically and is no where near the top pages as it used to be.

I am now having to rewirte the keywords and description and need to know how many words are optimal

If you could respond I would be most grateful.


[edited by: physics at 6:26 pm (utc) on Dec. 19, 2006]
[edit reason] Please keep the language professional [/edit]



 6:36 am on Dec 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

It is different for the different search engines. Yahoo likes more keywords but I think if you get beyond 8.5% density you might get punished by Google.

Do a search for 'free keyword density analyzer'
and another for 'optimal keyword density'

Just having random lists of unrelated keywords can't be very good. I think you'll need contextualize them somehow.


 8:53 am on Dec 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

If you're talking about Meta Keywords, then the optimal number is zero. They're a waste of time. No major search engine gives any significant amount ranking weight to them. My sites rank at the top of the engines without any Meta Keywords.

On the other hand, as you saw, your rankings my DROP from misuse of Meta Keywords.

My feeling is: They can't help you, and can only hurt you. I don't use them.


 2:21 am on Dec 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

How many of you agree with MichaelBluejay?
Seriously, can they be that bad? Why do the vast majority of websites feature them then?
Can some one respond to the issues raised by MichaelBluejay?


 3:56 am on Dec 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

Dear leonidas33:

I agree with MichaelBluejay. In the case of Google, meta-keywords seem to be nothing more than a placebo for declining SERP rankings. I operate a couple of high-ranking sites in popular categories that don't have any meta-keywords (but do include meta-descriptions) and their search relevance is hardly diminished. From what I understand it is the poor use of meta-keywords that can actually lead to penalization.

If you do employ meta-keywords then always try to ensure that the vast majority of terms appear somewhere within the document as well. However, when it comes to SEO strategies with Google, I would really, be focusing on developing quality inbound links.



 4:07 am on Dec 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

True, meta keywords are worthless with googlebot, although Yahoo's Slurp does use them.


 4:18 am on Dec 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

>Meta Keywords ~ waste of time ~ worthless

A common misunderstanding I am afraid. Have a read through some recent and past topics on the subject for more informaiton.



 6:00 am on Dec 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why do the vast majority of websites feature [META keywords] then?

(1) Because everyone THINKS they help.

(2) Because everybody else uses them. :)

I don't use them, and my sites rank fine. One site is #1 in Google and Yahoo for a two-word search query ("save widgetry") that returns 11 million results.

Woz, I took your advice and looked for threads on WW that suggested that Meta Keywords have ranking value, but I couldn't find anything. I'm skeptical but I'm certainly willing to examine the evidence. Could you post some links here for us to check out? Thanks.


 6:20 am on Dec 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Woz, I took your advice and looked for threads on WW that suggested that Meta Keywords have ranking value, but I couldn't find anything. I'm skeptical but I'm certainly willing to examine the evidence. Could you post some links here for us to check out? Thanks.

We have an entire Keyword forum [webmasterworld.com] full of them... ;)
The recent buzz is that meta keywords do have some value, but not much. It's generally best to stick to relevant KWs though. Stuffing the KW meta tag hasn't worked in many, many years.


 1:45 pm on Dec 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, again, can you list any specifics? I did look through the Keywords forum but I couldn't find any compelling argument that Meta Keywords actually helps rankings.


 3:10 pm on Dec 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

Ranking? Or relevance? As far as relevance I think you'll find that percentages weight heavy in favor of including a
<meta> element for keywords as well as description. There are many supporting messages but MichaelBluejay you are correct in that none of the following can be found in the Keywords Forum. I ran a search over WebmasterWorld for "meta" to find these (be sure to read the linked messages within the threads as well as the article from SiteProNews that I referred to in the first thread, I think you'll find it interesting):

META tags -- Should we be using these? [webmasterworld.com]
Meta tags -- Which ones to use [webmasterworld.com]
Meta tags and more - from <head> to </head> [webmasterworld.com]


 1:47 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

What do you mean that Meta Keywords will help *relevance* as opposed to *ranking*? If Google thinks a site is more relevant to a search query than another site, it will rank the more relevant site higher. So I don't see relevance and ranking as separable. Maybe I'm not following you?

I originally said that I don't think that using Meta Keywords helps rankings to any significant degree. I still haven't seen any compelling argument to the contrary -- certainly not in the threads that were just referenced (or the links to other threads within those threads). I'm certainly willing to re-evaluate my position if I see good evidence that I'm wrong, but I just haven't seen it yet.


 2:36 am on Dec 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Let me try to explain. In the article cited the author describes how the meta element attributes keywords and description were being used in the textual description of the links displayed when employing MSN and Yahoo search, and then proved the statement by actual demonstration.

If I am a user performing a search and I see the descriptive text render in my browser from the precise description or keyword data programmed into the page, whether it is ranking 1st or 5th, I am going to browse it visually, read and absorb the text, realize it pertains to what I am searching for and click on it, regardless of position on page. This is where the attributes mentioned in the meta element are being recognized by most as advantageous.


 1:00 am on Jan 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Um, I looked up the article, and it does *not* say that (i.e., does not say that Meta *Keywords* are used in the textual description in Yahoo & MSN SERPs). It says that the Meta *Description* is used, but that's old news and has never been in dispute.

So I still see zero evidence that Meta Keywords helps either ranking or clickability in the SERPs.


 1:16 am on Jan 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

The latest public statement I've seen from Yahoo about the meta keywords was in a published interview a rather prominent guy had with someone on Yahoo's staff. According to the transcript of the interview, Yahoo was (or is) using the meta keywords for identification, not rankings.

Jordo needs a drink

 6:36 am on Jan 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

Based on this thread, I decided to test getting rid of meta keywords.

One of my sites was ranked 8 on Google, 14 on Yahoo, and 10 on MSN. I deleted the whole meta keywords line (and I had 65 keywords on that line).

My caches have all updated and now I'm ranked 10 Google, 16 Yahoo, and still 10 MSN.

The site's a little over a year old and it's very probable that it can't handle any negative changes very well like an established site. In other words, small changes affect it's rankings drastically.

I would say based on this that meta keywords do matter, but maybe not to well established sites that can handle small changes without taking hits in the rankings.

Jordo needs a drink

 7:05 am on Jan 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

An update...

I put my meta keywords back in... I didn't mention it before, but I had one keyword twice in the meta keywords before I took it out. I didn't realize it until I went to remove them.

As I said, I put the meta keywords back in the pages, but, I deleted that duplicate keyword.

Now the site ranks 12th on Yahoo (it originally ranked 14th, then 16th when I removed them).

Yahoo is the only cache that has updated since I added them back, so I'm still not sure how the other SE's will do.

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