Since SEO is a field that is always changing, it requires ongoing strategy modification and adaptation. Although it may seem like this adds an unending list of tasks, I will remove using the meta keywords tag from your to-do list for digital marketing.
This article will discuss the functionality of meta tag keywords and why changes to algorithms have rendered them obsolete. I’ll also describe the distinction between a metadata term and the meta elements you should be concerned about, such as page titles and descriptions.
How Do Meta Keywords Work?
You can use a tag called “meta keywords” to inform search engines about the subject of your website. They were widespread in the late 1990s before going out of style. A website might be ranked in search engine results pages (SERPs) using meta keywords that web developers could insert into a keywords meta tag. You can use the meta tags generator tool.
Here is an example of an HTML code for a meta keyword tag:
Does SEO Benefit from Meta Keyword Tags?
Put simply: Not any longer. Meta keyword tags were once thought to be a very significant component of SEO data, but over time, system abuse developed, necessitating Google’s intervention. Google stated what it thinks about meta keywords in 2019:
Use other meta tags, such as the title tag and meta description, as the keywords meta tag is no longer a ranking factor. These meta tags assist Google and potential site visitors in recognising and describing your page, particularly on SERPs. Although Google is a sophisticated search engine, it is not a person; therefore you must still explain to it what services your website provides visitors. It may be the difference between getting great traffic for you or one of your rivals depending on the page title and description.
I should also be clear that the only way a meta keyword differs from broad and long-tail keywords is where it appears. In order to improve your on-page SEO, you should keep conducting in-depth keyword research and including your target keywords in the page title and content of your website. However, you shouldn’t add these keywords to the meta keywords tag.
Meta description: The Background
Why is the meta keywords component no longer a top priority for SEO experts?
Before Google became the dominant search engine it is today, consumers could get information online using search engines like Infoseek and AltaVista (now Yahoo). The meta element became machine-readable with the advent of HTML 4. In order to improve search results, the platforms urged web developers to incorporate meta keywords. Back then, all you had to do to rank was insert a list of keywords into the HTML document’s head section. What a “set it and forget it” strategy!
However, some website owners abused this straightforward method of web ranking, stuffing irrelevant keywords into the meta keywords section to force low-quality pages to appear in search engine results. The excessive and deceptive query terms in the spammy meta keyword content were used to deceive crawlers into returning unrelated pages to search searches.
As a result, there was abundant low-quality content in the SERPs. In response, major search companies started discontinuing support for meta keywords and viewing over-optimization as a spam signal by 1997. Major search engines began emphasising backlinking—links from other websites that point to the content of a page—as a way to evaluate a page’s importance and relevance to a given query.
The practice eventually died out, but it wasn’t until Google’s own Danny Sullivan openly declared that meta tag keywords had no SEO impact that a more noticeable shift towards the value of backlinks occurred.
SEO tactics and meta keywords nowadays
You may confidently allocate your efforts to alternative search engine optimisation strategies because none of the major US search engines employ meta keywords to gauge a page’s relevancy for ranking. Nevertheless, in the complex digital marketing environment of today, it’s useful to understand how meta keywords and search engine optimization go together.
- Searching tools. Smaller search engines like Yandex in Russia and Baidu in China (for English pages) have made it known that they actively utilise the meta keywords feature. Although Bing may interpret them as potential evidence of spam, they typically ignore the meta keywords tag.
- Search throughout the website. Although it doesn’t benefit external search engines, the meta keywords feature occasionally powers internal search. Similarly, you may track the keywords a web page is targeting by using meta keywords for internal reference. Just keep in mind that if a competitor looks at your source code, they can see these terms.
- Competitive analysis. The meta keywords element in your HTML code is visible to competitors, but you may turn the tables and do the same thing. If you identify websites employing them, the meta keyword tag can be helpful for competitive research. If you have used meta keywords on your website but no longer require them, you might want to remove them.
Instead of using meta keywords, concentrate on SEO strategies
Now that I’ve removed employing the meta keywords tag from your optimisation to-do list, you should focus your emphasis on a number of effective tactics, like:
- Technical improvement. Is your website loading quickly? Is it mobile-friendly? Do your users have a positive experience with you? Is Google properly crawling your website? Before tackling other parts of SEO, ensure your website is functioning properly as these problems are an example of technical flaws affecting how your page ranks.
- Specifically aimed keywords. Although they are no longer used in your meta keywords tag, keywords are still a crucial component of SEO. To provide search engines like Google with the proper signals and to be found by individuals looking for what you offer, use a few well-targeted keywords in your headers and throughout your content.
- Excellent content. Google crawlers are more clever than ever and are able to distinguish between low-value content that is intended to manipulate the ranking system and high-value content that is written for readers, not for SEO but for your readership. If you want to use organic traffic as a distribution method, you need then optimise your content.
- Selected excerpts. If you can get this top spot in the search engine results pages, you can increase your click-through rate. Even though Google’s algorithms select featured snippets from page-one material, you can boost your chances of being chosen by producing high-quality articles that incorporate pertinent queries and answer relevant questions in-depth. With only a little piece of gorgeous material, can I please Google and a user? I’d call it earning an award!
- Backlinks. High-quality backlinks improve the domain and page authority of your site and can improve its overall search ranking. Although link building takes time, obtaining links to your site’s content from reliable pages might raise your rank by association.
- Knowledge about SEO trends. If meta keywords have taught us anything, SEO tactics change frequently. Watch for changes to the Google algorithm and user trends, and adjust your digital marketing efforts as necessary.
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