Why You Shouldn't Care About The Meta-keywords Tag

by Jack Mack - Date: 2009-10-08 - Word Count: 377 Share This!

The World Wide Web has had a huge influence across the globe, it has changed from a research project into one of the most pivotal elements in modern media and commerce. This meteoric rise has meant a huge increase in advertising budget spent on on-line marketing as businesses flock to this new exciting medium in which to market and sell to their customers.

In the mid 1990's the keyword tag was in regular use, its existence seemed justified - a useful way to direct search engines via "off page" entry's. It takes the form of a number of, unsurprisingly, keywords that are picked to give context and description to the page.

This "off page" nature of meta-keywords seems to have been a pivotal factor in their apparent demise. If the visitor does not see the keywords then unscrupulous marketers can fill (or 'spam') the keywords with other unrelated entries. This fooled search engines by misrepresenting the content of the page. The corruption of the meta-keywords tag meant that its value to search engines became in doubt.

The biggest search engine in the world - Google - stated its place with regards to the meta-keywords tag in a recent posting to its Webmaster Central Blog. Matt Cutts, part of Google's Search Quality Team, stated that Google does not use the meta-keywords tag to influence its search rankings and hadn't done for a number of years. Furthermore, he added that although there is a possibility of Google using the meta-keywords tag in the future, a change of its current policy would be unlikely. Also, in recent times Cris Pierry, Senior Director of Yahoo! Search, was reported to state that Yahoo had stopped using the meta-keywords tag for search results.

In many peoples eyes the meta-keywords tag seems to have run its course, a once useful indicator for search engines has become corrupted by the nature of their implementation and the World Wide Webs commercial success. Modern search engines have chosen to increasingly not rely on them to shape their search results, instead attempting to evaluate the content of the page independently. This in turn has lead to people attempting to fool the search engines in other ways, meta-keywords may have had their time, but the pressures to manipulate search results for commercial gain still remain.

Related Tags: seo, website design

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