What is a meta keywords tag?
A meta keywords tag is an HTML meta tag that provides information to search engines about the primary keywords or key phrases for a particular webpage. This tag is placed in the head section of the HTML document and can be viewed by examining the source code of a webpage.
In the early days of SEO, meta keywords tag was one of the most crucial on-page optimization factors, as search engines relied heavily on these tags to understand the content and context of a webpage. However, search engines soon realized this tag was being abused by webmasters who were stuffing the tag with irrelevant keywords to manipulate search engine rankings.
As a result, major search engines such as Google and Bing have discounted the meta keywords tag as a ranking factor. In specific situations, the tag can be helpful for search engines.
For example, it can help to understand the webpage’s non-text content, such as not crawlable files, e.g. PDFs, images and others, which do not have a clear textual description or other tags.
It’s important to note that while the meta keywords tag is not as important as it once was, other on-page SEO factors play a critical role in boosting website rankings. The most important include using relevant and quality content, appropriate headers and titles.
The meta keywords tag does not have any weight in search engine ranking algorithms as once, but it still has its place within the overall SEO strategy. Using this tag to provide search engines with valuable information about your webpage can enhance your overall SEO efforts and improve your website’s visibility and ranking.
When did Google stop to use meta keywords tags as a ranking factor?
Google officially announced in 2009 that they do not use the meta keywords tag as a ranking factor in their search algorithm. This means that any information entered into the meta keywords tag of a webpage would not directly impact how Google ranks that webpage in their search results. Since then, Google has not considered the meta keywords tag a relevant factor in their ranking algorithm. It’s important to note that other search engines may have different policies regarding using meta keywords tags, but Google, the most popular search engine, has discontinued their use since 2009.
What can I use instead of meta keywords tag?
Instead of relying on the meta keywords tag, which is no longer considered a relevant factor for search engine rankings, you can use several other on-page optimization techniques to improve your website’s visibility in search results. Here are some alternatives:
- Focus on high-quality, relevant and comprehensive content: Creating high-quality, relevant, and comprehensive content that addresses the needs and interests of your target audience is crucial for SEO. Make sure your content is well-written, engaging, and provides value to your users.
- Conduct keyword research: Conduct keyword research to identify the keywords and phrases that users search for related to your website’s topic or content. Use these keywords strategically in your website’s title tags, headings, and URL structure, and content.
- Optimize your meta title and meta description tags: Meta title and meta description tags are still important for SEO. Optimize them with relevant keywords and compelling messaging to entice users to click on your search results.
- Use header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.): Use header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to structure your content and highlight important sections. Search engines use header tags to understand the structure and hierarchy of your content.
- Optimize your images: Use descriptive file names and alt tags that include relevant keywords. This can help improve your website’s visibility in image search results.
- Improve user experience: User experience (UX) is an important factor in SEO. Ensure your website is easy to navigate, loads quickly, and is mobile-friendly.
- Build high-quality backlinks: Building high-quality backlinks from reputable websites can help improve your website’s authority and visibility in search results.
Remember that SEO is an ongoing process and requires continuous effort and monitoring. Following best practices and focusing on providing value to your users can improve your website’s search engine visibility without relying on the meta keywords tag.