Everyone who has a website is continually looking for ways of improving the ranking of the site, the sales through the website, or the subscription to the site. Sometimes people don’t take the organic way of optimizing their website but rather employ “black hat SEO techniques“.
Some of these not-very-recommended ways of promoting or over-optimizing your website include such things as stuffing the meta tags of the website with either keywords, long titles with many key words, and long descriptions with a lot of words you target to optimize the page for.
Is the Keyword Meta Tag Bad?
In themselves, all the meta-tags are supposed to give an indication to the search engine of what that particular page is talking about. In other words, the regular user or visitor of the website does NOT see the meta tags (the title, description, keywords, content, property, etc).
It used to be that one of the best SEO (search engine optimization) practices was that people would make sure their meta tags exist and they are proper for that particular page. Unfortunately, many people used the meta-tags to manipulate the search engines and show up higher in the search results by keyword stuffing and other likewise practices.
Are the keywords bad? No, but it seem that because of these practices, and because the search engines are becoming smarter, little by little the meta-tags will be either dropped or ignored. Even more, Search Engine Land was saying that Bing would even consider the signal coming from the keywords meta tag as an indicator of spam! So they would even decrease the value of a website if they have a lot of keywords!
Should We Say Good-Bye to the Keywords?
Good question. We are now in the process of re-designing and re-vamping our website, and we are considering this. Most of our competitors are practicing the stuffing of their meta-tags with many keywords, and we are kind of jealous to see so many visitors being brought to them by the search engines because of that!
Google themselves say it clearly since 2009 that, Google does NOT use Keywords Meta Tag in Web Rankings! Check out what Matt Cutts also says about this. There was a lot of abusing of the keyword meta tag (and, I would say, the description and the title also, in many cases), so google and bing disregard it.
“Skip the tag entirely“, just in case you’re freaked out about it, says Danny Sullivan (and I think he knows what he’s talking about). These days you have no idea why and sections of your website or your entire blog gets a penalization from google or other search engines. Why risk it?
What do you think? Should we say good-bye to the keyword meta-tag? Is it worth it to keep it, or should we skip it entirely? Or is it worth risking having the keyword meta tag on, with a very moderate number of key words which also appear on that page?
[picture credit: Meta Tags.]