Google and the Meta Keywords Tag – Yes or No?

Meta Keywords Tag

There has been much discussion over whether meta tags, in particular the keyword meta tag, is used by Google to categorize and rank web sites.Meta tags are placed in the html code by website developers to describe the contents of a particular website for search engine indexing. Located in the head of the document, meta tags are invisible when the page is viewed but can be read by search engines.

Common meta tags are title, description and keywords, although there are more. In the 1990s and even the early part of the 2000s, much weight was placed on meta tag content to categorize a web site. However, it quickly became evident to disreputable website and search engine optimization companies that a practice known as “keyword spamming” could be used to overload the keyword tag with irrelevant words or even a competitor’s company name to trick Google into ranking their site higher.

At the same time, web spiders or crawlers were being developed and came into common practice rendering meta tags significantly less important. Crawlers visit the web site and index according to actual content not meta tags, allowing for a much more accurate categorization. But the question remained. Does Google place any relevance on the meta keyword tag and its contents?

According to Matt Cutts, Google Software Engineer, the official answer is no. Because of the likelihood of keyword spamming and the more accurate indexing attained by web crawlers, Google has not used the keyword meta tag for years. For a more information, visit the Google Webmaster Blog at: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/09/google-does-not-use-keywords-meta-tag.html

Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

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