There are many practices in the SEO world that come up for debate every now and again, especially as search continues to change and evolve. One item that seems to rear its head constantly, especially in the last few months, has to deal with the keywords meta tag and whether or not search engines, namely Google, use that information when ranking sites. The wait is over! Yesterday, Google officially announced with a statement and video from the head of Google’s webspam team, Matt Cutts, that “Our web search (the well-known search at Google.com that hundreds of millions of people use each day) disregards keyword meta tags completely. They simply don’t have any effect in our search ranking at present.”
That’s it folks, show over – no more suing Google over terms contained within a keywords tag and the ranking of competitor sites. Gone are the days of strategically crafting a keywords tag to accurately reflect the content and information on a page, in the hopes that the major search engines will use that to shoot your site to the top.
Now, because of the recent buzz around this topic, you may be thinking – “Wow! This was totally out of left field, I had no idea!” However, as I just mentioned, this topic has been discussed before. Back in 2007, Google actually officially announced that they were no longer using keyword meta tags in determining a site’s position. In fact, conversations regarding keyword tags and their merit date back to 1996, according to a report published by http://w3.org! So, for over a decade search marketers and SEO’s alike have been debating the use and importance of these keyword meta tags.
Before we get too carried away and start deleting keywords meta tags like crazy, it is important to remember that there is still a general consensus that Yahoo! still uses keyword meta tags to some degree. Therefore, you might want to hang on to those tags for a little while longer. I don’t think I’ll be hanging up my keyword meta tags just yet! What do you think?