What is a Meta Keyword?
To understand what meta keywords are, you must first know what a “meta tag” in HTML is.
“Google supports both page-level meta-tags as well as inline directives to help control how your site’s pages will appear in Search. Page-level meta tags are a great way for webmasters to provide search engines with information about their sites. Meta tags can be used to provide information to all sorts of clients, and each system processes only the meta tags they understand and ignores the rest. Meta tags are added to the
<head> section of your HTML page and generally look like this”
<!DOCTYPE html> <html> <head> <meta charset="utf-8"> <meta name="Description" CONTENT="Author: A.N. Author, Illustrator: P. Picture, Category: Books, Price: £9.24, Length: 784 pages"> <meta name="google-site-verification" content="+nxGUDJ4QpAZ5l9Bsjdi102tLVC21AIh5d1Nl23908vVuFHs34="/> <title>Example Books - high-quality used books for children</title> <meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">
A “meta tag” is a piece of HTML code that is written “behind the scenes” of a website.
They are not seen by humans on the front end of the website, but rather they are code that makes up the entirety of the web page and provides additional information about the page to search engines – like the topic, etc.
Meta Keywords are a specific type of HTML “meta tag” that used to be used to give search engines a list of keywords that the page was about. Meta keywords help to provide additional context & clarity on the topic of your page so that a search engine would know whether or not to provide your page as a resource for certain searches.
How Are Meta Keywords Used?
Google’s official stance is that now (actually as of 2009) they no longer look at the meta keywords are anymore. They do not use it as a search engine ranking, and so for all intents & purposes, it is deprecated.
Full Disclaimer: You now know that Google does not use meta keywords anymore and that you can pretty much ignore them, so if you want to stop reading and move on to the next post that is more than okay. However, if you just want to learn more about what they are so you have that background knowledge – keep reading.
If we were to add Meta Keywords to this page we would add a line of HTML code to the webpage using some of the keywords we found while doing keyword research for this article, and it would look something like this:
Meta Keywords Tag Example:
<meta name="keywords" content="meta keywords, meta keyword tags in seo, how to use meta keywords, meta keyword importance">
In reality, we do not use Meta Keywords.
Best Practices with Meta Information
There are other types of Meta Tags that can be used in SEO. Things that you specifically “mark up” on your page to tell search engines things like the “Title of the Page”, the main topic (aka “Heading 1”) and even sub-topics that you broke the page into (Heading 2s, Heading 3s, etc.)
These are still very legitimate SEO ranking factors and should be used in your SEO strategy, but as for Meta Keywords the consensus is: Don’t Do it.
Can Meta Keyword Tags Hurt Your SEO?
Google representatives had said on multiple occasions that they do nothing. They will not help, nor will they hurt your website’s SEO Rankings.
@methode is the <meta name=”keywords” tag considered spam?— Anthony Rome Jr. (@TheRealTRome) June 20, 2018
@methode We’re discussing the meta keywords tag here and we think abuse should be a spam signal. How does Google treat wrong use?— Letterzaken – Nathan Veenstra (@Letterzaken) July 16, 2017
However, I wouldn’t roll the dice.
Google has been known to publish misinformation all the time.
I’m seriously not sure if their webspam team actually knows the answers and intentionally releases bad information, or if they actually don’t know what they are talking about because they don’t do SEO on a daily basis.
I would be safe and just avoid adding the meta keywords tag.
Use the other meta tags (like Page Title, etc.) but avoid this one.