In September 2009 Matt Cutts of Google announced that Google is no longer taking meta keywords into account at all. Here’s a video:
In October 2009, Yahoo announced that it, too, no longer supported the meta keywords tag. However, search engine land wrote a post after doing test on a nonsensical meta keyword and did find that when they later searched for that word, it produced the page. You can read the article here:
If you don’t feel like plowing through the entire article, I will tell you that Yahoo did send a response to the post which stated:
What changed with Yahoo’s ranking algorithms is that while we still index the meta keyword tag, the ranking importance given to meta keyword tags receives the lowest ranking signal in our system…
However, when no other ranking signal is present, unique words that only appear in the meta keyword tag section of documents can still be used to recall these documents.
So, now that we’re all more confused than when we started this, it seems that meta keywords may be useful in some small way for some search engines at some times. Maybe.
If you’re plowing ahead and going to bother using meta keywords, in essence they are a way to add supporting keywords to your text. Use it to add quirky synonyms or unusual relevant words that may not be on the page itself.
For example, if you’re written a post about keywords and for the entire post you write is as one word, in your meta keyword section you could put the phrase “Key words” in case someone searched for the term as if it were two words. This might help you in search. It would still be stronger to use it both ways in your post content but sometimes you just don’t want to do that as it’s either improper, bad English, or just plain wrong.
So, to meta keyword or to not meta keyword, that is the question.
photo by Valerie Everett