Are Meta Keywords A Google Ranking Factor?

Meta keywords let you tell search engines what topics are covered on a page.

But can meta keywords affect your organic search rankings?

Read on to see if there is any connection between meta keywords and improved Google rankings.

Claim: Meta keywords are a ranking factor

What are meta keywords?

This is a meta tag that appears in the HEAD section of the page’s HTML.

If this class contains meta keywords, it will look like this.

Since meta keywords give you the ability to add a seemingly unlimited number of keywords to your page, their impact on search rankings has always been questionable.

The evidence against meta keywords as a ranking factor

in 2009Google Search Central published a post about the meta keyword tag.

The first question asked is, “Does Google use keyword meta tags in its web search ranking?”

the answer? number.

“Our web search (the well-known search used by hundreds of millions of people every day) ignores meta tags for keywords completely. They simply have no impact on our search rankings at the moment.”

Why did Google start ignoring the meta keywords tag?

“Because meta tags for keywords get abused so much, many years ago Google started ignoring meta tags for keywords.”

At the time, Google did not see that decision change.

“It is possible that Google will use this information in the future, but this is unlikely. Google has ignored keyword meta tags for years, and we currently see no need to change this policy.”

In Google Search Central’s advanced SEO documentation, Google goes on to list the meta tags they recognize for search. They include meta description and meta bots.

However, meta keywords are not mentioned in the documentation for meta tags.

Yahoo and Bing also ignore the meta keyword tag.

in 2009At SMX East, Yahoo revealed that the meta keyword tag has not been supported for months.

in 2014Bing wrote a blog post, “Blame the Keyword Meta tag.”

In it, they wrote the following.

Today, it’s very clear that the meta keyword tag is dead in terms of SEO value. Sure, it may have value for contextual advertising systems or act as a signal to ‘bots scouring the web looking for topics to target, but as far as search goes, these The sign has been lined up for years as reinforcement.”

in 2021Google updated a page on unrelated keywords. In it, you reinforce the fact that keywords should not be used “…to appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose)”

Furthermore, they say that using keyword stuffing anywhere on your page can constitute web spam:

Filling pages with keywords or numbers results in a negative user experience, and can hurt your site’s ranking.

Meta keywords as a ranking factor: our judgment

We know, based on what Google told us in 2009, that meta keywords are definitely not a Google ranking factor – and even then, they hadn’t been used for “many years” before that.

Bottom line: Meta keywords are relics of a bygone era of SEO.

When are keywords important in meta tags?

They are important in the meta description.

Because Google sometimes uses meta descriptions in search results, it is important to include the main keyword in a well-written meta description.

Featured Image: Paolo Bobita/Search Engine Magazine

Ranking factors: fact or fiction?  Let's bust some myths! [Ebook]

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