Meta Keywords are a type of meta tag that shows up in the HTML code of a website and helps search engines figure out what the page is about. Meta keywords are different from regular keywords because they show up “behind the scenes” in your page’s source code instead of on the page itself. This is how they look:
When you choose or optimize your meta keywords, the most important thing to keep in mind is that each keyword should accurately describe the content of your pages. If your site sells cooking supplies, it doesn’t help to use keyword phrases like “Low-Rate Mortgage” and “Find a Divorce Lawyer” to bring people to it.
One thing we know for sure about searchers is that they tend to pay for the services they were looking for, but they don’t care at all about irrelevant results. At first glance, “Spatula” and “Casserole Dish” may not seem as hot, but people who search for those terms are much more likely to click through to your site.
Meta keywords aren’t as important in SEO as they used to be. There’s no way around that. Most search engines have realized that black-hat keyword stuffing makes it easy for sites to “game” the meta keywords field, so meta keywords are no longer a big part of how Google ranks sites.
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions should get more attention than Meta Keywords. But they can still help in a small way to get your message across and bring people to your site who are searching for it. In the world of search engine marketing, which is very competitive, every little bit helps.
Why Should I Use the Meta Keywords?
Google made meta keywords less important because site owners and marketers were abusing them. Developers would “stuff” the code with high-volume keywords and phrases, which caused low-quality pages to rank for those search terms. This made the search results much less accurate and valuable.
But it’s still not clear if keywords were taken out of Google’s algorithm completely. Because search engines don’t want people to cheat the system, they keep their ranking algorithms a secret.
This is why none of them have said how closely they look at meta keywords. In fact, there are signs that Bing and other search engines may still use them. Even if you are running paid campaigns on those engines, you still want your website to show up in the organic results.
Not too long ago, SEM Pro did a survey to find out how often search engine marketers use meta keywords. Even though not quite 70% of people said “always,” no one said “rarely” or “never.”
So it’s likely that your rivals are already using them. Not to mention that making a list of keywords can take a lot of time, but it can be very helpful in helping you target the content of your site more directly at the customers who may be looking for you.
Using Meta Keywords in Your Content
Whether you create and organize your meta keywords by hand or with software, the most important thing to make sure of is that the keywords you choose are relevant to the page in question.
How many meta keywords should I use? is another question that people often ask. As a general rule, a single page shouldn’t have more than about 10 meta keywords.
When choosing your keywords, it’s important to think about more than just how many and how relevant they are.
Common Misspellings: As a best practice, including misspellings in your meta tags may show search engines that your page is relevant to the (misspelled) search query, without you having to include the misspellings in your webpage copy.
Long-Tail Keywords: Keyword variations and plurals are both important to remember, as are long-tailed keywords, which are longer and more specific phrases.
Real Searches: When making lists of meta keywords, the real search terms that brought people to your page in the past can be your best friend. Find these keywords by looking at your analytics or log files, and use keyword tools to back up your data. What words do most people use when they talk about your business? Also, what words do your rivals use?