The META Keywords Tag is where you list keywords and keyword phrases that you’ve targeted for that specific page.
There have been numerous discussions at various search engine marketing forums surrounding the use of the keywords tag and its effectiveness. Although the overall consensus is that the tag has little to no relevance with the major search engines, according to the forum posts (and Danny Sullivan), Yahoo! have stated that they do look at the keywords tag. So do Ask.
I have tried to find evidence of this in Yahoo!’s ranking information, and have been unable. Additionally, although META Keywords Tag used to be one of the most important areas after the title element and page description, this tag has also been abused over the years so much so that the search engines have decreased the relevance of the keywords tag. In some instances, the keywords tag has been deemed irrelevant.
That is not to say that the tag is completely without merit and special attention should be given to ensuring that the tag is written correctly.
Writing a Keyword Tag
When it comes to creating your keywords, some advisors say that much research should be undertaken prior to deciding on what should be included in the meta tag. However, given that the tag has less weight given to it by search engines today, I wouldn’t advise you to obsess over ensuring that you have the best possible keywords.
The majority of your SEO will come from work you do away from your own site; the on-the-page work completed with meta tags will only add the finishing touches to your campaign.
Additionally, not all engines use the tag; indeed, the majority actually ignore it completely. So what is the point of the keywords element?
One of the benefits that the keywords meta tag offers is to use it for misspellings. Search engines greatly frown on hiding text on screen. For example, using a CSS file to show the text the same colour as the background. However, as the keywords tag is only really used by Yahoo! And Ask, and generally ignored by other engines completely, you can use it to store common spelling errors.
This won’t win you any brownie points in SERPs through Google, but it could help those users on Yahoo! whom have inadvertently typed in a search word incorrectly.
If you plan on using the tag, the syntax is as follows:
<meta name=”keywords” content =”keyword 1, keyword 2, keyword 3 etc”>
Keyword Tag Myths
“Getting the right keywords improves your ranking.”
False. As we’ve already seen, many search engines ignore the tag, and those that do add weight only put far more stead on the title tag and your off-the-page activity.
More tag explanations are coming shortly.