Do Meta Keywords Impact SEO?

Many content management systems have fields available for common SEO tags such as page titles, keyword-friendly URLs , meta descriptions, and meta keywords. Since those fields are often under a section labeled, “Search Engine Optimization,” one may assume filling out all of them would increase the chances of having the pages of a website rank well with Google and the other search engines.

Not to mention, websites like Social Media Today continue to making statements such as:

Meta keywords and Meta descriptions are an important part of your SEO strategy.

The casual web marketer would be fairly confident meta keywords should be included in their SEO strategy.

Those casual web marketers would be wrong.

The Karcher Group stopped providing meta keywords to clients about a year ago and more recently took it one step further and started removing existing meta keywords from websites that previously had them.

But why?

Here’s an article from Google’s own Matt Cutts from waaaaaaay back in 2009 that clearly states how Google does not use the meta keywords tag.

Yes, the last paragraph does include, “It’s possible that Google could use this information in the future, but it’s unlikely.” That’s why we continued to provide meta keywords for our clients.

Then meta keywords went from harmless to harmful.

Over the last year, reputable SEO websites such as Search Engine Land and SEM Rush started writing about how populating meta keywords can actually penalize your SEO efforts, particularly with Bing.

At this point, we’re confident meta keywords will not benefit SEO rankings and should be avoided.

Not all meta tags are bad

This article is specific to meta keywords. NOT meta descriptions and NOT keywords in general. You should still write unique, quality meta descriptions for each page of your site and you should still identify relevant keywords to incorporate into the other SEO tags.

Just don’t waste your time filling in that meta keywords box!

Certified in both Google AdWords and Analytics, Jon has a passion for all things web and shares that experience here on the blog. You’ll find him frequently talking e-commerce, digital strategy, pay-per-click, and more.

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