META “Keywords” is officially dead

Search engines have evolved to use hundreds of different indicators on a website to determine what, where, and when a website will be listed in search results.

Google’s Matt Cutts announced recently that the META attribute “Keyword” is not factored into their search engine ranking algorithm at all. This doesn’t come as a shock to SEO professionals who have discounted the META keyword attribute’s value years ago, but rather an acknowledgment that search engines have progressed to the point where any “easy” manual manipulation of a website’s search engine ranking is a distant past.

What about the other Search Engines?

There is evidence that other engines still *index* the META Keywords attribute.  Yahoo’s Sr. Director of Search recently reported that Yahoo dropped the META keyword attribute as well but later clarified himself saying that they index the contents of the keyword attribute but consider it to be the lowest ranking factor on a website.

Should I keep my META Keywords?

At the end of day, if you’re in an ultra-competitive marketplace and everything else is equal; then having some unique keywords in your META keyword tag might give you the slight edge you require.

In reality, there are 199 much more important and valuable factors that will *certainly* affect your ranking that you should be putting your efforts into before you worry about the META keyword attributes on your webpages.

Giving away your keyword research?

The good news is that using the META keywords attribute hasn’t been proven to penalize your site so there’s no need to yank it from all your website’s pages just yet.

However if you’ve done keyword research and have listed your top demand generating keywords in your site’s META keywords’s that you’re literally showcasing your hardwork to your competition. It doesn’t take much for a competitor to view your page source and rip off those keywords to use within their own SEO strategy.

Are all META attributes dead?

Not at all. The META tag itself is still very valid and search engines have added a few new attributes in the last few years to help search engines and browsers interpret your website more accurately. (More details)

Quick SEO Tip:

While you’re removing the META keywords from your webpages why not take the time to re-analyze your site’s Title tags and Header tags (H1,H2,H3,H4,H5, and H6). You can re-purpose your META keywords, providing they are still relevant, into these tags which are still considered valuable in the eyes of the search engines.

Don’t just drop a list of keywords, separated by coma’s, into these tags however. The finished product should be a tag that’s keyword rich but also reads well to the human eye. What good is a top 10 ranking if your site is listed with a heading that looks spammy and is overlooked by potential prospects?

– Software Delivered as Promised. No Surprises.

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Colin Greig

Insight written by Colin Greig

Director, Marketing at Rand Group

14 years experience in online marketing with expert emphasis on B2B lead generation and marketing automation. He has been the backbone of many of his own successful online businesses and has worked with some of the best online marketing gurus in the business.

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