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Blog/Should I be using meta keywords on my site?

9th March 2021

History of meta keywords

Historically, meta tags were THE way a search engine would gain information about your website, what each of your pages was about and how relevant it was to people using their search engine. Keywords, description, copyright – snippets of information that were to be found on every well built site for 20 or so years.

Meta tags - Meta keywords - Maddison Creative

Meta keywords are <meta> tags that allowed you to give a snapshot of what your site was about to search engines, and using them properly would give you a head start in having your site found and visited.

They sit in the <head> of your website, unseen to people looking at your site in their browser, but visible to web crawlers that scour the internet, indexing as they go.

But as web technology grew to be more sophisticated, search engines increased the breadth of what they could index on any given site in ranking the relevance and quality of sites, and meta tags, that weren’t always a true reflection on what a site was all about, became less important, to the point where, in 2002, just one of the top search engines used meta keywords in its ranking of sites.

Yoast – website optimisation tool of choice for many web designers – supported the inclusion of meta keywords up until 2018 when that feature was dropped altogether.

Their place in modern web design

We know Google and Bing, with around a 95% market share between them (a bit like saying ‘between us, me and Roger Federer have 20 Grand Slam titles’, Bing having about 3% and Google 92%, but Bing is Microsoft so it gets a mention!!), so is there any point in including them at all?

Well, while there’s some evidence that some site search programs still use meta tags, it’s probably not enough justification on its own to include them.

However, there is no indication search engines will do anything other than ignore keywords should they be included, and so there’s literally no harm in including them if you want to cover for every eventuality, but in broader SEO terms there’s practically no benefit in adding them.

So should I include keywords?

My verdict: <meta name=”keywords” content=”Don’t, bother”>

Maddison Creative 2020