Meta keywords appear in the HEAD section of the page's HTML.But is this some whispered signal to Google that can help you rank higher?
Meta keywords allow you to tell search engines what topics are covered on your page.
But do meta keywords affect your organic search rankings?
Read on to find out if there is any link between meta keywords and improved Google rankings.
Disclaimer: Meta keywords are ranking factors
What are meta keywords?
This is a meta tag that appears in the HEAD section of the page's HTML.
If the chapter had meta keywords, they would look like this.
Since meta keywords enable you to add a seemingly unlimited number of keywords to a page, their impact on search rankings has always been questioned.
Evidence against meta keywords as a ranking factor
In 2009, Google Search Central published a post on meta keyword tags.
The first question is, "Does Google use keyword meta tags in its web search rankings?
What is the answer?No.
"Our web search (the famous Google.com search used by hundreds of millions of people every day) completely ignores keyword meta tags.They currently have no impact on our search rankings.
Why did Google start ignoring meta keyword tags?
"Google started ignoring keyword meta tags many years ago due to their often misused keyword meta tags.
At the time, Google didn't see a change in that decision.
"Google may use this information in the future, but it's unlikely.Google has ignored keyword meta tags for years, and at this time we don't see the need to change this policy.
In Google Search Central's advanced SEO documentation, Google goes on to list the meta tags they identify for search.They include meta descriptions and meta robots.
However, meta keywords are not mentioned in the documentation about meta tags.
Yahoo and Bing also ignore meta keyword tags.
In 2009, Yahoo revealed at SMX East that meta-keyword tags had been unsupported for several months.
In 2014, Bing wrote a blog post, "Blame The Meta Keyword Tag".
In it, they wrote the following.
"Today, it's clear that the meta-keyword tag is dead in terms of SEO value.Sure, it might have value for contextual advertising systems, or as a "signal for bots looking for targeted topics on the web, but as far as search goes, this tag was bland as a booster a few years ago.
In 2021, Google updated a page on irrelevant keywords.In it, they reinforce the fact that you shouldn't use keywords to "…appearing in a list or group, or out of context (not natural prose)"
Additionally, they say that using keyword stuffing anywhere on a page can constitute spam:
"Stuffing pages with keywords or numbers can lead to a negative user experience and can hurt your site's rankings.
Meta Keywords as Ranking Factors: Our Verdict
We know, based on what Google told us in 2009, that meta keywords were definitely not a Google ranking factor - even then, they hadn't been used for "many years" before then.
Bottom line: Meta keywords are a relic of a bygone SEO era.
When are keywords important in meta tags?
They are important in meta descriptions.
Since Google sometimes uses meta descriptions in search results, it's important to include your main keyword in a well-written meta description.