Meta tags are a powerful tool for controlling search engine crawlers’ interaction with your website. One of the most important meta tags for SEO is the meta name keywords tag. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using the meta name keywords tag to improve your website’s visibility in search engine results pages.
What are meta tags?
Before we dive into the meta name keywords tag specifics, let’s take a step back and talk about meta tags in general. Meta tags are snippets of HTML code that provide information about a web page. This information is used by search engines to understand what a page is about and to determine how it should be displayed in search engine results pages.
There are many different types of meta tags, but the most important ones for SEO are the title tag, the meta description tag, and the meta keywords tag. The title tag is used to specify the title of a web page, while the meta description tag is used to provide a brief description of the page’s content. The meta keywords tag, which we’ll focus on in this article, is used to specify the keywords or phrases relevant to the page’s content.
What is the meta name keywords tag?
The meta name keywords tag is an HTML tag that specifies the keywords or phrases relevant to a web page’s content. This tag is placed in the head section of an HTML document like this:
<meta name="keywords" content="keyword1, keyword2, keyword3">
The content attribute of the tag contains a comma-separated list of keywords or phrases relevant to the page’s content. For example, if you were creating a web page about dog training, you might include keywords like “dog training,” “obedience training,” and “positive reinforcement.”
Why are meta keywords important for SEO?
In the early days of the internet, the meta keywords tag was one of the most important factors for SEO. Search engines used this tag to determine what a web page was about and to rank it accordingly in search engine results pages. However, over time, search engines began to rely less on the meta keywords tag and more on other factors, like the content of the page and the quality of the inbound links.
Today, most major search engines, including Google and Bing, don’t give much weight to the meta keywords tag when determining a page’s ranking in search engine results in pages. In fact, Google officially announced in 2009 that they no longer use the meta keywords tag as a ranking factor.
So, if the meta keywords tag isn’t important for SEO, why bother using it? While it’s true that the meta keywords tag doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to, there are still a few good reasons to include it on your web pages.
- It can help with keyword research: Even though search engines don’t use the meta keywords tag to determine a page’s ranking, it can still be useful for keyword research. By including a list of relevant keywords on your web pages, you can better understand what topics and themes are important to your target audience.
- It can help with ad targeting: If you’re using paid search or display ads to promote your website, including relevant keywords in your meta keywords tag can help ensure that your ads are shown to the right audience.
- It can help with internal linking: By including a list of relevant keywords on your web pages, you can help search engines understand the structure of your website and how different pages are related to each other. This can make it easier for search engines to crawl and index your site, which can improve your overall SEO.
Best practices for using the meta name keywords tag
Now that you understand the meta name keywords tag and why it’s important, let’s talk about some best practices for using it effectively.
- Don’t stuff your keywords: While it’s important to include relevant keywords in your meta name keywords tag, it’s equally important not to go overboard. Keyword stuffing, or adding too many keywords to a page, can hurt your SEO by making your content look spammy and unnatural. Instead, focus on including a few relevant keywords that accurately describe the content on your page.
- Use variations of your keywords: When creating your meta name keywords tag, try to include variations of your main keywords. For example, if you’re creating a web page about dog training, you might include keywords like “dog obedience training,” “positive dog training,” and “puppy training.” Including variations of your keywords can help you reach a broader audience and ensure that your content is relevant to a wider range of search queries.
- Use long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases often used by searchers looking for specific information. For example, instead of using a broad keyword like “dog training,” you might use a long-tail keyword like “how to train a dog to come when called.” Including long-tail keywords in your meta name keywords tag can attract highly targeted traffic to your site and improve your chances of ranking for more specific search queries.
- Don’t duplicate your keywords: It’s important not to include the same keyword multiple times in your meta name keywords tag. This can look spammy and may even result in a penalty from search engines. Instead, focus on including relevant keywords that accurately describe the content on your page.
- Keep it concise: Your meta name keywords tag should be concise and to the point. Try to keep your list of keywords to no more than 10-15, and ensure that each keyword accurately describes the content on your page.
While the meta name keywords tag may not carry as much weight as it used to in terms of SEO, it’s still an important tool for controlling how search engines interact with your website. By including relevant keywords in your meta name keywords tag, you can help search engines understand what your page is about and improve your chances of ranking for relevant search queries. Just remember to use your keywords wisely and avoid keyword stuffing, and you’ll be on your way to improving your website’s visibility in search engine results pages.