What are meta descriptions and meta keywords

Meta keyword

Meta keywords are key terms that can be noted in the meta information of the HTML source code. They describe the content of a website in short, concise words. Meta keywords can therefore be used by search engines as a reference for the content there. The keywords are usually written in lower case and separated from each other by commas. Today, meta keywords are insignificant for search engine optimization and have no relevance to ranking.

General information on the topic [edit]

At the beginning of the commercial Internet age at the end of the 1990s, one of the first SEO measures was to enter many frequently searched terms in the field for the meta keyword in the source code. Because the search engines of that time were dependent on this field in the meta information of an HTML website due to their technology. The keywords were used, taking other factors into account, to assess the relevance of a search query in relation to an existing page in the search engine index. Many keywords therefore usually mean good rankings in the search results.

If, for example, the meta keyword “download” was entered very often individually and in variants on a website, the page was probably easier to find when searching for “download”. The low hurdle of bringing websites to the front by “filling” the keyword meta tag in the search results resulted in a high level of abuse of the tag. Search engines recognized early on that the day was being misused to manipulate the rankings. For a long time the day was seen as a real low hanging fruit of search engine optimization. However, it wasn't until 2009 that Google publicly confirmed that the meta keywords tag was no longer relevant for the rankings.[1] It remains to be seen whether Google and other search engines will no longer consider meta keywords at all. But meta keywords are suspected to be responsible for penalties on pages. This is especially true if a large number of keywords are used that do not appear in the text of the page or if some of them are suspicious of spam (such as “porn”, “poker”, “kredit”, “download”).

Today, in contrast to the meta description and the meta title, the meta keywords are often no longer filled with terms.

How it works [edit]

In order to understand the use of meta keywords by search engines, it makes sense to distinguish between indexing, information retrieval and ranking. In this way, the differences in the weighting of the meta keywords in relation to the ranking become clear.[2]

  • Indexing: Search engines crawl a website and store a copy of the entire content in their databases. This also includes any meta information. The meta keyword is definitely indexed by Google and Co. However, that does not mean that they are also used to hierarchize search results.
  • Information retrieval: Suitable documents are determined for each search phrase. Google mainly looks at the content that is noted in the body of a website. The metadata do not play a role here when extracting information. However, there are differences in the information provided by the search engines. Because Bing does use meta keywords to assign the content of a website to search queries. Yahoo is also pursuing this strategy.[3]
  • Ranking: Now all documents that match a search query are put into a certain order. The algorithms, which can differ from search engine to search engine, are decisive for this process. For example, Google does not use the meta keywords to display relevant results. The meta keywords are probably still used at Bing - however, according to Bing, they are given very little weight, so that the specification of the meta keywords does not have a significant effect on the ranking. The same applies to Yahoo! If, however, no content can be found that matches a search query, Yahoo's meta keywords are apparently used as a ranking signal.[4]

Importance for search engine optimization [edit]

Meta keywords are only considered relevant by search engines in a few cases. Google does not use the keywords in the meta area of ​​a website for ranking. Even with Yahoo and Bing, they are only taken into account to a small extent for the hierarchization of search results.[5] With the latter search engines, this information is only one of many factors that are responsible for the order of the search results. There are no current statements on this topic from 2016 or 2017. Presumably this may be due to the fact that the meta keywords do not play a role for all major search engines.

Yandex, a search engine from Russia, still uses the meta keywords to determine the relevance of a website to the search query.[6]

Meta keywords in practice

Webmasters can store meta keywords. However, it is important to ensure that the number of key terms used is within limits and that the keywords correspond to the actual page content. Because meta keywords should never be classified as spam or keyword stuffing by search engines. In general, no more than ten meta keywords should be noted. Less is more here: the main keyword for a single website should be the focus. Synonyms and long tail keywords can be noted, but it is certainly more helpful to cover them with the text that is visible to the user and to concentrate on the content.[7] The quality guidelines of the individual search engines, such as the Google Webmaster Guidelines, help at this point.

Another important aspect is connected with the meta keywords: Every competitor can find out the main keywords by looking at the source code. If this is not what you want, the use of meta keywords should be reconsidered. Omitting the keywords as meta tags is even recommended in order to rule out such risks from the outset.

Some CMS use meta keywords for internal searches. A search engine integrated into the website then accesses the stored keywords when a search query is made on the site, which can also be created in the form of keywords in the backend. However, modern website searches are usually more complex today and can present users with adequate pages on the basis of existing content without having to resort to key terms stored in the source code.

References Edit]

  1. ↑ Google does not use the keywords meta tag in web ranking youtu.be. Accessed on 01.02.2017
  2. ↑ Meta Keywords Day 101: How To “Legally” Hide Words On Your Pages For Search Engines searchengineland.com. Retrieved on 08/24/2015
  3. ↑ Is The Meta Keyword Tag Still Used By Google, Bing and Yahoo? chrisedwards.me. Retrieved on 08/24/2015
  4. ↑ Sorry, Yahoo, You DO Index The Meta Keywords Tag searchengineland.com. Retrieved on 08/24/2015
  5. ↑ Is The Meta Keyword Tag Used By Google, Bing or Yahoo? chrisedwards.me Retrieved on 02/01/2017
  6. ↑ Meta Tags yandex.com Retrieved on February 1, 2017
  7. ↑ Meta Keywords: How a Meta Keyword Plays a Small but Important Role in Search Engine Marketing wordstream.com. Retrieved on 08/24/2015

Web links [edit]