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The Final Word on Meta Keyword & Description Tags

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    When trying to optimise your website for the major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, it is important to understand which factors to focus your time on and which to disregard. Many people put way too much emphasis on the meta keywords and meta description tags. In the early days of the search engines, these meta tags were actually quite important for your search engine rankings and could be implemented by technical SEO professionals.

    However, this is no longer the case.

    Let’s take a closer look at what these tags actually mean to your search engine rankings.

    Meta Description Tag

    The description tag has absolutely no effect on your search engine rankings.

    If you are hoping to rank higher for particular keywords by stuffing them in your description meta tag, then you are likely setting yourself up for disappointment. Although the description tag is not used to determine your search engine ranking, it does still have an extremely important function.

    Think about the search engine results after you type something into Google: Typically, there is a blue link with the web page’s title, and then there are a couple lines of text. Those two lines of text are typically drawn from the text that you have included in your meta description tag.

    When the Internet searcher is trying to decide which link to click, he will base his decision based on the text in the blue link and the description underneath it. Therefore, you should craft your description tag with this in mind. You want the text in the description tag to be eye-catching. When your site appears in the search results, it is like a free advertisement for your site, so you should craft it to appear like an attractive ad that people want to click.

    Meta Keywords Tag

    Just like the description tag, the keywords tag provides absolutely no benefit to your search engine ranking. This was not always the case. Search engines used to rely heavily on the keywords tag to figure out which web pages to display. Of course, website owners abused this tag so much that the search engines had to stop considering it altogether.

    Today, the use of this tag is completely optional. There may still be some obscure search engines that take it into consideration. For the most part, however, using the meta keywords tag may actually be a net negative for your site. You are essentially telling all of your competitors which keywords you are targeting. If a competitor is targeting many of the same keywords that you are, then your keywords tag may tip him off to some of the low-hanging fruit that he missed.

    There is still a lot of misinformation floating around about meta keyword and description tags, so much so that Google produced the following video to help debunk the misconceptions.

    Rather than focusing on these tags, make sure that you spend your SEO efforts on the things that actually do matter – like your on-site content and the quality and quantity of backlinks that point to your site with the proper anchor text.

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