Many of our clients ask us about "meta tags" when we perform fundamental search engine optimization techniques. Our reply? Don't waste your time. Here's the story of the death of the meta tag keywords attribute.
First a little history on the meta tag keywords attribute or what is popularly know as "meta tags".
According to Wikipedia, the meta tag keywords attribute "was popularized in 1995 by search engines such as Infoseek and AltaVista." Use of the meta tag keyword attribute quickly exploded until in late 1997, search engines realized the majority of information in meta tags like the keywords attribute was unreliable. This lead to dropping the support of the meta tag keywords attribute in 1998.
From 1998 till now, search engines have continued to drop support for the meta tag keywords attribute altogether. Google and Bing never supported it. Yahoo! drove the nail in the coffin by announcing at SMX East they stopped supporting the meta tag keywords attribute months ago. We're safe to call the meta tag keywords attribute dead in the water.
In fact, on page optimization, where you craft titles, descriptions, keywords and copy to be optimized for a specific topic has slowly dropped in importance. Take a look at the seoMoz 2009 search engine ranking factors survey and collectively only one on page optimization tactic, "Keyword Use Anywhere in the Title Tag", made the top five most important factors. What was number one? "Keyword Focused Anchor Text from External Links."
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