Do You Really Need Meta Keywords for SEO?

Today, I’ll tell you about the third meta beast, or maybe not. Meta keywords are the harmless words that you or your users don’t see anywhere on your page or browser, unless they view the source of your page (right click>>view page source). The good news is, you don’t need to write meta keywords these days.

Meta keywords used to be important once, when Google and other search engines had not grown as smart as they are today. SEOs would hard-code irrelevant keywords into their HTML to (mis)guide traffic to their pages. So, if (say) Kim Kardashian were trending, a page hosting women clothing could hope for driving traffic by using her name as a meta keyword, without actually having anything on her (no pun intended) on that page.

These days Google would flag your site for spamming and demote your ranking if you use false or misleading meta keywords. In fact, Google has long pulled the plug on meta keywords and doesn’t use them for ranking at all. Its spiders are themselves quick enough to scan the meta title, meta description and page content, and determine if they match the search terms. Bing still takes into account meta keywords, but only for weeding out spammers. A more useful way to improve your Google rankings these days would be through on page optimization.

So, yes, you can skip the meta keywords without feeling guilty about it. In fact, writing them will give your competitors an easy shot at your keyword strategy. They can simply view the source of your page and see which keywords you’re targeting.

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