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Thread: Google Using The Meta Keywords Tag 2011

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    Google Using The Meta Keywords Tag 2011

    According to Jill Whalen at highrankings.com, "Google May Use The Meta Keywords Tag Again".

    Jill says:

    The other interesting thing is that this means that the Meta keyword tag is not completely ignored by Google as most of us have believed. While it's still most definitely ignored in terms of it having any effect on whether your site will show up in a Google search, they do appear to extract the information for other reasons such as this.

    There's actually no use for the keyword tag for words that are already appearing on the page. The idea is to use it for keywords that don't already appear on the page, but which might be relevant anyway. After all, if they're already on the page, what good is it to use them again?
    Because the keywords meta tags were abused, Google had been disregarding the keywords meta tag. But on the Google Webmaster Blog, Matt Cutts says that it's possible that Google may use the information in the furture.

    Q: Does this mean that Google will always ignore the keywords meta tag?
    A: It's possible that Google could use this information in the future, but it's unlikely. Google has ignored the keywords meta tag for years and currently we see no need to change that policy.


    I've also noticed that Google uses the meta keywords for adsense targeting. So, it's never been completely true that Google ignores the keyword meta tag.

    As I see it the meta tags provides useful information, and it's worthwhile to include on your pages. Who knows?

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    Shenron (19 January, 2011)

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    I remember how they weren't using it in the web search, but they said it was being used by other sectors of Google, like the Google search appliance. However, they stopped using it after people started abusing it, I doubt they would bring it back, but then again, Google is unpredictable

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    I guess with on-page SEO there is just nothing that should be ignored - the secret is doing it correctly so that if they do analyze the keywords they don't see anything that shouldn't be there.

    Is it possible that the keywords metatag is used by Google Webmaster Tools to generate the list of keywords people use to find our sites? I've noticed webmaster tools is never the same as the keywords in analytics.

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    bogart (19 January, 2011)

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5starpix View Post
    I remember how they weren't using it in the web search, but they said it was being used by other sectors of Google, like the Google search appliance. However, they stopped using it after people started abusing it, I doubt they would bring it back, but then again, Google is unpredictable
    It's not so much that Google is unpredictable, rather, the algorithm and Caffeine file system are a lot more complex. It would be easy for Google to filter the meta keyword tag for sp*m using trust rank or analyzing the meta keywords against the anchor text of inbound links.

    One possible use of the meta tags are in the ranking score to index long tail keywords instead of guessing the keywords for the page.

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    5starpix (19 January, 2011)

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    When it comes down to it, we really do not know what Google actually uses; we only know what they tell us or what SEOs and site owners figure out themselves.

    We have seen some evidence that they use the keywords meta tag for determining the keywords used to trigger AdSense ads.

    It is very possible that they are testing the keywords meta tag with the new algorithm, but quite frankly, I don't think they are using it. What Jill found is interesting, but it may be another of the numerous anomalies we are seeing after Google launched their new ranking algorithms. If the issue that she found is predictable and repeatable, then there may be conclusive evidence.

    I have always used the keywords meta tag regardless of what Google has stated in the past. There is always a chance that a smaller search engine is still using it, but even that is unlikely.
    Last edited by TopDogger; 19 January, 2011 at 14:41 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by luckylook3 View Post
    this is why it is better to use everything and not to remove those tags - just in case because it can hurt the website.
    It may not hurt the website. But the search algorithms are subject to change with notice. So you never know whether somewhere down the road you will get some SEO benefit.

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    I can't see the keywords meta tag being used for ranking purposes. Its origins go back to the pre-Google days when spiders did not analyze a page, but rather relied on webmasters to tell spiders which keywords to use for a page.

    I've also seen the keywords meta tag for AdSense. You can usually avoid public service ads with a new site if you use the keywords meta tag and keywords in the URLs.

    Nonetheless, I still use the keywords meta tag. It can't hurt unless you abuse it and it might help with the smaller search engines.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopDogger View Post
    I can't see the keywords meta tag being used for ranking purposes. Its origins go back to the pre-Google days when spiders did not analyze a page, but rather relied on webmasters to tell spiders which keywords to use for a page.
    Per se, I doubt that the meta tags are used for ranking purposes. As you say, the meta tags are too easily gamed. More likely the search engines use the meta tags as signals for what you are trying to rank on to sort out the meat from the potatoes.

    On the other hand, a negative meta tag would tell the search engine the irrelevant keywords on the page.

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