Google doesn’t use the keywords meta tag in web search

We went ahead and did this post on the official Google webmaster blog to make it super official, but I wanted to echo the point here as well: Google does not use the keywords meta tag in our web search.

To this day, you still see courts mistakenly believe that meta tags occupy a pivotal role in search rankings. We wanted to debunk that misconception, at least as it regards to Google. Google uses over two hundred signals in our web search rankings, but the keywords meta tag is not currently one of them, and I don’t believe it will be.

In addition to the official blog post, we made a video as well:

I hope this clarifies that the keywords meta tag is not something that you need to worry about, or at least not in Google.

184 Responses to Google doesn’t use the keywords meta tag in web search (Leave a comment)

  1. this is funny.. considering all the things that we do to get our organic listing by google…researching which key word to put in our pages.. so wat do we do now..???

  2. So, when you say “BASICALLY none” or “REALLY not at all” are you trying to confuse us?? Can you just say “none” and “not at all” in an affirmative voice? There’s still some doubters on Twitter and I don’t want to hear about your double-talking or tone of voice in this video for the next week

  3. I think what Matt is saying is that as far as regular, organic results they make no difference. However with custom or refined searches they might. Also, this doesn’t mean that other search engines like Yahoo and Bing don’t use them…

  4. I had believed Google at best ignored Keywords and at worst only used them as a negative signal when it was Spammed to death. Nice to have some confirmation from the horse’s mouth, so to speak (not calling you a horse Matt ;) )

  5. So, is there any harm in using the keyword meta tag?

  6. @Joey: I’m wondering what part of the webmaster central blog post isn’t clear. It was even repeated a few times for non-believers:

    Google doesn’t use the “keywords” meta tag in our web search ranking.
    Our web search (the well-known search at Google.com that hundreds of millions of people use each day) disregards keyword metatags completely.
    They simply don’t have any effect in our search ranking at present.

  7. Newsflash….not. Thanks for the verification though Matt.

  8. Donald

    The Google Webmaster post included:

    “Even though we sometimes use the description meta tag for the snippets we show, we still don’t use the description meta tag in our ranking.”

    I find that information a lot more newsworthy then the fact that Google ignores the keyword meta tag.

  9. Donald, I am sure the meta description doesn’t play a role in rankings, but it does play a role in click conversion, undoubtedly.

  10. So let me get this straight, because I’m not sure I caught that. You’re saying that Google doesn’t use the keywords meta tag?

  11. Wow, that goes against 99% of the common SEO tip of including a few important words in the “keyword” META tag.

    Personally, I think it’s wise for Google to disregard the keywords tag. As noted in the article, many people try to stuff the meta tag with dozens of keywords, including those of their competitors. How does this help provide relevant search results? It doesn’t.

    As for me, I try to limit my keyword tags to five words or less, but it’s good to know Google doesn’t care anyway. I wonder who still does?

  12. “Even though we sometimes use the description meta tag for the snippets we show, we still don’t use the description meta tag in our ranking.”

    How can they not use it? When you search for things, generally the snippet will have the keyword in it, it will be highlighted. When I search I look for the keyword in the snippet. Many of my sites use the description meta as the snippet

  13. webjet

    After reading your link to (Technology and marketing Law Blog) maybe I missed something about that particular case but after reading the comment it seems to me that the Keywords meta tag was irrelevant anyway as there was a link on the website! My own view (arguably) is that the keywords meta tag should be revisited by google for several reasons.
    It has been said (again arguably) that Yahoo uses this tag, a perfectly good descriptive tag and their search results are more consistent and relevant, maybe , maybe not.
    Google went down the pagerank route (very innovative at the time) and this has been found to be open to abuse (as has the keywords meta tag). I think Google has been a bit dogmatic here and in it’s quest to ignore the keywords meta tag and has had to devise many other metrics for site relevancy to avoid it’s use.
    One would think that at this stage Google could easily identify abuse of the keywords meta tag,(on a site for site basis) much easier than finding potential spam links among hundreds of backlinks. Me, I think the keyword meta tag will certainly be looked at again by Google (whether they admit to it or not) and to be honest, why not?

  14. Rokas

    Ok, G says don’t care about meta keywords, but how about Yahoo or Bing? Now it sounds like an order: Stop using meta keywords, cos we dont care.

  15. so what about this about meta descrptions

    http://bit.ly/TW8cC

    you mention descriptions in the google blog post, no longer playing a role and I’m trying clarify that, with your previous statement which doesnt agree

  16. Karthik

    Matt, Can you please clarify if meta descriptions are indeed used by Google in web search rankings?

  17. Nice to finally have verification on this. Also great points about the legal aspects of how they effect the ranking of a trademarked term or phrase.

  18. graywolf,

    Google will use a meta description if it is useful (ie the description is relevant to the page content). A more detailed explanation can be found in the video on this page.

  19. @Rahil in the main google post they say they dont use it for rankings, hence the discrepancy

  20. sandeep, nothing in how we score keyword meta tags has changed in the last few years, so nothing has changed about the ways to rank well on Google.

    Joey, we do the videos in a single take. We use the keywords meta tag not at all in our web search ranking. Full stop. If I were doing the video over again, I’d make it even more emphatic. :)

    Patrick, our web search doesn’t use the keywords meta tag at all. Our enterprise box (Google Search Appliance) can index/return meta tags if you want, but that’s a completely separate product.

    Andrew, there’s no harm to using the keywords meta tag other than wasting your time.

    Ara Pehlivanian, that’s right. :)

    Rokas, I don’t want the post to sound like an order, because it’s not. I just wanted to clarify Google’s position (that we don’t use the keywords meta tag). Maybe this will help some people avoid getting stressed about things that don’t affect search engines, or at least that’s my hope.

    graywolf, meta descriptions don’t count in scoring (that is, determining the scores which are then used to determine what order to show the results in). So changing your meta description tag won’t make your website rank higher. When we show snippets, we can sometimes use the meta description as the snippet that we show. To your point, if two results have the same snippet (not just because of the meta description but in general), we will often show the first result and then the other results are shown if you add “&filter=0″. But the post was about the keywords meta tag and clarifying that we don’t use the keywords meta tag. The reason we mentioned the description meta tag was to make the point that we don’t disregard all meta tags.

  21. Matt, I am glad you wrote about it. I am an active member at few forums and there, I always tell people that Google no longer use the meta KW tag anymore. Now I will save this post URL and will include it as reference. Thanks

  22. @mattcutts so like in the threadwatch example linked to above, you now say that having and identical meta description across your entire site will not have a negative impact on your site, and conversely having different descriptions for each page on your site will not have a positive affect.

    I’m perfectly ok with things like that changing in the 2-ish years since then just want to clarify that

  23. The last time I really pondered over Meta Keywords was about 8 years ago – and even then they had little or no effect from the tests that we ran at the time. But for some reason I just can’t kick the habit! An HTML header looks naked without them to me, so I do still include them – but normally only the site name and a couple of others ‘just in case’!

  24. This will really shake the world of all the SEO guys :-)… Thank you Google for revealing this secret!

    How many discussions have we all had about this meta-keywords? How many you should use, where they have to be, how long, which kind of, multiple words, one word…

    But don’t get this wrong, words within content can be called keywords, and google indexes content so we still have keywords, just not within the meta tag for it, isn’t it? :-D

  25. Morris Rosenthal

    Matt,

    So how about Meta Key Phrases:-)

    I’ve been working at updating my Meta Descriptions for a few months now, seems to help a little with the quality of visitors, if not the quantity.

    Morris

  26. RogerW

    Matt, are keyword meta tags used at all in image search, or for example to help Google’s contextual ads determine the page’s conext?

  27. don

    WOW, this saves me hours of keyword meta tag work. I will now concentrate more on the first 2 sentences of content and headline for keywords.

    Please answer this, do people put “keyword clouds” on their front page thinking they will get a higher ranking? To me this seems like spamming keywords.

    Thanks, keep us up to date by breaking more myths!

  28. Uri

    Was this a secret? :S I haven’t use meta-keywords since 2006.

    But thanks, Matt, for making that “official”. Now we are not going to spend 15 minutes explaining to a client why his site has not meta-keywords.

  29. I have a simple solution to the meta tag issue… SM. Yeah, I don’t focus on searches, but then again I am a filmmaker and type of visitors I’d get would be people I would meet on SM or in person and mention to them the film and they’d be led to the site. But I believe it is the way people need to think. Don’t think about how to get high rankings on search engines but go to them, interact, and they will want to visit to your site in particular because they met you on SM or in person.

  30. Dave (Original)

    To this day, you still see courts mistakenly believe that meta tags occupy a pivotal role in search rankings. We wanted to debunk that misconception, at least as it regards to Google.

    Why? There hundreds of MORE serious misconceptions that Google could debunk, but chooses not to.

    I’m actually a bit suprised to learn Google ignores meta keywords, I would have thought, if the keyword is also written on the page and/or in the Title, Google would consider it.

    I think you should make it clear that OTHER SE may use it.

  31. Dave (Original)

    BTW Matt. My hardy congrulations to your SE Spam team. I did a test by NOT using nofollow on paid links. For over 4 Months nothing, then my ranking dropped and a few weeks later, my TBPR. About 2 weeks after adding nofollow, my rankings increased, but not TBPR. I guess that go up next update.

  32. Amrit Sareen

    Was I the only one to notice that Matt has the same shirt from the Sept. 11 video about the cool voice recog. search app? His laundry turnover time definitely beats mine…. ;)

  33. don

    Wow great stuff, Matt what would really help is if you could publish the exact methodology involved in search, it would help save you a ton of time on the blog so you could devote more time to finishing the 2 books u missed last months…thx for the info

  34. Kevin

    Is that a Threadless shirt?

  35. So, what is the important key in google search Matt? :D

  36. Matt, I know you say you don’t support the meta keywords tag, but what about the keywords meta tag. IE:

    name=”keywords” content=”words….”

    where the meta keywords comes first, what about situations like

    content=”words…” name=”keywords”

    where the keywords come first, IE the keywords meta tag rather than the meta keywords tag?

    Also, are you saying that you ignore the keywords of a meta keywords tag or the meta keywords listed in the tag itself but would honor the single first keyword, making the meta keyworD tag, if you will. Ergo such as:

    name=”keywords” content=”keyword-we-see,keywords we don’t see because there’s a comma”

    Do commas cause keyword juice to evaporate?

  37. Dave (Original) September 21, 2009 at 7:00 pm
    BTW Matt. My hardy congrulations to your SE Spam team. I did a test by NOT using nofollow on paid links. For over 4 Months nothing, then my ranking dropped and a few weeks later, my TBPR. About 2 weeks after adding nofollow, my rankings increased, but not TBPR. I guess that go up next update.

    Dave (Orgininal), why are you even worried about that? Google currently does a terrible job of determining which sites to penalize. Google is penalizing many innocent sites and blatanly obvious paid link sites are just ingnored by Google.

    Look at http://www.webaward.org/ if you do not believe me.

    Then look at:
    http://www.picknbuy.com

    Google is making way too many mistakes.

  38. Hi Matt,

    I just want to know that if we use only ethical and more relevant keywords in the meta tags, then Google will also ignore the meta keywords for ranking the site.

    Please elaborate

  39. Tejaswi

    Why do you guys do videos? A transcript of the video, or a text summary would be greatly appreciated.

    I’d rather skim through 30 seconds of text than watch through 3 minutes of video.

    It’s kind of ironical – that you have video posts from time to time, and so does the webmaster blog :-)

  40. Hi Matt! we all trust you and we already know from Google’s previous echos about this META TAG. However, IMHO, this is important for other search engines where they take the KWs that are “miss-spell” in this Tag.

  41. May be google not considering Meta keywords for his searching, but meta descriptions play a vital role in your SEO practices,even including generic meta tags are Best and primary SEO practices so no need to remove them, SEO’s still using them..
    thnx matt for G updates.

  42. @DannySullivan – that’s just plain nasty. I know you’re having a laugh, but seriously… think of the children.

  43. Jag

    Is this a new post or a copy of old post? ;)

  44. The meta description doesn’t play a role in Google rankings,what is the use?

  45. Old news, good news. Webmasters can fix this, at the end: meta keywords is no more a matter.

    That’s for Google. What about ‘others’?
    We don’t know, actually… but, i mean, we can stop to have troubling.
    It’s fine to know. I can really ignore keywords metatag. It’s a pleasure.
    :)

  46. It does no harm to fill them in when you’re creating the page though! I’ve always been a bit curious as to whether AdSense uses them at all, but certainly other SEs *might*.

  47. John

    This post and the reactions emphasize the need for some more really “back to the basics” Google posts, they myths out there are staggering and the people that believe them are mind blowing.

    Maybe next week Matt can do a post on Google not being able to rank a page on the fancy formatted text in an image, that will rattle some cages.

  48. I’ll still use the Keywords meta-data, and recommend others to use them.
    Google may not use them, but there are other search engines out there.

  49. I don’t think this is a reason for everyone to go remove all their keywords from the meta tag. Like some have said above, there are other search engines. Still kinda sucks though.

  50. If someone still believed Google used keyword meta tags for anything, they should spank themselves :) I believe the most interesting thing in the post was Google confirming that they do not use description meta tag for ranking.

  51. @ Yahoo questions:

    I’ve seen a website rank for mispelled words when they were put in the Meta Keyword Tag in Yahoo, so Yahoo do look at it (at least they did about a year and a half ago). But I would guess that they wouldn’t take them into account in their main ranking algorithm and only look at it when their index didn’t return anything more relevant.

  52. Well, i am sorry Matt, but i don’t trust you on that. I think Google uses all, and i mean all the info that can help to rank well (correct) a page, and i think Google has the capacity to analyze the keywords meta-tag and say: “hey, this is a correct keywords meta-tag, lets use it”, or “hey, this is really spamy, lets see what other elements are spamy too in this page, and lets not use them at all”. I think that is the right answer to this question, and its available on meta-description too, as well as for h1-6 tags, title tag, etc… I think Google is able now more than ever, to give a good, in fact a very good, note to the elements of a page, and of course, rank it accordingly.

    Cheers,
    toto.

  53. Yeah, that’s a great news… I’ve seen lots of websites who spam their keywords in meta tags.

  54. This is such a breath of fresh air. For years, we’ve been trying to convince our clients (who are amateur SEOs themselves most of the time) that they shouldn’t waste both their and our time on meta keywords. Now all we need to do is give a link to Matt’s post. Thanks mate.

  55. Love that link webjet.
    Nearly fell off my chair laughing.
    Terry Yahoo and the Alta-Vista brothers. Genius.

  56. Jag

    @Adeel If you remove Meta description from your newly optimized pages you will see the differences.

    @all Meta description is different from Meta Keywords. Still Meta Keywords are followed by many other search engines and having it is always a good practice as you don’t miss your readers from other search engines.

    If your page is well popular then Google snippets displays your webpage content for search keywords and in anyways Meta description is an added value and as important as page title still.

  57. Dave

    I’m pretty surprised by this. I always figured Google gave .0000001% credit to meta keywords. 100% ignore? That doesn’t seem very googlish…

  58. Hmm. I have a different experience. Websites where I started using keywords in the metatags rank higher. AS LONG AS the keywords are also in the body text. When metakeywords are NOT mentioned in the text you get a penalty. The best results are when you mention only 1 keyword in the metakeywords for a page. The same keyword has to have a keyword desity of app 5% on the page. Also mention thekeyword in the title (first word).

  59. Agree with jaybong. I think you should categorize this news under “duh”. It was quite some time ago when they stopped using keywords.

  60. Carla

    I know a lot of juice is not given to meta keywords, but i do believe that as part of the bigger SEO picture and holistic page content, they are relevant.

  61. This means that I will not pay as much attention to the keywords metatag as I used to, but I certainly won’t stop using them.

  62. I’m with Millard and the others who say they’ll keep using keyword meta tags. It’s a quick, speedy thing to include, you don’t know how the other SEs view them, and you never know when (or how) they might be useful again. It seems a lot more efficient to take a couple minutes to copy and paste a page’s keywords into a meta tag than to have to go back through in a few years and re-do all of keyword meta tags on a site.

  63. Thanks Matt for the information.

    Though keywords meta tag is not important for web search, it is still useful for webmasters to put that in so as to know what keywords they are optimizing for their websites. It serves as a journal rather than ranking purpose.

  64. Hi Matt, this is a bit off topic but a good question, does Google take into account rankings on foreign search engines such as yandex.ru? We’re translating our search.knightfrank.com website to break the Russian market and I’m wondering will that have any knock on effect with our rankings in Google (or is this a dub question?! lol)

  65. Matt, can you tell us at what point did Google stop using keyword metatags for ranking?

  66. I for one will always use the keyword meta tag. If Google does not count them in typical organic results and other SE’s do. What does it hurt then? Can you clarify if it hurts using them? Matt? ;)

  67. Wow! @figvam I was being sarcastic because every time that Matt says something then everybody looks for double-meanings and doesn’t believe him. I didn’t even know this was an issue, it’s been known for years in the industry and I’m surprised there’s this much discussion about it

  68. I think the keyword metatag has moved to the visable part of the website nowadays.
    It’s called Tag-clouds now. And google should try to reduce that kind of keywordspamming to.

  69. We have known with some certainty for some time that Google doesn’t use the keywords meta tag in its ranking algorithm. However, I still like the keywords meta tag. Its job is part of the copy brief. Use the keywords tag and a meta tag analyser as a discipline to see whether your on page text is in balance with the title and description tag.

  70. Matt, the more I see this blog, the more I think you are feeding us bullshit, or, at the very least, useless information. So what If Google doesn’t read meta keywords? Are you suggesting we ommit them? I sure hope not, because while is all important today, nobody knows what the future holds.

  71. Matt, I have asked this many times. When are you going to separate search results for websites versus web directories? Makes good sense to me! By virtue of page count and links, directories have an unfair advantage over little guy websites. For example; homes.com versus joesrealty.com. What say you? I know directory webmasters are going to slay me over this, but it would help to focus search queries and results.

  72. Cheryl Fuerte

    I wanna quote Matt Cutts in his September 21, 2009 1:29 pm comment/response here. He wrote:

    “Andrew, there’s no harm to using the keywords meta tag other than wasting your time.”

    What I wanna say – there are other search engines too, Matt. Even if Google undeniably leads the pack ;-)

  73. I hate how Googel includes search results within search results. Surely it’s a no-brainer to filter such pages out?

    Back on topic. Matt, why has Google made this “official”? And why now? Me thinks Google has some hidden agenda.

  74. John W

    A Google search for “Death of a meta tag” will find an article written in 2002 by Danny Sullivan, who must be regarded as one of the top search engine experts.

    It is so easy to prove that a search engine does not “read” or ignores words in this part of an HTML file. Do a “site:(domainname)” search, go to the Home page source file and pick a word from the keyword meta tag that is not used in the visible words, title, description meta tag or in link text. Type that word before the “site:(domain name)” and search again. You will find when you do this on Google that the site’s Home page is no longer listed in the results – ergo, Google did not “read” the word in the keyword meta tag.

    Poor old Google. What do they have to do to kill this keyword meta tag myth?

  75. Damian

    Matt

    What are the chances of Google reversing this in say a year or five?

  76. Matt,

    This is really interesting news. I wonder if other search engines will follow suit? It’s very interesting that this has been Google policy for “the last decade” or so, despite my feeling that this is indeed a positive decision on Google’s part – should this information not be made more public in the webmaster guidelines?

    Andrew

  77. Great article Matt, but I will probably always use keywords just basing it off the fact that search engines seem to change on a month by month basis. I also find it helps me categorize the site in a way. I use 3 specific key phrases in almost every page describing my site. It may have no impact towards Google, but you never know what the future holds.

    I still wish search engines didn’t put so much weight in domain names. It just seems like spammers just use that as an alternative now. Just my 2 cents.

    Thanks for the blog post Matt

  78. Wow! @figvam I was being sarcastic because every time that Matt says something then everybody looks for double-meanings and doesn’t believe him. I didn’t even know this was an issue, it’s been known for years in the industry and I’m surprised there’s this much discussion about it

    Dude, I read it the same way he did. It may have been sarcastic, but it didn’t sound that way. It sounded exactly like a comment from an Internet Napoleon Syndrome sufferer. In hindsight, that’s not what you intended but sarcasm doesn’t often translate well unless it’s painfully obvious…and this wasn’t.

    As far as knowledge, if you take a sample of 100 web geeks, maybe 3 will know something and 7 will understand just enough of it to be really dangerous and repeat it to the other 90, who in turn will distort the message further and necessitate a series of messages from the source that say, “wait a minute, this isn’t right, here’s what it really is.” Obviously the misconception is widespread enough that Google felt it had to say something to keep people from tripping over themselves, or this wouldn’t have come about.

  79. Thanks for confirming this Matt!

  80. Hey Matt, I’m really disappointed there were not any sock puppets used in this video… cheers.

  81. I like the way you added at the end “or not in Google” because as you know, it does matter. Just not for Google! Cheers for clarifying and always good to see a myth debunked.

    MattsGoogleMythsdubunked.

    Coolies.

  82. It definitely makes sense and nothing is changed since years ago. In fact, I didn’t do too much of thing and didn’t put too much hope on the meta tag because I believe that quality backlinks and quality content are the keyword that help you to rank well in the Google search engine.

    Regards,
    Lee

  83. Hey Guys… don’t misunderstand Matt. He is not saying keywords are not important. He’s saying the Keywords Meta Tag is not a factor in Google search rankings. There’s a big difference…

  84. Thank you for definitely confirming this – I’ve been telling several people the same thing, but it’s refreshing to hear it come directly from the horse’s mouth. Now I have a page I can reference if there’s ever a question concerning this.

  85. Meta keyword tag not working but Meta description and title tag still works, so not to be worry :D

  86. Finally, I can point people to this page. Thanks for making things clear Matt!

    Karl

  87. Pavlicko

    don’t just ignore something because google doesn’t use it – there are still other search engines around that do.

  88. Nice to hear. Will Google make use of this one?
    (SELFHTML => rel=”index” => “keyword list”?)

    Shouldn`t it read /blog/ at the end in your case? I do not know what rel=”index” is good for but try to correct it in new blogs to avoid problems. You never know… ;-)

    How to? Theme -> functions.php -> pice of code like this:


    add_filter('index_rel_link', 'index_rel_correction_link');

    function index_rel_correction_link($link) {
    $link = "n";
    return $link;
    }

    I thought it should be better to let it match with the canonical url.
    Does it make sense or would it be better to delete it from WordPress Templates?

  89. Sorry. 2nd try because of data loss:


    function index_rel_correction_link($link) {
    $link = "<link rel='index' title='" . esc_attr(get_bloginfo('name')) . "' href='" . get_bloginfo('siteurl') . "/' />n";
    return $link;
    }

  90. This is quite interesting.
    I still thought/think Meta Descriptions had/have a major role as far as search keywords?
    Is there anything Google actually uses keywords meta for?

  91. One thing I’ve seen lately is that my image alt tag gets automatically inserted into my meta description search results, if the keyword in the alt tag matches the query and is not found on the page itself. This tells me that the image alt tag in a sense has replaced the meta keyword tag, because the image alt tag means more today than it once did in the past. Is this logical?

  92. Personally I’m very grateful for any information like this. As someone just finding their way regarding using keywords efficiently I’m very keen to learn what is and is not used to rate highly.

    I guess that I would continue to use the keywords meta tag for the benefit of other search engines but to know that the description meta tag is more important to Google is a handy piece of information.

    Thanks Matt.

    P.s If you want to email me and tell me the other things that I should be doing to get high rankings then that would be fine!! :)

  93. Ed

    Thanks for taking time to settle that issue once and for all. I’m glad to know that I’ve finally been proven right in that the place for keywords is within the content of a page that delivers content that readers are looking for.

    The biggest keyword yet is “Relevance”!

    On another note, since you’re debunking mistaken ideas. Can you confirm that things like this http://www .jobswithgoogle .com/ (url intentionally mangled) is the pure bunk that I believe it to be?

    I’m pretty sure it is but it’d be nice to have even a semi-official word on it so that I can shut some people up about it once and for all by proving that Google has nothing to do with scams like this.

  94. It’s nice to get an official ruling on this, but I will still continue to use the keywords meta tag…simply because other search engines may use them. Better safe than sorry.

    Thanks Matt!

  95. Let’s not forget Matt’s Disclaimer;

    The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

    So either the disclaimer is false, or all SEO type posts are.

    Maybe next Month we will learn that background color isn’t used by Google either :)

  96. Hi Matt,

    Good to see Google keeping everyone in the loop with the latest SEO trends and techniques.

    From my point of view and practicing SEO for the past 8 years, the keywords meta tag has never really been used with a great weight on it. I’ve got pages with and pages without and they don’t rank any differently.

    In my view I think the next thing that should have no weight is links, they have been manipulated so much in recent times – all rankings should be based on things like content, website structure, website speed, internal linking etc etc – that’s just my 2 pence’s worth :-)

  97. Damian

    Dave (Original)

    The video posted was one submitted on the Google Webmaster Central Channel on YouTube, so I don’t think either the disclaimer or all the SEO posts are false.

    I think you are on a mission to pick up on anything that you think will score you points, for whatever reason.

  98. Thanks for official confirmation.

    Can you also confirm about Title tag in this regard?

  99. So if there is no harm in using them from Googles perspective, then I’d say include them just incase anyone else uses them. As long as you don’t waste too much time on it, then what’s the harm?

  100. I think that one of the Google terms here that i must point out is that when you search on Google.com the keyword “search” the first result is BING and not Google , so here is one question : Why this happen in the most important browser on earth ? Please an explanation because Matt is saying that Google doesnt use keywords meta tag in web search and maybe BING is using this and more :) -

  101. Like Chris Arkwright, I like this “official word” from Google but will continue to use meta keywords for other search engines. Even small revenue from an obscure search engine is better than none!

  102. Damian: don’t get him going.

    What he said was extremely stupid and incorrect, as is the case with at least 99% of what he says (even an idiot can stumble upon a correct answer every now and then). Since the disclaimer states views and the only view that was posted in this case was Matt’s pseudo-prediction that the meta keywords tag wouldn’t be used again, the whole bizarre rant from Dave (Useless) isn’t even applicable. So you’re right on that. You’re completely right.

    The problem is that anyone who has the ability to make the quantum leap to form the conclusion that he made here also has the ability to make any other quantum leap to form conclusions that a rational human being couldn’t, and Dave (Useless) has this ability in spades. He’ll inevitably say something ridiculous at some point in response to all this, just as he’s done a hundred times before, just as he’ll do a hundred times again.

    He’s not doing it to score points, either…at least not with Google. If he was, he wouldn’t take repeated cheap shots at Matt or Google. Doesn’t make sense, right? The only thing I can come up with is that he’s angry because he feels his own life is such a miserable failure and that it’s too late to do anything to correct it, so he has to take it out on everyone else to lessen the pain of his own existence.

    I’m not a shrink, though, and that’s just a guess. The view expressed in this paragraph is not necessarily that of Matt or Google.

  103. The short answer is that most external search engine (outside of the site) do not use keywords. Keywords were too easy to put into a page in order to effect page rankings even if the metatags don’t have anything to do with the page. For example.. back in the day all sorts of pages used “Pamela Anderson” as a keyword just to hope their page would hop to the top of the list and they would get visits (even though they were inadvertent). It became more about impressions rather than getting actual interested parties to visit a site. Because of this, external search engines began to rely more heavily on the actual content of the page.

    Keywords (and other meta information) are still important for internal search engines. The descriptions are also still used in numerous search engines for the short information located within search results.

    -Kevin Zink

  104. Dave

    I looked for a site comments, but could not find one.
    You blog about so many good topics, but to find the items of interest to a particular person, they would have to spend many hours combing through your blogs.
    If you had a list of just the post names, for easy exploration, one would find what peaks their interest, before they tired of the hunt.

    I’m just saying.
    Dave

  105. MWD

    Matt how come that site with keywords displays more accurate adsense “ads” than site without keywords?

    I buy lot’s of lots of domains and 20% of them are with Adsense, in my previous experience (it’s automated now) is that if I put I’am getting better PPC’s and more Accurate too.

    Example: http://acuterespiratory.com/

  106. MWA, you have me confused with someone who cares what your opinion is. But it’s nice to know you value mine so much. I guess you have time on your hands now you have turned IhelpYou forums into a Ghost Town? BTW, I think you mean *the above* paragraphs, not “this paragraph”.

    Damian, IF the disclaimer is worded correctly, then all Matts “Views” are NOT (should be NOT necessarily) those of Google’s. Pretty basic stuff…………………………………..for some ;)

  107. Rick Thomchick

    Makes sense to me…seems like keywords have little/no value to human users, so why should Google use them?

  108. Varun Varma

    Hello Matt,
    I have Different question than others, As you explain that google won’t use keywords anymore with example of 2 name , Don’t you think that 2 people , 2 industry , 2 things have same name or nature of business. And If Google work on that ranking then what SEO people do. Its not like monopoly cuz people searching there product on google.

    And also one thing , What we can Use to show that we are targeting these keywords not other than that.

    For Example : i have show manufacture company . I describe Clothing related information in my website , but i really don’t want that anybody can search me for clothing. then what will i do than keyword specification. Hope you have all the answer of my small questions.

    And tell me one other thing that what abt the publicity that make Google on bases of Keywords from long time and Client believe on Keyword thing Now. How you going to aware all the people that google not using keyword. I don’t think so Number of people used to read ur blog or google terms and other things. They only Know that Keyword is something there on Google.

  109. Meta tags like keywords don’t matter but meta for robots and description do matter. The description is variable, while the robots tag is still used for sure because if you add nofollow or nocache google will respect that. Also google uses meta tags to verify site ownership so we know that at least they’re isn’t any harm in using it.

  110. Spamhound

    Matt is the biggest disseminator of false information about Google there is. That’s his job.

    Keeping all the sheep that blindly follow every word he says fooled. Just look at his great post getting everybody into page rank sculpting. Look how that turned out.

    Google is no longer about search. When it was and that was the only thing they focused on, they were the best there was.

    Now, they are sub par at best and the only reason they remain dominant is people are used to them. But, as more and more searchers become turned off to big brother Google and the crappy results they are serving up, they will try others and slowly but surely the big G will be just another player in the mix.

  111. Thanks for confirming this, I thought meta KW is an important thing, anyway… I’ll continue to add it for other meta SE.

  112. I hear ya of the blind sheep front, spamhound. Even with this post, I bet many now don’t bother with the keyword meta tag, just because Matt has made 2 posts. I cannot for the life of me determine any reason what-so-ever for this post, and the official post. It has has all the hallmarks of a HIDDEN agenda. Perhaps Bing DOES use them and Google is feeling threatened?

    So what IF Google doesn’t use meta keywords? Why make it official after 10 Years? Why make it official at all?

  113. If the only/main reason for ignoring keyword meta tag completely is because of abuse, why not look at the first three words and skip the rest?

  114. 2 Dave

    I think like you the timing must be an important approach:

    Why make it official after 10 Years?

    May bee the new broom (Obama) sweeps clean

    and there is a regulation/information security act in sight?

    Than Google prefabricate only arguments this way.

    but I live way too far away to answer that.

    So you all have to look after indicators pointing this or that way in the next months.

    Greetings Karl

  115. Anthony Taylor

    Why the official post? Many people still believe that Google uses the keyword meta tag in determining search results. While people still think this, it will be worth reposting this thread to debunk the misconception.

    As for any conspiracy theories – I cannot for the life of me determine any reason what-so-ever why Matt would want to misprepresent Google’s attitude towards meta keywords?

  116. Damian

    I can’t believe this, it’s like I’ve time travelled back 15 years and I’m back on a BB ..

    Dave (Original)

    The really important thing you are missing is this isn’t a view from Matt, but a statement from Google that is getting passed on here as I’m sure it got passed on from several other people.

    As for those not putting keywords in on the back of this, then that would be just foolish and if someone is going to do that then they’re probably in the wrong business and I can’t for a moment think that people would stop doing it.

  117. We already know that Google Ranking algorithm doesn’t care about Keywords.
    But these days we are preparing the new Web 3.0 based on microformats (hCard, hCalendar, Geo…) :)
    I think Google have to keep attention to some similar things like rel=”tag” in order to bring categorized Serps ;)

  118. Damian: stop making sense, dammit! You can’t be logical

    Anthony Taylor, it’s not obvious? Let me break it down to you.

    People will all remove their keywords tags because Matt said so, saving potentially tens of dollars in bandwidth from web hosts.
    Web hosts will then pay Google a 10% premium based on the bandwidth saved.
    Google will then pay Matt a 10% commission in turn based on the revenue generated.

    Based on this, Google is projecting an increase in $129.75 in revenue, which means that Matt will receive $12.97 in potential commissions. Matt will argue that the commission should be rounded up to $12.98, leading to a Mexican standoff between Matt and Google as the evil conspiracy theory breaks down.

    So don’t worry, conspiracy theorists. Google’s nefarious plot can’t work. The half-cent discrepancy will ruin it. YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST, PEOPLE.

  119. Damian, the big thing you are missing is, I’m not talking soley about this post, but ALL seo type posts by Matt. He raises more questions/confusion each time. IF we would answer most questions, it would be much better. BUT, Matt simply doesn’t have the time to answer SEO type questions he raises each time he posts.

    Can you see any logic in Google (no, NOT Matt) making this official after so very long????

    As for those not putting keywords in on the back of this, then that would be just foolish and if someone is going to do that then they’re probably in the wrong business and I can’t for a moment think that people would stop doing it.

    LOL! IMO, the whole SEO industry is a farce. What SE in its right mind would boost Search Engine Optimized pages over those optimized for Humans? Not Google, and that’s for sure.

    If you charge for attempts (most fail) for boosting site pages, you would be better off being a copywriter and researcher. That way, you can charge for quality content pages over buckets of steam.

  120. Interesting stuff Matt. But i will still use the keyword :)

  121. If you still want to use the keyword meta tag, use a short one. :)

  122. Yeah i discovered that in 2006 http://forums.seroundtable.com/showthread.php?t=698 nobody took me seriously that time :(

  123. I think this is rightly so… the amount of ‘keyword stuffing’ that goes on can seem a bit ridiculous however if other search are still using it I think you’ll still need to use it but I think it should go more on the description tag over keywords.

  124. Amy

    I thought this was old news. However a few keyword phrases still doesn’t hurt for the SE’s that still consider them.

  125. Off topic:
    Check this out http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=1513540
    someone is selling website about you :-)
    Cheers,
    Venetsian

  126. Makes a change for DigitalPointless, they normally sell PageRank. Man is that forum full of false and dangerous information.

  127. This video might look like this:
    -sign “Does google use keywords tags?” appear for 3 sec
    -next Matt in 1 sec says very quick “No” (like in Family Guy the weather man;))
    END, that’s it ;d

  128. I have followed a basic rule since I started SEO. I try and focus on only one, at max 2 keywords on a page. Then I optimize the page name, title, description, H1, and body content of that page around that one keyword. In this way we have focussed pages, each with a keyword theme.

    I think there is no harm in wasting a little time in adding one keyword to the ‘keyword tag’ whether we get extra points for it or not. It helps point to the main keyword the page is focussed around. In addition, other search engines may still have some value for the keyword tag, so I say get that one keyword in the keyword tag, but keep your focus on the other items that do get the juice.

  129. i think the keywords meta tag is still useful with BAIDU

  130. Love reading the comments on your blog Matt.
    I know why i Pwn the serps now if these are the guys that are my competition.

  131. This is very old news. But hope so there is no harm in using meta tags.

  132. Thanx matt..

    U have solve a great misunderstanding in SEO world..
    thanx for clarifying this misconception..
    no more comments…
    just to say.. Great job..

  133. yeah

    but still keywords neta info reflects the total kwd dencity on the page… right ?

  134. I’m glad it’s finally said. But it is not gonna change my operating procedure – I still use this meta tag for working out any redundancy in the site structure, making sure I place the right focus on the page as measured against my keyword research, and as a means of sharpening focus throughout the site based on the data gotten from analytics, etcetera. All of those uses will help the sites I work on better find customers in search/anywhere, so why not?

  135. I actually enjoy reading some keyword meta tags. The lists people come up with that include every word that anyone could possibly ever use to try to find you are fascinating and often kind of funny. Thanks for the post, Matt.

  136. thanks for the info. over the years i’ve spent less and less time worrying about these anyways, so this is justification. i guess i will still stick a few keywords in there (just in case) for the other search engines.

  137. Thank you for these inspiring & useful videos! I have been watching some of them in a row and I think (!) I do now understand Google better than before.

    So, if keywords as a meta tag don’t count, I’m very thankful for mentioning it officially. I mean I used to read many books on old-school SEO and today I realize that most of the data I consumed over a few years is outdated before it was published :-)

    With many of my projects I discovered that serving great content is the very best solution to any SEO problems. Give them what they deserve and vice versa. That easy it is.

  138. Good to know. our SEO strategist shared this with us when it was announced, but we still include them for goos measure for borad acceptance across all the search engines.

    Rob Wilcox, CEO
    FaceFile – one click could save your life

  139. Rick Thomchick

    Bruce Clay was right!!! He mentioned his hypothesis to me a few years ago but it’s nice to get official validation.

  140. Hi Matt

    Appreciate that this myth is finally debunked, but just wanted to clarify for seo purposes, i guess what your effectively saying is that keywords used within the url, page title and your content, aswell as having relevant link building (backlinks) to your webpage, is what google consider most in their algorthim?

    Thanks again for your post

    Vahe

  141. When you spout enough rhetoric, some is bound to become true, sooner all later.

  142. Ya description meta tag are not working in google, but use of meta is not harmful for all other search engine. Non stuff meta tag is acceptable in google.

  143. As someone said before me, adsense will not have any issues serving ads right?

  144. Good to reiterate the point as many don’t distinguish between Google and some other players in search industry. So, this misconception grows from time to time.

  145. If I have to evaluate a side (like Google does)

    but I do not trust a special Tag

    because I have some disbelief in its appropriateness.

    I would take this Tag as a checksum

    and the the differential between my own evaluated content

    and this Tag would show me a lot!

    Greetings Karl

  146. Nofollow whoulc of never been introduced. The Google should of had to take the tougher road and figure out for itself how to pass the value of a link.

    RM

  147. Can’t wait to read about what you find out during the 30 days…will keep up. And, this is best, since you can figure it out and give us your best opinion. Boycotting sounds so rebellious. Go for it.

  148. Meta keywords take such a short time to add to the website, I doubt it will impact any webmaster. People have not really been paying much attention to them for a number of years. Its good to get final clarification though. Thanks!

  149. Yahoo doesnt use them either now. They announced it on 06 Oct 2009. Also Bing doesn’t. So it looks like none of the big SE’s do.

  150. TINA

    I make 30 websites, each with the EXACT same page content. The only difference among the sites is the keyword meta tags and the description meta tags. Please explain why, when I query Google for the the various terms, do my sites come up under the different search tags??

    I believe that Matt is lying in an effort to deter spam.

  151. Red

    So in short, there are no complications in using the META keyword tag, or not using it entirely. But on the safe side, I’ll still use it on my site.

  152. I still add a few keywords in the keywords tag as i find that it helps me focus on what the page is about. Also if other search engines still use keyword tags then it must be worth adding 2-3 keywords per page as a safeguard.

  153. We have known this for some time now, but thanks for giving us some official Google closure on this topic :)

  154. Nick

    Hi Matt

    So what happens if bob.com places alice’s name in the meta description tag instead of the keywords tag?

  155. Thanks for a final word on this topic Matt. My copyrighters can now be secure in the fact that they are writing persuasive text for the SERPs only.

    @ Paul Gregory: You may want to keep your targeted phrases to yourself Paul, any information that potential competitors have on you should be limited whenever possible.

  156. I had noticed this but was not sure. Thanks for confirming. However, I fail to understand the following:
    When I search some exact phrase or sentence from my site (without double quotes), Yahoo & Bing show my site in the result but Google doesn’t (PR of my site is 0). In fact, most of the results Google throws up do not contain the phrase searched for.
    Don’t you think Google search engine results should focus more on what a user is looking for rather than on PR? After all, that’s what search engines are meant for.

  157. Kris

    Good to know but I have one question still. Keyword density is commonly used as a ranking factor – does the meta keyword tag still affect keyword density on page or does it skip it?

    Thank you for the clarification.

  158. This is a valuable discovery, but I wish more was discussed about how to maintain ranking. For instance, my company’s site was coming about fifth place on Google last summer. During that time, we got three new clients over a 6 months span, from people who found us with a generic search for videographers.
    However, in the past couple of months, I have had no new clients contact us, and inspection of our logs shows no local traffic. Nearly 95% of our web traffic is now coming from Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, South America, France and the UK. Almost nothing from the US and nothing at all, most days, from our home state.
    Needless to say, we ran the same search query in Google, that had yielded a listing on page one, and we were nowhere in sight. We didn’t come up until page five! Our ranking had slipped so far down, that no one could find us anymore.
    So what’s up with that? How did we lose our ranking?

  159. I still use keyword tags to keep track of the keuwords I am targeting for each page. I know the keyword meta tag has no impact on SEO right now. Some day they may become important again.

  160. This is a great way to reduce keyword spamming and i totally agree with the decision. Most SEO agencies are now aware that Google ignores the keyword meta tag, if they dont then they really dont have their finger on the pulse of their own industry. These information videos are great to help us work with Google to clean up the web.

  161. I’ve gone ahead and removed all the keyword meta tags from my sites. Curiously enough, my traffic has risen by about a third! Is a meta keyword tag then now a negative indicator?

  162. is it true?
    i believe many bloggers disappoint to hear that
    so what should we do? any idea

  163. So the purpose of keywords meta tags is what exactly? Do they have any purpose if Google aren’t paying attention to them?

  164. I tried it at my site. My indexed pages still good and then I add tags again, but meta title and description also very important, and maximum title must be 70 characters. Am I wrong?

  165. Most people I know, including myself, use Google as the standard reference when building websites and blogs as it’s the primary search engine. Time and time again it has been drilled into me to use the keywords meta tag. It just goes to show there must be many misinformed people out there teaching SEO.

    Is there any way to ascertain the worthiness of a person or company to teach SEO so they can prove they know what they are talking about?

  166. Des

    I’ve known this for a while now, at least this explains a few things :)

  167. darrell

    Sandeep mentions the common practices people have used for a long time to try and rank well…
    sandeep – “considering all the things that we do to get our organic listing by google…researching which key word to put in our pages.. so wat do we do now..???”

    the response
    matt – “sandeep, nothing in how we score keyword meta tags has changed in the last few years, so nothing has changed about the ways to rank well on Google.”

    “nothing in how we score keyword” – this means it is scored, not scoring could be considered how they “handle the score” though
    then you say nothng has changed about the ways to rank well as a response to sandeep being upset on what he is supposed to do without keywords.

    this logic means you DO score keywords in rank.

  168. from what i’ve gathered, the description meta tag seems to be the most important.

  169. Julian Thurgood

    As someone who has just produced a new website – and paid someone to ‘optimise it ‘ -sounds like i’ve wasted my money. Do any of these seo people actually do anything to help one get a decent ranking in google – or is it just a giant con – seems like it to me!

  170. I think the real question, is how black-hat has this seemingly innocent keyword classification become? Certainly, some few search engines use the Keywords tag; the real question is if we get negative credit to google pagerank for use of the same?

    I’d vote that google is smarter than that. They’ve probably built a keyword association alg; and thereby can add all of your keywords together to catalogue it as spammy or not. Certainly, they have to have something like this to be able to locate/detect keyword stuffing in content…

    Thoughts?

  171. @Julian .. some do but most don’t. They charge outrageous amounts of money for basically nothing (in my experience).

  172. @Julian – As with anything in life there are different standards of SEO companies. Some can do a really good job.

  173. Maybe because it’s been abused so much it’s useless?

    4.5.1 The Ranking System
    Google maintains much more information about web documents than typical search engines. …

    http://infolab.stanford.edu/~backrub/google.html#data

    The way I would see it, if I was working on a profiling potential, the search engine element is but one aspect, and as anyone who just got fascinated working with text strings in various programmatic way, and in linguistics, and how that logic affects a pages “psychology” not one character, or dimension from one character, word, sentence, subject, thought, meaning, double meaning, etc could be ignored from the stand point of research.

    Now that it’s a useless piece of info for a page rank is one thing, or a return algorithm, but it’s not like Google is just stripping that data into the recycle bin, and a bunch of other stuff, because I could image for anti spam research, every cue and pattern possibly profiled would be useful. It’s not like humans are going through it all anyways.

    I think any metta data is useful for something, like how many various fictitious or accidental meta names have been concocted over the years. The logic within that whole system artificial gypsy intelligence can be applied to much more than page rank, and who wouldn’t do that with some of the interesting tools at Google’s discretionary use and development?

    Now you know it’s not a conspiracy, because it’s in 74% of page 1 postion 1 pages out there in Googles search returns organic, I mean go see for yourself, this meta tag which Google does use BTW:

    The Proverbial Cat is Meowing in the Bag. I still like heh heh heh, better than LOL

  174. Now you know it’s not a conspiracy, because it’s in 74% of page 1 postion 1 pages out there in Googles search returns organic, I mean go see for yourself, this meta tag which Google does use BTW:

    “meta name” “WeLoveYouGoogle” content “A Lot, let us count the ways, and so on…”

  175. Are there any search engines left that still use the meta keywords tag, or can you just leave it out of the header and save yourself time?

  176. Meta keywords take such a short time to add to the website, I doubt it will impact any webmaster. People have not really been paying much attention to them for a number of years. Its good to get final clarification though. The short answer is that most external search engine (outside of the site) do not use keywords.

  177. Apparently, I have not been using meta keyword tags on all my sites and some rank pretty well. Some of those sites also rank well on yahoo so I’m probably thinking meta tags in general are less of a factor determining relevancy.

  178. I do Meta Tags. I mean it cant hurt right?

  179. > I do Meta Tags. I mean it cant hurt right?

    Like Matt said, there’s no harm, apart from wasting your own time and making yourself look like you’re incompetent.

  180. We have just started using Meta Descriptions, Title Tags as we figure some search engines use it so we want those customers as well and also that Google can turn around at anytime and re-value them in their search quality score so don’t sweat on it just get it done when you have time to get it done if you think it makes sense to search on your sites

  181. I think on the aspect of abusing keywords, this could be good trend for some extent. BTW some search engines use keywords meta tag to index pages and being totally rely upon keywords meta tag sometimes cause misleading users and bad guys to win the competition. Google should not totally ignore meta keywords tag. Unless ethical webmasters may unable to get most out of using keywords on their pages.

    I hope Google will add keywords variable in a portion of their algorithm to make organic searches to be more fruitful while implementing formula to add less priority or ignore unethical webmasters who have been misusing and stealing keywords to be popular on web search results.

    Cheers…

  182. Backslider

    Wow guys… these articles are from 2009. Thats forever in the internet world.

    Here are the facts these days:

    Although Google have not told us, they do in fact pay attention to both meta keywords and meta description. The important thing is that both tags reflect WHAT IS ACTUALLY ON THE PAGE BEING VIEWED. If they do this, then they are of benefit. If instead they are SPAMMY and contain things THAT ARE NOT ON THE PAGE, you will be suitable penalised.

  183. At the risk of redundancy, using the Keyword Meta as a reference tool works great. Every developer will turnover the reigns at some point and offering a road map to the new driver is a quality thing to do.

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