Meta tags are snippets of text that describe the content on your web page. These tags do not appear on your web page itself and are only visible to search engines (and to people who know where to look).
The keyword meta tag provides a list of words or phrases about the content on your web page. Over time, marketers started abusing this tag which then led to it being ignored.
Google ignores your keyword tag
Most search engines ignore this tag because of continued abuse. Marketers used to insert keywords that were unrelated to their web page content. This was an attempt to gain traffic from trending topics that were unrelated and popular on the search engines.
Inserting a large number of irrelevant keywords is known as keyword stuffing. Google eventually got wise to this trick and they stopped the abuse of keyword stuffing by devaluing the keyword meta tag.
Since Google does not use the keyword meta tag in its ranking algorithm, should you still format the tag on your website? Yes, but do it wisely and follow a few rules.
Using the Keyword Meta Tag
There is a limit to the number of words and/or phrases, and all words in the tag must be relevant to your page text.
- Only use between 4 and 8 keywords or keyword phrases.
- Separate the different keywords and phases with a comma.
- Only add words or phrases that reflect the text on your web page.
- Move the most important keywords to the beginning of the tag.
Filling your keyword and description meta tags with irrelevant keywords can harm your site’s ranking. And yes, Google will penalize your site if they catch you.
To avoid spam penalties, make sure that the keywords in your tags appear at least once in your web page content.
Keyword stuffing is a dangerous game. Play it safe.