What are Meta Keywords and Do They Matter in 2019?

July 8, 2019
July 8, 2019 Madeleine

There’s a good chance that you haven’t heard the term “meta keywords” before – after all, even in the digital marketing industry, this is no longer a very relevant term. However, if you have dabbled in even creating a blog, they very well may be something that you have used. There are certainly some strong opinions out there as to whether or not meta keywords have any relevance at all in the digital marketing industry, especially in the last ten years. So, what are meta keywords and do they even still matter in 2019? Let’s take a look.

What are meta keywords?

Meta keywords are short words or phrases that describe what your website is all about, and is a kind of meta tag. Kind of sounds like SEO keywords, right? While they are both centered around words or phrases that describe your product or website, they appear in exactly the opposite places. SEO keywords visibly appear on your website in your content, while meta keywords will not actually be seen in the content of your website. Meta keywords are actually a type of meta tag that can be found in the HTML code of your website, which is another way of letting a search engine know what your webpage is all about.

Are meta keywords important?

We’re going to give it to you straight here – no, meta keywords are not important. When it comes to Google, Bing and Yahoo, they do not have any effect on its rankings. Google went so far as to announce in 2009 that they do not use meta keywords, and they haven’t been for years. This is due to the fact that time and time again, black- hat keyword stuffing became a problem, and Google could essentially no longer trust that meta keywords were providing accurate results. The last thing anybody wants is to be directed to a page that has nothing to do with what you were looking for – but you happened to be led there because of behind the scenes keyword stuffing. While this may seem like more of an irritant than anything else, keyword stuffing is both harmful to Google’s ability to accurately rank websites, and can be harmful to the person that is searching as well. Keyword stuffing is generally used to provide a high amount of traffic to fraudulent websites, which nobody wants. Although search engines like Bing do still fault website owners for keyword stuffing, meta keywords are still not a factor in their ranking (but you can get in trouble for trying this technique anyway).

What about other meta tags?

What about other meta tags

If you’re keeping up here, meta keywords are a type of meta tag, but are not important in the grand scheme of things (or in any scheme of things). However, there are certain types of meta tags that are still important, which include title and description meta tags. You can find Google’s detailed description of the meta tags they still use and understand here. Again, this is not as simple as a title and description simply existing on your website – meta tags are always behind in the scenes, in the website’s html.

Should we still be using them?

So, we’ve established the fact that meta keywords are no longer important, and haven’t been for quite some time. After all, Google’s official publication on the Google Webmaster Central blog that they are not using meta keywords was published in 2009. Is there a chance that this has changed in the past ten years? No, not really. The same potential issues still exist, and implementing the use of meta keywords once again would not change that. So, just in case there’s any chance at all that meta keywords do still matter in the slightest, should we include them anyway just in case? Again, no, and here’s why. Google, Yahoo and Bing have all come out and said that they no longer take meta keywords into consideration. Bing has stated both that meta keywords will not help your website’s rankings, and the fact that you will only get faulted for trying to get away with keyword stuffing. So, absolutely no benefit there. What’s worse, is you can actually find another website’s meta keywords, and find exactly what that company is trying to use to send traffic to their website. This can only be harmful to your website, especially when it comes to your competitors.

In conclusion, do meta keywords matter in 2019?

Absolutely, NOT! We cannot stress enough that there is no point, they are only harmful, do not use them, they’re bad, etc. The fact that they have been irrelevant on Google itself for over ten years should be telling you something. If your company is trying to thrive off of the use of meta keywords, it needs some serious help with its digital marketing strategy. Our Content Creation packages on Content Refined do, of course, include keyword research and SEO optimization, which are two key areas that we do focus on in improving your digital marketing strategy – however, this does not include meta keywords. We focus on SEO (search engine optimization) keywords that center around creating quality content that is relevant to the subject of your website. We are always keeping up to date with the most relevant forms of digital marketing, and it would frankly be a waste of time and resources for everyone to focus on meta keywords. This is how much we want to stress that it does not matter!

We have said some harsh words about meta keywords today. This is due to the fact that it is again, pointless, but also due to the fact that there are still sources that say that you should include meta keywords regardless, because of the fact that there could still be the smallest chance that search engines are using them, and just not telling us. All we have to say to this is um, no. Keep up to date on the most relevant forms of digital marketing for 2019 so you can stay one step ahead of your competitors, rather than focusing on digital marketing that hasn’t been in use for over ten years. You’re welcome.