Using the Internet today is as easy as just opening a web browser and putting in a name or whatever it is you want to search for. Here is something about it, though: almost no one checks the second page of the search result. Or on the third page. That is because the content with the highest content quality is always on the first page. This has to do with Search Engine Optimization, which puts content with high-quality upfront. It was, however, not always like this. In the past, there were other means of optimizing your content in a way that people could see it. One of such was meta keywords. This article examines SEO meta keywords, considering what the concept is and its current relevance in present-day SEO.
What are the SEO meta keywords?
Meta keywords were basically HTML tags put into webpages when they were being made. So, search engines would place the pages at the front of search results. The meta keywords were not visible to visitors but to search engines. The search engine would then use the meta keywords as a means to rank the site. This meant that the more keywords you used, the higher ranked your content was. This got outdated pretty fast. As expected, every one put in unnecessary keywords in and made a point of keywords moot.
A Brief History of Meta Keywords
The meta keyword system was created in 1995 in a bid to create more traffic to certain sites. It was an HTML code written into the frame of websites. The Internet then was not as robust or dynamic as it is today. And at that time, the search engines were pretty simple. Web developers, when creating web pages, were supposed to put in relevant meta keywords. This would cause the site to be ranked according to where it belonged, and all would be right with the world. However, that is not how it went. It became pretty easy to just throw in more keywords even when they were not relevant to the content. Everyone was doing it just to hit high numbers of viewership. Time made obvious what was going on. Search engines decided to take the option of deciding whether a webpage was relevant or not out of the developer’s hands. The question of how many keywords were on your page to determine the ranking was thrown out the window. At the same time, more stringent means of determining the quality of articles were introduced.
Bear it in mind that meta keywords were not about content quality, but all about the ranking. The search engines of the past decade would read the HTML tag that contained your meta keywords and determine by the number of keywords you put in where your page ranked. It was an Olympic event for which the webpage had the most meta keywords and would end up on top. Times have, however, changed. Using meta keywords today would make your page look more like a spam page. As a result, your page might end up on the third page of the search results or in a more out-of-sight location. Now, search engines rank webpages on various factors. These include the images, links, quality of the writing, and so on. It is, thus, a form of quality control.
Why You Do Not Need SEO Meta Keywords
From the above history, you can rightly infer that SEO meta keywords are not advisable to use. Here are a few other reasons why you should not use SEO meta keywords.
1.) Search engines hate it
The point of Search Engine Optimization is so you can organically grow your viewership. You put out quality content, and Google rewards you by putting it out to the world. The meta keyword strategy is more forceful in the sense that it places a lot of relevance on keywords. It does this, even though most of the keywords are not relevant. With meta keywords, it did not matter if you had brilliant content to show. All that mattered were keywords.
Due to this, a lot of search engines now ignore the line of code that contains the meta keywords when scanning the web site or page. Presently, Google and some other search engines will reprimand you for these infractions. That is how your page gets relegated to the back seat. And now that there is Google discover and the likes, you can be sure that using meta keywords will take you out for the count.
2.) It is completely useless
Meta keywords were used to drive traffic to specific sites. Now though, it is not allowed, and its use is even considered bad practice. It is safe to say that it is useless. Search engines ignore it, and using it can get you penalized with a lot of search engines. So what is its use? None. Search engines stopped paying attention to the meta keyword tag because they were trying to stop spams and create an internet that had quality, not quantity.
3.) It defeats quality content
One of the most terrible things about meta keywords was the heinous crime of allowing subpar content to take over quality content. Meta keywords essentially made it a contest of keywords and which web page or site has the most. This was one of the reasons why the search engines had to step in and curb the terror. Quality content was largely overshadowed by irrelevant content. This was because the use of meta keywords was a determining factor in whether your web page ended up upfront or was thrown to the back. In the days of meta keywords, you could search a word and then suddenly be bombarded with pages that have absolutely no bearing on what you are looking for. That is why it had to be stopped.
Can meta keywords help in any way?
It is pertinent to know, however, that there are still a number of SEO experts that will tell you to use meta keywords and continue to plug them. The main reason why they still continue to use this is that a lot of marketers still use it. If they are using it, then we should, right? After all, they are marketing strategists. Now, you still should not be using SEO meta keywords. Do not forget that while some search engines like Google or Yahoo may overlook it, search engines like Bing actually penalize it. Google does not necessarily penalize it. But it will show that your website has a bad structure, and you will have the meta keywords to blame. Nonetheless, people still like to put it on their web pages because it is what they are used to, and they want every advantage they can get in promoting their content.
To answer the question of whether you can still use meta keywords in any way, there is no clear answer. Search engines keep their algorithms top secret. So, you will never know whether your meta keywords for SEO actually have an impact on promoting your webpage or site. Recent data has shown that it has virtually no impact whatsoever. This is an attempt to prevent people from taking advantage of the system to push lesser than average content out on the Internet. Your time will be better spent generating genuine quality content that is optimized for viewership and has good links on it. Using present-day SEO techniques will take your work farther than using past SEO meta keywords could.
The Fate of Meta Keywords
The plain truth is that meta keywords no longer have a bearing on what you search for, and it does not optimize your content either. It is obsolete. For some, it is like a placating symbol, not necessarily like it has a function. Putting meta keywords into your page also paints a target on your back by telling anyone who cares to look, what you are targeting. Your competition is able to see all the keywords you are trying to use to optimize the search of your page and can do with that information whatever they please.
If you are still determined to use SEO meta keywords, then there is a very important piece of advice you should always have in mind: use it sparingly. When meta keywords were still popularly used, there were a lot of irrelevant keywords. And on today’s Internet, that is just not going to cut it. You have to use the most relevant of words, or you will find yourself facing a dilemma of the spamming kind. Search engines are all about providing the most relevant pieces of information in a short amount of time, and there will be no forgiving spam. The best way to go would be to get yourself a good SEO optimized content that does not need to be aided by meta keywords. It is likely that you are not confident in your content if you have to rely on the use of meta keywords. Meta keywords can only do so much to help you.
There are more specific ways of driving content to your website today. So the practice of using meta keywords is outdated and mundane. SEO meta keywords, even while it was in its prime, did not require social engagement. The time when meta keywords were popular is very different from the time we are in now. Quality content now does not rely on just keywords and the first thing to pop up when a name is put into a search engine. Quality content requires good links, a great writing style, the correct use of images and links. Creating authentic content is the only way to ensure social engagements and views, so your content reaches a wider audience and grows. If you are determined to get ahead of the competition, then that is the way to go. Meta keywords cannot help you get social engagements or viewership, so you may be using them at your own risk.