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Stop stressing over the keywords meta tag!!

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by GreyWolf, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    I keep seeing new threads and posts from people discussing how to get the most juice out of keywords in the meta tag. It doesn't matter, just put some relevant words in it if you want to. I always do and it isn't going to hurt anything, but there isn't a lot more to discuss about it beyond that. Google totally ignores the tag. Yahoo, Ask, and a few other SEs look at it, but it doesn't carry any more weight than other content on your page (probably less) and they don't use it for ranking.

    As far as optimizing for google the best way to use your keywords is to make sure you use them in the content of your page. That's why everyone is always talking about keyword density when discussing article writing. That's the most important way of using your keywords. Next would be to use them in a tag cloud somewhere in the body of your page, and also stuff them into your image alt tags whenever possible.

    If you want to know which meta tags google cares about read this page:
    hxxp://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=79812

    And to read more info about the keywords meta tag read these pages:
    hxxp://searchengineland.com/meta-keywords-tag-101-how-to-legally-hide-words-on-your-pages-for-search-engines-12099
    hxxp://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/09/google-does-not-use-keywords-meta-tag.html


    So certainly use the keywords meta tag if you want, but don't stress over it. It's way more important to use those words in other places on your page. Hope this helps a few people.
     
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  2. bigbeats

    bigbeats Newbie

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    I agree. Just write, write, write and it will be found. You are bound to include search terms just by writing content.
     
  3. webcatpl

    webcatpl Junior Member

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    Title, H1 are most important.

    That's right, tags are not important - but they can affect density etc.
     
  4. tacopalypse

    tacopalypse Executive VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    i usually just replace all spaces in the title with commas and then copy it into the meta keywords tag

    lol
     
  5. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    Actually the keywords meta tag and the description meta tag won't even affect density. Not on google anyway. Google may use the description tag for the excerpt to display on the results page, but it doesn't index from it and it ignores the keywords tag completely.

    You're right the Title tag in the header and the Header tags (H1,H2,etc) in the body are very important. A keyword in the title or an H1 tag will carry more weight than the same word elsewhere in the body.
     
  6. SEO20

    SEO20 Elite Member

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    Don't forget domain and url.
    META is ignored by Google regular search algorithm (via it's crawler). But adsense DOES like good meta tags!

    This is not for discussion - it's the way it is :)

     
  7. scb335

    scb335 BANNED BANNED

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    One caveat I'd add to this discussion of META's is that they (title, description and keywords) do carry weight in whether or not content is seen as 'duplicate' by SE's.

    I've tested this with PLR content and simply changing the 3 META's and then adding a single unique sentence to the start of the page content was enough to get the same piece of PLR indexed twice off of a single domain.

    I tested the same thing only changing the title and adding a sentence, but not using the META description or keywords tags, and only 1 of the pages got indexed.

    My conclusion from it was that the tags can be beneficial to some degree simply for index inclusion, especially if you're using a lot of PLR or syndicated content, for example running autoblogs or article directories that get a ton of duplicate content pulled into them.
     
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  8. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    Interesting perspectives on the matter.

    My question is, how true can that be...that google doesn't take any notice of keywords as they suggest but yet their entire search engine and adwords/adsense system depends on them for their very existance?

    If keywords aren't monitored as they claim, how would natural search work, as keywords are drawn from the title, keyword and description tags to classify them for what terms they infact come up under?

    Proof of this being the case is in everytime you set a keyword for a site in these tags that " don't matter ", and have them appear in the search results.

    Same thing for adsense and adwords. IF they didn't monitor and crawl these elements for the basis of where to categorize their sites and ad posts, there would be no search engine to post them in from jumpstreet.

    Furthermore, the content represented within the pages themselves are recognized and categorized within the same formulated system.

    Not saying you are right or wrong, just discussing the other side of the coin here, as it has ALWAYS been my experience that meta tags may change in their purpose but none the less, always have a role in seo and that will never change due to the fact that keywords and every search engine's catalog system uses them as their BASE filing point.

    I do understand and completely agree with the point that they aren't going to help your page rank outside of the small factor of authority recognition a site gets based on their target audience, ( again, based on the niche targeted by the keywords selected and used ), for upping pr. However, on that same token, they do have there concrete place in seo and website search engine ranking within natural search for positioning in the natural search results and where you are found by your traffic.

    So, to say they don't matter, count or should/shouldn't be used is an ill-advised claim to make and suggest to people that may not understand the complex nature of what seo is and does.

    It isn't that clearly stated, because of that simple fact in itself...what may not serve the absolute purpose in everything doesn't mean it should be overlooked and cut out, when the select fewer purposes it does pose great proven effectiveness for are so important to the success of the entire process.

    Food for thought.
     
  9. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    Well I never said keywords aren't important. They are probably the most important SEO that can be done on your whole page. What I'm saying is that if you're going to stress over keywords, you should be more concerned with figuring out how to get them into the body of your page, because that is where they carry the most weight.

    What got me to looking into this was because of a page I set up for one of my photographer friends that doesn't really have a lot of textual content. It indexed ok for the few keywords that were in the text, but that was it. No matter what else we packed into the metatag, it didn't seem to help in being indexed for the keywords we wanted until we broke down and added more text to the page. It detracted from the style of his page, but it was the only thing that helped.

    Until recently I made sure to always load my keywords meta tag with everything I could think of that was relevant but hard to fit into the content. What I noticed though is that when I looked at what people searched for to find my site, it is much more common for it to be something in my content that wasn't in my metatag, than it is for keywords in my metatags that aren't in my content. Once I started dealing with a page in which we had to rely on the metatag, and getting no results it became even more obvious. It was enough to get me searching for more information.

    As I said in the original post, I still use the metatags myself. After all google may be the king, but it isn't the only SE out there. If there's a chance it will help at all you might as well include it. I just choose a good relevant list of keywords and put them in the tag. Even if google doesn't use them for ranking or indexing on its main search engine, there are others that make use of them. It is also a handy place to keep track of the words your targeting on each page for yourself if nothing else. I also use a lot of metatags that aren't even there for the SEs, (things like a favicon just because, facebook image_src for the bookmarking sites, robots, copyright, author, etc) but none of that helps with indexing.

    My point is that it isn't something to stress over, when there are much more important things to concentrate on. Just think of what the keywords your targeting for are, throw the list in the meta tag, and then move on to making sure you're using those same keywords throughout the page where ever possible.

    As far as adwords is concerned, google very well may use them for choosing relevant ads on adsense sites. But the same thing still applies, put the tags your targeting in and then move on to more important things. I have adsense on a couple of blogs, and the ads on each article in the blog always seem much more relevant to the content of the article, regardless of whether the content matches up with the keywords in the metatag on that page. On my sites with static pages that have adsense, the keywords in my metatags are pretty much in line with the content of the page, but I've also tried a few pages without a keywords metatag at all and still got indexed for the keywords in the content and the ones with adsense still show ads relevant to the keywords in my content.

    I guarantee that some of the other members posting on this page are making a lot more money than I do, and have much more experience. For anyone following this thread, I'd say if you're going to just listen to someone then you'd be better off taking the advice of more seasoned veterans of IM before taking my advice.

    My guess is that they probably have their targeted keywords working for them throughout the content of their pages, and using the same targeted words in their metatags.

    The main point I'm making though is simply not to stress over the metatags. Go ahead and use them, because why not. Put good keywords in them, because whats the point if you don't. But don't stress over it. Just put the keywords in the tag, and then get to work making sure they are in the body of your page as well.

    I posted a few links in the first post. Those aren't even close to the only pages giving the same information, but they're the closest ones to the horses mouth, two of them are directly from google regarding the subject. My suggestion is to give those articles a read because they have a lot more detailed information and explanations than what's posted in this thread.
     
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  10. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    Yeah, I understand your point of view and have read the articles you posted and follow countless others as well, all the time, keeping tabs on the industry changes. Furthermore, I respect your purpose of the thread, which is to grab people's attention about working the content and stop sweating the specific keywords they use in their meta tags, as it is the keyword -associated content that is pushing the site forward in rank. I got that without a hitch.

    Just looking at it from the standing that keywords though, being in the meta tags ( primarily ), are the foundation of google's whole business in the search engine industry. To know they keep teaching/spreading that hypocritical information, which is the farthest from the truth of what they actually do is typical corporate press thinking.

    It is like saying Coke isn't interested in soda as their primary product and telling people not to drink it and expecting to stay in business...it is just strange.

    See my point?
     
  11. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    Yeah I get your point as well, which is of course why I don't suggest anyone stop using keywords. Just keep them in perspective.

    Doing some good keyword research it where the importance lies, once they've done that then placing them in the metatag is the simple part. Making them gain more weight by using them throughout the page, and also using them properly when making your backlinks. There are many things that need to be done with keywords, the simplest is filling in the metatag. The rest of it is what takes more thought.