What Are Meta Tags and Are They Still Important?


Do People Still Use Meta Tags?

Meta keywords might seem a bit antiquated at this point. In fact, Google hasn't used meta keywords to rank pages for over ten years. Matt Cutts, the former head of the Webspam Team over at Google, put out a video in 2009 saying that they did not use meta keywords in search rankings. According to a 2020 poll from Bill Slawski, many SEO professionals refrain from using the meta keywords tag at all. What many people don't realize is that SEO goes far beyond Google.

Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider making use of meta keywords.


1. Yandex Might Still Use It

Yandex, the largest Internet search engine in Russia, as well as a company that has a similar market share to Google in Russia, has official documentation that explicitly states meta keywords “Can be used when determining the page’s relevance to search queries.” So does this mean that meta keywords hold serious weight in Yandex searches? Not necessarily.

2. Some Internal Site Searches Still Use It

When it comes to internal site searches with CMS, meta keywords are pretty much dead. However, some search systems still make use of them, including Algolia, SOLR, and elasticsearch. You might still need to make use of the keywords meta tag if you use any of these platforms to power your internal search system.



3. Find Seed Keywords From the Competition

A recent Twitter poll from Bill Slawski shows that only 15% of SEO professionals currently make use of the keywords meta tag. Many people have never considered the fact that they can come in handy for finding seed keywords with the proper research, as many of these SEO professionals are likely competition. Head on over to your competitor's homepage and look for the keywords meta tag. A meta tag for a popular toy store's homepage might read "toys, pre-school, inflatables, games, etc." If you own a toy store and you are looking to compete, you can paste any of these relevant keywords into a research tool like Ahrefs Keyword Explorer. Tools like this can help you to discover thousands if not millions of ideas for keywords that you could use, complete with SEO metrics and search volumes.


Bottom Line

For the majority of people, the meta keywords tag is a lost cause. However, if you are using it for an internal site search or an internal keyword tagging system, there is still some value in utilizing it. There are other meta tags, however, including your meta description and title, which you should provide with more of your attention.

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