The keywords tag is a primary Meta tag in HTML. It is a list of important keywords relevant to the subject and purpose of a web page. These keywords are supposed to attract search engine spiders. For a long time, web designers from all over the world considered the keywords Meta tag to be an important part of the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) process. They thought that Google and other search engines like Yahoo, Ask, Msn, Bing, etc ranked websites according to the keywords tag.
Google however, has tried to clear the confusion related to keywords meta tag. It has openly stated the web search portal does not base its ranking on these tags. According to Google’s Search Quality Team member – Matt Cutts, Google’s web search completely disregards the keywords tags in web pages. Moreover, it has been doing so for a long time. Presently the keywords tags do not affect the rankings.
The reason for this ignorance towards keywords meta tags is the abuse of this tag. Almost ten years ago, there was no such thing as ‘Off-page optimization’. Off-page optimization refers to gaining a number of backlinks (links pointing to a webpage) for a website. Google used the content and other meta tags like ‘description’, ‘keywords’, etc. to rank pages. When the web designers came to know the importance of these tags, they used irrelevant keywords and phrases in them in order to rank high. The overuse of keywords led to confusion among visitors. Then only did Google decide to overlook the keywords meta tag.
On the other hand, Google also admits that it does not ignore every meta tag. It tracks the description meta tag to collect information about the web page. It uses them as a source of text for the snippets in the search result. According to Google, meta tags often carry the most important part of the information in the page.
Google is not sure whether it will be using the keywords meta tags in future or not. According to the spokesperson, they have not yet decided about it. They find no reason to change their policy of overlooking the keywords tag.
It is very important for a web designer who is concerned about Search Engine Optimization to work on the content of the web page. He must concentrate on including the important keywords in the content rather than the keywords meta tag. However, most designers believe that keywords tags help other online application and blogs to identify the webpage. Thus, a designer should use it as an informative tool rather than a SEO tool.
In this modern era of web design, the keywords meta tag has lost most of its value. Google, the most visited website and the biggest search portal in the world, ignores it. Therefore, most web designers have given up the use of this tag.