WordPress SEO Tip: Forget The Meta Keywords Tag

WordPress SEO Tip: Forget The Meta Keywords Tag

If you’re looking at ways to improve the search engine ranking of your WordPress site, one consideration that you can safely forget about is the meta keywords tag.

The keywords tag can be included in the metadata of a HTML document, which provides information about your web page to browsers and search engines.

The meta keyword tag doesn't affect SEO

This is an example of the meta keywords tag, on a web page about low-fat burger recipes.

Used and abused

In the old days, back when the web was a dark and lawless place, search engines and web browsers relied much more heavily on meta tags than they do now.

Are meta keyword tags still important?
Once upon a time, keywords were king

In the mid-1990s, early search engines like AltaVista made heavy use of the meta keyword tag to rank and categorize web pages.

Webmasters saw this as a golden opportunity for keyword-stuffing and spam, and the keywords meta tag quickly became one of the most abused HTML elements of all time.

The result? Most search engines recognized the unreliability of the meta keywords tag, and slowly removed it from their ranking factors.

In terms of SEO, the meta keywords tag is dead and buried

This is the simple truth about the meta keyword tag today: Google and most other search engines pay no attention to it. For at least the last few years, but probably stretching back over a decade, Google has not considered the meta keywords tag in its search ranking algorithm.

Straight from the horse’s mouth: This is a video of Matt Cutts in 2009, explaining Google’s official position on the meta keywords tag. Matt is a senior engineer at Google and the head of their Webspam team, so if he tells you something about SEO it’s most likely the truth.

If anyone tells you that the meta keywords tag is still important to your SERP rankings, you should have serious reservations about that person’s SEO credibility.

Meta keywords for WordPress? Don’t bother

A standard WordPress installation doesn’t include the meta keywords tag – you have to add it yourself. Unless you have a specific reason for using meta keywords on your site, you’re better off leaving them out.

Meta keywords carry no SEO value at all, and bloating your WordPress site with unnecessary code will only slow down your page loading times.

If you want to learn more about how keywords relate to your SEO, we’ve got a couple of articles here and here that should point you in the right direction.

Thanks to Mia for the feature picture.