Do you remember, back in the day (tho only a few years back really) there were “Meta Keywords” in website code? Was up there with Meta Description and other such ‘hidden from the user’ terms.
We say “hidden”, but the Title Tag is in fact seen in the browser tab.
The Meta Keywords was words you’d put in the code for Google (and others) to pick up, as the keywords of the given page, but it kind of went, and Google stopped using it. There are a number of thoughts around this, but generally it is because the Keywords are picked up naturally from the content “on the page”, rather than hidden away.
There was a time when you might see a thin scrolling box in the footer of a page, that had a ton of keywords, and it was scrolling so it was 100s of them. Many sites back then used this method, including ‘adult’ content websites, with all their terms stuffed in there.
This was soon outlawed, and just the Paragraph, Header and Image content was soon used. So the keywords are based on the content on the page – rather than what is hidden away.
If you want to read a great article on this, direct from Google, click here: https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2009/09/google-does-not-use-keywords-meta-tag.
Why talk about Meta Keywords now?
The reason we are talking about this is because we have had a few clients (and non’s) contact us asking why they are missing from pages. As the enquiries came in, we decided to write this, to let people know (here comes the Caps), NOT TO PANIC. It’s not something that’s gone missing, or a bad update, or Yoast or Rank Math gone badly wrong. There is simply no such thing as “Meta Keywords” in that way anymore:
<meta name="keywords" content="seo, search engine optimization"/>
This is kind of what it use to look like in the source code. People are forgiven for asking about it, as they expect it. We were asked by someone “I searched for the keywords and couldn’t find them”, and we thought, but they are there. But when they expected they searched for the word ‘keywords’, that’s when we realised the issue – or non-issue they were raising.
Meta Keywords – is it still something I need?
Meta Keywords is still “a thing”, but indirectly. They are keywords you place in metas, such as the Title Tag or Meta Description (wonder if that’s staying too…!), but Google decides what it uses. You can’t force it to use anything – even the Title Tag is not always what come in the results.
Take your images – are you telling Search Crawlers what they are? There are ways to do this, and to really nail it. If you have a lot of images, such as on a shop, this can take some considerably time to optimise, but it is all part of Meta Keywords.
If you are unsure if your website as keywords in place, or you feel you have ‘old’ coding that still has “meta keywords”, get in touch with us, let’s look at your SEO, or if it is WordPress, we can provide our WordPress Developer services, from here in Lincolnshire.