Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gone but not forgotten - Benefits of the Keyword Metatag

<keywords> Most search engines compare your meta keywords with what is actually on your page, and if it doesn't match, your web site can get penalized, and suffer in search results. Metatag keywords should have no more than 16 keywords. The limit is usually around 20-30 words. Maximum character length is actually 1000, but aim for less than 300, but really, given the negatives surrounding keywords, less is usually more.

Use plural variations (as the singular is included), comma space separate keywords, focus the design of the keywords around your primary 5 keywords and their variations... but again put the MOST important at the beginning of the list. Keyword PHRASES are important, and more realistic, as most people will search using 2 or 3 word combinations, rather than a single word!. Also determine keywords that searchers may use when looking for products or services that relate to your site. Use keywords that match the content within the page.

The Meta keywords were once the be all and end all of SEO. These days, the importance of the keyword tag has fallen drastically, as the ease with which it can be spammed has made it a less than perfect means for categorising pages. That said, Yahoo still uses the keywords tag, and as such it is still worth having, just not taking as much time over as was previously the case. In most cases, one keyword tag per site, or one per section, is usually more than adequate. The keywords tag should have terms separated by commas.

Keywords represent the key terms that someone might enter into a search engine. Choose only relevant keywords. If the terms are going to appear in your keywords tag, they must appear in the content of your site, or be a synonym to a term on your site. Most search engines compare your meta content with what is actually on your page, and if it doesn't match, your web site can get penalised, and suffer in search results.

The Keyword tag should include the keywords/phrases that you are targeting in order of importance. Start with the most important and then proceed to less important but still relevant keywords. It is extremely important that you do not repeat any word more than 3 times within the Keyword tag. This includes words within target sentences. Also do not place repeated keywords close together.

So even with the relative demise of this tag due to black hat spammy use, the benefits in a structural sense for organising your page and determining your focus should be enough to consider its use.