What Are Meta Keywords and Should I Still Use Them?

Prior to joining WebFX as a writer, Maria was a marketing professional and editor for B2B and B2C publications. Her work has been featured on Top Gear Philippines. When she's not immersed in digital marketing and writing, she's out running, swimming, or playing with her dogs.

What are meta keywords? Found in the HTML source of a page, meta keywords are a type of meta tag that gives search engines more clues about a page’s content.

Meta keywords are not as popular as their other meta tag siblings like the meta description. You’re probably wondering: Do I need meta keywords to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs)?

This blog post will answer all your questions, including:

In a dynamic industry like digital marketing, it’s a good idea to stay updated about the latest changes, including whether you should still use meta keywords. Join over 200,000 marketers who receive the latest updates in their inbox by subscribing to our Revenue Weekly newsletter!

What are meta keywords?

Meta keywords are a type of meta tag that gives search engines more clues about a page’s content. For example, let’s say you are a dentist and you run a dental clinic in Spring, Texas. Your website’s homepage can have “dental clinic in Spring, Texas” as a meta keyword.

Like the title tag and meta description, meta keywords are found in the HTML source code of a page. They’re not visible to human users unless they view the page’s source code. Search engine crawlers, meanwhile, scan a page’s code, including the meta keyword and other tags, to learn more about the page’s content.

meta keywords example

Once upon a time, optimizing your website and its pages for search engines involved putting meta keywords in the HTML code. Back then, search engines would only examine a web page’s on-page content and rank it accordingly.

Meta keywords were a website owners’ way to tell search engines the context of their page. It didn’t take long for search engines to notice that meta keywords were spam magnets. Some website owners use black hat search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, one of which is stuffing the meta keyword tag with search terms they want to rank for.

Today, meta keywords don’t play as significant of a role in ranking websites in search results.

Does Google use meta keywords?

In 2009, Google published in a blog post that it has never used meta keywords as a ranking factor. The most popular search engine in the world found that the meta tag was often abused, so it disregarded the keywords meta tag as a ranking factor.

So, does Google use meta keywords to rank your website? No.

Are meta keywords still relevant in 2022?

With the most popular search engine giving meta keywords no value at all, you’re probably wondering: Do I need meta keywords? Are meta keywords still relevant today?

If you want your pages to rank for search, skip the meta keywords. There’s no need to spend time and effort on these meta tags, with Google admitting that it’s not a ranking factor.

Meta keywords, however, have other purposes. Some content management systems (CMS) have their internal site search still using meta keywords to deliver better results to site users. The bigger enterprise websites can also use meta keywords as an internal tagging tool.

Another way you can indirectly use these tags is by checking the meta keywords that your competitors use. Visit a competitor site’s homepage, and view the source code. The meta tags under keywords are likely their seed keywords.

competitor seed keywords meta tag

In this example, the meta keywords of the website are “seed keyword” and “competitor keyword.”

If your CMS and plug-ins don’t require you to use meta keywords for your site search, feel free to not include these meta tags. By doing so, you’re not revealing your seed keywords to your competitors.

Team up with an SEO partner you can rely on

Catching up with the latest SEO updates is crucial to your digital marketing strategy. Decades ago, meta keywords had some weight on your page ranking. Today, most SEOs no longer use them.

Our team of 500 digital marketing experts monitors the changes, so we can make necessary updates to deliver results and revenue to our clients. So if you’re looking for an SEO agency or a digital marketing partner that keeps your strategy current, look no further than WebFX.

Contact us online or call 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about our SEO services today!

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