Meta Key phrases: What Are They And Ought to You Use Them?

Meta keywords are meta tags that you can use to give search engines more information about the content of a page. You are on a website HTML Source code and are not visible to visitors.

Here is an example of a meta keyword tag:

In most website builders and it is easy to add meta keywords CMS"But should you bother?

Do you still need to use meta keywords?

Google hasn't used the meta keyword tag to rate web pages in at least a decade. We know this because Matt Cutts, Google's former head of the webspam team, posted a video in 2009 in which he said:

(…) We do not use the keyword meta tag in our search ranking

Fast forward to 2020 and most according to a recent Twitter poll by Bill Slawski SEO Professionals no longer use the meta keyword tag.

Are you still using meta keyword tags on pages you are optimizing? – Bill Slawski @ (@bill_slawski) May 29, 2020

However, it is important to remember that there is still more to be done SEO So there are several reasons you might want to keep using the Keyword Meta Tag.

1. It can still be used by Yandex

Yandex is the largest Russian search engine on the Internet with a market share roughly equivalent to that of Google in Russia. The official documentation states that meta keywords "can be used to determine the relevance of the page to search queries."

Does this mean that meta keywords are a proven ranking factor in Yandex searches? No. However, since this page has only been online since late 2018, the information is likely still accurate.

Even so, as one person mentioned on Twitter, it's likely a light weight factor.

"Officially, “they say they still do, but I think that is a very small weight factor, even for яндекс. This is the consensus among most of us who have done this SEO in Russian 🙂https: //— orun bhuiyan (@orvn) May 29, 2020

If you're curious about other search engines, it looks like none of the top search engines use meta keywords:


In 2014, Bing stated in a blog post that the meta keyword tag was “dead in relation to SEO Worth. ”This was effectively confirmed in 2020 when Bing's evangelism leader tweeted the same thing.

The meta keyword tag is dead in terms of SEO Value for @BingWMC. We exclude it and ignore it. @CoperniX @ facan – Christi Olson (@ChristiJOlson) May 29, 2020

However, in 2011, Bing indicated that it could be used as a spam signal to identify low quality pages. It is not known if this is still the case, but it is definitely not a ranking factor.


In 2012, a Baidu engineer told his webmaster community that "Meta keywords have long been in the garbage heap of history and we will ignore them outright."


According to Wikipedia, Naver handles 74.7% of all web searches in South Korea. Even if we could not find a final statement about the use of the meta keyword tag, meta keywords are not mentioned in the extensive documentation for optimizing your website.

Given this, we can assume that it is either not used or that it is a very small weight factor.

2. It is used for some internal site searches

Most popular CMSDon't use the meta keyword tag for internal website searches, but some internal search systems can, including SOLR, Algolia and those based on Elasticsearch.

If any of these options support your internal search, you may need to use the keyword meta tag.

Other use cases for meta keywords

You've probably realized by now that most users don't need to use the keyword meta tag, but there are a few things you can use it for.

1. Create an internal tagging system

Lots CMS’And website builders make it easy to add meta keywords to pages, as do many free versions of WordPress SEO Plugins. This makes it easy for you to use the tag for an internal keyword tagging system. Just set the tag as the target keyword on each page.

For example, if our page's target keyword is "SEO Tips "it would look like this:

If you do this on every page, it will be easy to see if you have already selected a keyword in the future. Just crawl your site with an auditing tool like Ahrefs' Site Audit and then use it Page explorer to search for pages with your keyword in the meta keyword tag.

There are three reasons this can be useful:

  1. Prevent keyword cannibalization. With keyword cannibalization, a website targets multiple pages for the same keyword. This can lead to all sorts of problems, such as: B. to unwanted pages that are superior to the desired pages.
  2. Avoid overlapping work. If you work in the company SEOThere are probably a lot of people and teams working on similar things. An internal keyword tagging system prevents multiple teams from targeting the same keyword.
  3. Find ways to work together. If you find that you are not ranking well for one of your keywords, you may want to work with another team to improve and update your content.

All you need to know is that there is a potential downside to using the meta keyword tag for this purpose, which we will talk about in the next section.

2. Find "Seed" keywords from competitors

The latest Twitter poll by Bill Slawski shows that around 33% of people still use the meta tag for keywords. Since some of these people will undoubtedly be your competitors, this can be very useful for looking for "starting keywords" when doing keyword research. Just search for the keyword meta tag on your competitor's homepage.

For example, here is the keyword meta tag for a popular toy store's homepage:

2 meta keywords homepage

It has a number of keywords related to toys like toys, climbing accessories, jungle gyms, games, inflatables, preschool, sandboxes, slides, etc.

Paste all relevant into a keyword research tool like Ahrefs' Keyword Explorer and select a report of keyword ideas. You will find thousands or even millions of keyword ideas – including estimated monthly search volume and SEO Metrics.

3 meta keywords seeds

You can use the built-in filters to narrow your search.

For example, this is where you will find all the keywords for hand puppets with low keyword difficulty values.

4 keyword research filters

All you need to know is that you may need to check out some websites before finding any useful startup keywords as many junk their keyword meta tags or leave them blank.

How to Remove Meta Keywords

Since you can use the meta keywords to spy on your competitors' keywords, they can do it for you too. Because of this, you may want to remove any remaining meta keywords from your website unless you have a legitimate reason to use them.

But first you have to find them …

You can do this for free using Ahrefs Webmaster Tools. Just log in, crawl your website with Ahrefs' Site Audit and use those filters in Page explorer::

5 meta keywords site audit

You will see a list of all the pages on your website with a meta keyword tag.

6 pages of meta keywords

If there are no results, there are no pages with the tag.

From there, all you have to do is go through the tags and remove them from any offensive pages.

All you need to know is that if you have a large website with keywords meta tags on every page, it probably doesn't make sense. However, if you are seeing the same meta keywords across all pages, it is likely that they are being pulled from somewhere in yours CMS or template / theme. In that case, you can probably remove it from all pages by editing just one code.

It should be noted, however, that meta keyword tags are unlikely to be negative on your website SEO A hit. Unless you are overly concerned about competitors "stealing" your keywords, your time is likely to be better spent elsewhere.

Final thoughts

For 99.9% of people, the meta keyword tag is useless and filling it in is a waste of time. You should only use it if you have a specific reason to do so, such as: B. for an internal keyword tagging system or an internal site search.

Other meta tags such as your title and meta description deserve more attention.

Do You Have Questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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