What Are Meta Keywords Tags?

What are meta keywords? What is the meta keywords tag?

Though meta keywords tags are not a major factor search engines consider when ranking sites, they should not be left off the page. Both the meta keywords tag and the meta description tag contribute to your search engine ranking. A meta keywords tag is supposed to be a brief and concise list of the most important themes of your page. The meta keywords tag takes the following form:

When you write a meta keywords list, start by scanning the copy on your page. Make a list of the most important terms you see on the page. Then read through the list. Pick the 10 or 15 terms that most accurately describe the content of the page. If you can’t narrow your keyword list down to 10-15 keywords, then the content on your page may be rambling to far. Because of the hyper-competitiveness of the current search engine placement landscape, pages need to be very focused on one or two specific keyword phrases in order to have a chance to get a top ten placement. For example, a page about northern Michigan apples and central Florida oranges doesn’t have much of a chance to win for either “northern Michigan apples” or “central Florida oranges.” To have any chance to win, you need to have one page about northern Michigan apples and one page about central Florida oranges.

Another example: If your page is a list of exercise or fitness tips, and on the page you list tips for things to do before, during, and after a workout, then you need to think to yourself, “what 10 or 15 words or phrases is this page MOST about?” Just because your page mentions dieting in the text doesn’t mean that the page is about dieting. If you want to win for dieting, then create a page about dieting. The ultimate example of a page which is focused and ready for search engine optimization is a page from an encyclopedia. Each page is brief, focused, and has just one theme.

Search engine optimization and the meta keywords tag.

Long ago in Internet time, the meta keywords tag was very useful in helping pages to win on search engines. Unfortunately, so many unscrupulous webmasters have abused the meta keywords tag that search engines have had to de-emphasize their importance. Still, you should not leave the meta keywords tag off your pages.

Meta keywords tags should adhere to the following guidelines: (1) keep your list of keywords or keyword phrases down to 10 – 15 unique words or phrases; (2) separate the words or phrases using a comma (you do not need to leave a space between words separated by commas); (3) do not repeat words or phrases; (4) put your most important word or phrases at the beginning of your list.

To learn more about meta tags in general, visit What are meta tags?

For more technical information about meta tags, visit The global structure of an HTML document – W3C Recommendation. Also see Performance, Implementation, and Design Notes – W3C Recommendation.

Use our free Meta Tag Generator to build meta tags for your site. If you’ve already created your meta tags, use our free SEO Analyzer to check them.