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The Meta Keyword Tag - Does It Improve Search Engine Rankings?

Back in the early days of the web, the meta keywords tag was the holy grail of search engine optimization; simply stuff your meta keyword tags with keywords and watch your search engine rankings skyrocket. It was very easy to manipulate search engine results with meta tags and led to terrible search results, so naturally, search engines dramatically reduced the importance of this tag.

Beware of companies offering meta tag optimization

Any company that offers you a meta tag optimization service or tells you that meta tags are the key to improving your search engine rankings is out to make a quick buck. You should avoid all such companies.

While nowhere near as important as it once was, the keyword meta tag can help to improve search engine rankings in some search engines (Inktomi - owned by YAHOO! and currently supplies some search results on MSN, HotBot, Overture, and other smaller engines. In addition, careful use of the meta keywords tag can help to improve your internal site search engine if you have one.

Meta tags are easy to include in your site

The meta keywords tag is part of the head (not the header) of each web page and looks like this in HTML code:

<meta name="keywords" content="meta tags keyword meta tags keyword meta tag meta tag optimization search engine optimization increase web page rankings improve web page rankings meta tag meta tags keyword meta tags">

The part in blue represents your keywords, the part in red is the HTML code that tells the browser (Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer or Opera) that these are the keywords in the meta keywords tag.

It is good practice to include the meta keywords tag in each of your web pages. The meta keywords tag should reflect the content of the page; therefore each page should have different keywords in the meta keywords tag.

How to pick keywords for your meta tags

The keywords tag should only contain words and phrases contained in the visible copy of your web pages. The content of your keyword meta tags should be one long string of words and phrases taken from the copy of the web page; commas are not necessary between keywords. Between 5 and 25 words and phrases should be enough to cover all topics associated with a web page.

When you begin the optimization process, focus first on the copy of your web pages, title tags, headers, and link text and once you have those in place turn your focus to less important tags like the keyword meta tag.

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