Why SEOs Should Use the Meta Keywords Tag On Their Homepage

Should the MarketingSherpa's guide to landing pages use an effective landing page? Should a company touting the value of statistics use statistically relevant datasets?

Every day someone is getting called out for being a liar, a thief, or a charlatan douchebag. You can't track it all, but simply following your own guidelines and ideals lessens the odds that people will wrongfully call you out.

A few years back a friend of mine bolded one of the keywords in the content on the homepage of his SEO services site, and I told him I thought it made his homepage look slightly worse. He then replied "perhaps, but it looks optimized". That line of thinking made sense to me.

Published: November 14, 2007 by Aaron Wall in marketing


November 14, 2007 - 12:15pm

Tagging keywords, and optimizing with "tagging" in mind is really the SEO of the future. As the Internet draws closer and closer to the "semantic web", it's going to be critical that tagging is implemented.

Isn't "tagging" really just another way to identify, or carve out verticals? And in all this carving, we are helping search engines in categorizing the web, and in turn, algorithms will be derived that can start to make sense of all this clustering of tags.

Tagging is not only important, but it will, in my opinion, become the most (if it's not already) important element in SEO. I say this because not only tagging keyphrases within the content is important, but structuring your meta-data so as to be consistent with your tagged keyphrases will give any webpage a substantial amount of potential in relevance.

However, since we don't have a semantic web, it's still CRITICAL to build authoritative inbound links with proper anchor text... in short, the tagging mindset is critical, especially as we approach the age of the semantic web.

Awesome post Aaron, and clearly you're in touch with the future of the web.

November 14, 2007 - 12:49pm

I believe the meta keywords should continue being used because they are a part of the most basic metadata in the web, and only because the major search engines ignore them it doesn't mean that they will not be important again in the future. A portable and usable website should continue using Meta Keywords.

November 14, 2007 - 4:22pm


You are absolutely correct. I believe that currently the most effective SEO variable, with the exception of authoritative inbound links, is the tag. I've seen carry content straight to the top of Google in a matter of days, and it's suicide to not properly optimize the .

However, look at the in a "tagging" perspective. You're in essence starting the tagging process in the , and from there, the crawlers can expand the tagging relationship as it moves into content, and then into the linking portfolio.

November 14, 2007 - 5:31pm

if you agree with scott that "...their landing page SUCKS" what is the worst mistake marketingsherpa has committed on the landing page?

"following your own guidelines and ideals lessens the odds that people will wrongfully call you out."

reminds of something shoemoney just said in his advice to bloggers post about "be yourself" and don't try to misrepresent yourself as someone more skilled than you are.

solid advice all around

November 15, 2007 - 1:24am

I guess I wasn't trying to say I agreed with anything specifically...I was simply pointing out examples of people getting called out for not eating their own dogfood.

I don't use meta keywords tags on most of my pages, but on the homepage of a site selling SEO services I probably would just so it did not look missing. Your potential customers are not only the people in the know, but also those who do not know, and that is why they need help.

Looking the part and following your own advice is a big piece of selling.

November 14, 2007 - 10:01pm

I always dislike seeing SEOs promoting the simple things like 'meta keywords' without proper explanation of its current value. It's an easy sell; there's a lot of (old) evidence on the web to use as a defense for the pitch, and clients otherwise don't know better. I see it with the deep recommendations for URL structures, header tags, and code optimization. They are things that absolutely have weight, but they're pitched extremely heavily and absolute, yet tend to be practiced much lighter by the SEO.

Sometimes it's more important to explain the depth of the recommendation if you're really going to offer a value. Pitch it in line with the real value it brings.

November 14, 2007 - 11:12pm

I always use the Meta Keywords tag simply because old habits are hard to break. But SEs like Yahoo do use the KW tag to rank sites, so I guess it's still relevant to a degree. But I do have to say that it frustrates the hell out of me when I'm reviewing a website and see irrelevant keywords in the KW tag. Like one-word keywords (ex: books, shopping, clothing). Regardless of where the keyword is placed, whether it be in the KW tag or in the body copy, keywords should be longer than just one word. Otherwise, they're just taking up space without serving a purpose. That's just my opinion.

November 15, 2007 - 5:30am

Aaron, I agree with seoscale on the tagging mindset. Also, since the tag is still used by one of the mayor search engines, it remains useful. Not the strongest tag maybe, but one that still counts, and it should be part of the overall optimization.

Bob Gladstein
November 15, 2007 - 10:16pm

I don't use meta keywords tags on most of my pages, but on the homepage of a site selling SEO services I probably would just so it did not look missing.

That's exactly why I don't use it. I tell my clients it's superfluous, so I don't want them coming back to ask me why I'm using it.

And if people ask me why it's missing, it just gives me an opportunity to tell them that it's unnecessary.

Marios Alexandrou
November 16, 2007 - 1:00am

Back in October I called out a few SEO companies that seemed to have forgotten to optimize their own sites. Then there are others like the iProspect folks that treat their site as if it were a client's. Makes sense to me.

Hope you don't mind the link...


November 26, 2007 - 1:40am

Although worthless to Google, clients still get a boner over meta tags no matter what you tell them.

February 3, 2009 - 1:01am

I read all these posts and try to figure out what I am supposed to do when I have a developer who doesn't seem to take seo into consideration. I have been told I should use anchor text to include all the content I want on one page, but then I discovered anchor text isn't seo friendly...or there are two kinds. Still not clear on that. I was then told to use scroll pages within my site so all of my content could be included. Only to find scroll pages aren't seo compatible either. So, what does one with an ecomm site do to include all the "content" customers want? How can you be an authority and sell on the same site? How do you get a developer to understand this or how do I know if it is being built in an optimized fashion? Do I wait until the site is finished and then pay someone else to tell me i wasted my money? It seems liek there is no end...and all the seo guys are so expensive no one I know in small biz can afford it. UUUURrrrgggggghhhh!
If you want to see my terrible, but hopefully improving site or can offer assistance, Wondercide.com

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