There are three schools of thought concerning the Meta keyword tag for SEO. The first school is blissfully ignorant that Google admitted back in 2009 they completely ignore the tag while charging on with their optimization ways. The second school of thought believes it’s a waste of time to touch the tag since Google, Yahoo and Bing don’t use it. The last school (where I fall) believes there are some creative uses for them which can be beneficial to a website's SEO. Below are five possible ways Meta keywords can still help your SEO:
For you prolific content marketers out there, seeing your posts syndicated on multiple websites across the Internet is quite common and can be a nice source of backlinks and referral traffic. As a matter of fact, this accounted for 11% of Kuno’s website traffic, 27% of leads and 11% of new customers in 2011. Many of these referring sites automate the syndication while others do it manually. The point is that several of them use Meta keywords as tags. More tags on a syndicated post equates to more pages on the domain with a backlink and more RSS feeds with backlinks contained in them.
2. Bookmark Tags, Q&A Sites
Over the years, many sites have emerged which use Meta keywords from links contained in user generated content (UGC) in order to tag the UGC. Some of these include bookmarking websites and Q&A websites.
3. SEO Automation
While some may consider this black hat or grey hat, many SEO practitioners automate parts of their link building campaigns. The software used to deploy these tactics can automatically pull Meta keywords from a page to use as tags or categories within a directory or website.
4. Reverse Psychology
Here’s where it gets fun – some SEO practitioners actually use Meta keywords as a slight-of-hand technique to fool other SEO practitioners as to what keyword phrases are targeted. While this technique wouldn’t work on the seasoned professional it may fool the SEO hobbyist by making it harder for them to do an SEO audit.
5. Librarians Among Us
Many SEO purists consider themselves Internet Librarians. Their job is to properly organize a website so to allow it to take its proper place on the bookshelf. In some respects, SEO can be considered the Dewey Decimal System of the Internet. The point is that as long as some website somewhere uses Meta keywords in order to organize web content it should never be ignored.
While it’s true Meta keywords do not directly affect how Google ranks a website, it certainly can have an indirect affect and shouldn’t be ignored. So, which school of thought do you subscribe to? Have you found other creative uses for Meta keywords? If so, please share. For additional help with SEO download our SEO Cheat Sheet and stay tuned for our soon to be published “The 2012 Marketer’s SEO Guide to Link Building.”