How to Tap into the KEYWORDS Meta Tag

The KEYWORDS meta tag was originally created as an indexing tool — that is, a way for the page author to tell search engines what the page is about by listing (yep) keywords. Although quite important many years past, this meta tag isn’t so important these days. Some search engines may use it, but many don’t, and even those that do use it don’t give it much value.

(Google and Bing almost certainly don’t use it. Ask.com may, but again, it doesn’t give it much weight.) Still, you might as well include the KEYWORDS meta tag. You do have a list of keywords, after all.

Don’t worry too much about the tag — it’s not worth spending a lot of time over. Here are a few points to consider, though:

  • Limit the tag to 10 to 12 words. Originally, the KEYWORDS tag could be very large, up to 1,000 characters. These days, many search engine observers are wary of appearing to be spamming search engines by stuffing keywords into any page component, so these observers recommend that you use short KEYWORDS tags.

  • You can separate each keyword with a comma and a space. However, you don’t have to use both — you can have a comma and no space, or a space and no comma.

  • Make sure that most of the keywords in the tag are also in the body text. If they aren’t, the tag probably won’t do you any good. Many people also use the KEYWORDS tag as a good place to stuff spelling mistakes that are commonly searched.

  • Don’t use a lot of repetition. You shouldn’t do this, for instance: Rodent Racing, Rodent Racing, Rodent Racing, Rodent Racing, Rodent Racing, Rodent Racing, or even Rodent Racing, Rodent Racing Scores, Rodent Racing, Gerbils, Rodent Racing Scores, Rodent Racing. . . .

  • Don’t use the same KEYWORD tag in all your pages. You can create a primary tag to use in your first page and then copy it to other pages and move terms around in the tag.

Here’s an example of a well-constructed KEYWORD tag:

<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="rodent racing, racing rodents, gerbils,
 mice, mouse, raceing, mouse, rodent races, rat races, mouse races, stoat,
 stoat racing">
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