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Are meta description tags important for SEO?


A heated debate was ignited on the SEOChat Forums concerning an experiment with meta tags. Rest assured, it does not provide one single conclusion for all the marketeres, however it gives some evidence that meta tags are not crucial, at least in cases where SEO is concerned.

SEO specialists use Meta Tags to determine the relevant keywords. They are squeezed in <head></head> tags, for example:

<meta name=”keywords” content=”digital services, seo, smm, website design, etc”/>

By clicking on a “view source” option from your browser (right mouse/touchpad click while you are on a website page) and looking at the code you can find the mentioned tag at the top that consists of keywords related to the page you are looking at.

In the bygone days of pre-Google search meta tag keywords were quite effective SEO tools. The combination with the keywords on a page presented the most important driver that determined whether a page would be shown at the top in SERPs. In those days the search engines were quite barbarian by in accordance with current standards. Frequently companies paid the major search engines to guarantee that their websites were found at the top of the results for certain keywords. Rest assured, Google changed the market radically but the past of meta tags still haunts some SEO specialists which can be traced in numerous articles in which it is stated that meta tag keywords are essential for webmasters. To be honest, it is a little bit outdated point of view.

Nowadays, meta tag keywords are believed far from essential by professional SEO specialists. They claim that if keywords are used improperly, they can even be damaging for SEO. There is a belief that meta keywords strongly resemble keyword stuffing, a dubious SEO method that referes to situations when webpages are overfilled with keywords. The hidden effect can be produced either with by programming or simply by mergin a text color with the background color. This technique is often criticized and if revealed can lead to website ban by search engines. Of course, meta keywords are not so fraudulent looking and harmful as keyword stuffing, but they are similar to it ibecause they are also far from naturally appear in the code of a page. That’s why search engines do not bestow much, if any value to them. Majority of the prominent engines disregard them completely.

If the case is so controversial, perhaps keywords stuffing is not worth at all and SEO specialists should avoid it?

Probably. It definitely should not be put on a SEO throne and if you have other, better SEO techniques to worry about, don’t waste time on your keywords. If you still want to use meta keywords, do not abuse them. The maximum number should be about 10 words, and make sure they are as relevant as possible to the webpage content. Less is more in this case.

Meta keywords are a heritage of web 1.0 that is gradually dying out. Some companies still linger getting rid of them altogether. However, your title tags, heading tags and content have a better and more important impact on your SEO success. If you have that much time which you are wasting by adding long lists of useless words thinking that this is SEO, you might as well write nice new articles that people can relate to and share with the friends.

March 17, 2015