You must have written the answer to the following question somewhere, but I can't find it, nor do I recall it from recent issues of the High Rankings Advisor.
The question is: on your site, I see you add keywords only for your home page. Why no keywords -- just title and description -- on lower-level pages?
I realize you probably don't have time to answer, but thought I'd ask just in case. In any event, thanks for being the only listserv I actually look forward to reading and always learn from. If I didn't have the problem of eating chocolate as soon as it reaches my hands, I would send you some as a thank-you.
Don't worry about the chocolate. I've got a surplus at the moment!
The Meta keyword tag is given so little weight in the search engines these days (and most ignore it altogether) that it simply isn't worth my time to create them for my site.
In fact, Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Watch published an article this week stating that he no longer recommends creating Meta keyword tags.
For the most part, I agree that there's not much sense in creating Meta keyword tags, and I'm sick to death of questions about whether to use commas in them (it doesn't matter). However, I found that in some specialized circumstances the Meta keyword tag could help your page to be found in Inktomi- and Teoma-based engines. Here's a little story for you that illustrates how sometimes we can learn more when wearing our *searcher hat* than when we're wearing our *SEO hat*.
About a month ago, I was looking for a shower curtain similar to the one we've had for years. It was some funky kind of waterproof fabric made by DuPont called "Drylon." It appears that they stopped making them, and you can't find them in any stores. I wanted to see if there were any places to buy one online, and as usual, started my search at Google. I figured my best bet would be to search for "Drylon." Got a few results, but nothing much. So I figured I'd give AltaVista a spin, but again, nothing much came up. I then went to MSN (which is Inktomi-based) and got a whole bunch of different results than I had received at Google and AV.
When I visited one of the sites, I couldn't find the word Drylon anywhere -- but there it was in the Meta keyword tag. The page was for a company that manufactured all kinds of fabrics, including Drylon (apparently Drylon is used for socks now!). Teoma had most of the same pages Inktomi had. It appears that Teoma also reads Meta keyword tags, even though they claim that they don't. (At least they did at the time of my searches.)
I never did find a Drylon shower curtain (except one really ugly fish one), but I learned something about SEO. Instead of always telling people they should put only the words that are *already on the page* in this tag, it should really be the opposite. Put words that aren't on the page, like synonyms, common misspellings, etc. This is what the search engines used to tell us, and in fact, AltaVista still says it in their Webmaster FAQ.
"Use a meta tag with keywords to add synonyms for words you use on the page itself."
It was written when AV still looked at Meta tags, but it tells the same thing my Drylon searches told me.
Unfortunately, once Meta tags became spam magnets, we SEOs started telling people to only use words that were already on the page and no others. From what I discovered, that advice was actually wrong -- and in fact, probably useless!
I'm now shifting my position on this (and will eventually rewrite my Meta keyword article to reflect it). My new recommendation would be as follows:
For most sites and pages, don't waste your time creating a Meta keyword tag unless you feel like it. (I do it for clients' sites because they would think I wasn't doing my job if I didn't.) However, if you have a specialized site with some funky-techie words that might apply to the site (as was the case with Drylon), then put those words *once* in your Meta keyword tag. It's obviously not gonna help if there are a whole bunch of other sites with the words visibly on their pages. But for unusual stuff, the Meta keyword is still alive and well in a few engines.
Of course, all of this is moot unless people realize they can search
somewhere besides Google! But who knows...maybe if we all start using
the Meta keyword tag correctly, old GoogleGirl will start reading
them. Google did miss some relevant pages for Drylon, and therefore
forced me to look elsewhere. Food for thought if nothing else!
October 4, 2002
CEO and founder of High Rankings®, Jill Whalen has been performing search engine optimization since 1995 and is the host of the free High Rankings Advisor search engine marketing newsletter, author of "The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines" and founder/administrator of the popular High Rankings Search Engine Optimization Forum. In 2006, Jill co-founded SEMNE, a local search engine marketing networking organization for people and companies in New England.
High Rankings is an internationally recognized search engine optimization firm located in Framingham, MA specializing in search engine optimization, SEO consultations, in-house training, site audit reports, search marketing seminars and workshops. High Rankings has a 100% success rate for substantially improving client rankings and targeted traffic.
Jill speaks at national and international conferences and has been writing about SEO and search marketing since 2000. She's been quoted in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post. Her articles have appeared in numerous print magazines and online websites including CIO Magazine, CMS Focus, The Internet Marketing Report, ClickZ, WorkZ, Inc.com, Entrepreneur, Lycos Small Business, WebProNews, SiteProNews and others. Jill has also appeared on many online and offline radio programs such as Entrepreneur Magazine's E-Biz Radio Show, SearchEngineRadio and the eMarketing Talkshow.
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