It’s been 9 years since we learned that the keyword meta tag would no longer be used as a ranking signal.  That being said, there is still a lot of disagreement on whether to use this meta tag or not.

Here’s my opinion … if you’re going to use the tag don’t just stuff it full of keywords like it’s 2005. If you’re going to use it, use “related keywords to the phrase for which you’re optimizing”.  When you do a search for the keyword for which you’d like to optimize your page, you’ll see that Google will bold a lot of the results. These are your “related keywords” Here’s an example. Say I want to optimize a page for “apartments in city st” Google will typically bold the phrases “city apartment”, “apartments in city”, “apartment in city st”. These are the phrases I put in the keyword meta tag on my pages.

When your page is compared to your competition, your keyword usage is compared to theirs and if you are using more keyword phrases than your competition you’re in danger of over optimizing and will be rewarded with a lower position in the SERPs as a reward. Conversely, it’s been my experience that keeping my usage “just above” the competion, I will be rewarded with a higher position.

As I said, there is still a lot of controversy regarding the use of this tag. Here are some recent articles with opinions that both agree and disagree with mine.

SEO Coding Best Practices: Common Sense Prevails for META Keywords and SSL

We continuously find top sites using META keywords, despite all the outrage against doing so This includes YouTube, which Google acquired in 2006

The Truth About Metadata

Does Metadata matter Learn if metadata is an important seo factor and smart marketing tactic to drive traffic to How to Use Keywords in HTMLyour site or is it a misconception

How to Use Keywords in HTML

Learn how to use HTML keywords in the meta tags in your website design for search engine optimization Also learn what practices to avoid with SEO

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