The Keyword is ‘Keyword’
If you’ve done any SEO, you know it’s all about keywords. Once you establish what your site is about, you do keyword research, keeping an eye out for low competition, high traffic keywords you can take advantage of. Then, you implement your keywords throughout your site, trying to fit them organically into the content of the page as well as in the meta tags.
Writing or editing content to include keywords can be tricky. Overloading a page with keywords is dangerous, however, as it might be considered spamming. This is dangerous because it can result in a penalty to your ranking.
Abused and Misunderstood
Then there’s the ‘keywords’ meta tag. If you don’t know its history, then it probably seems like an essential meta tag. The truth about the keywords meta tag is that it’s not only deprecated, but using it can actually benefit your competition. All you really need to know to be justified in rejecting this tag is that Google doesn’t support it. When the keywords meta tag was used by search engines, it was abused by crafty marketers who stuffed it with unrelated (but popular) search terms to boost the rank of the site. It’s clear why a meta tag that allowed the manipulation of search engines had to go.
It’s Harmless, Isn’t It?
You aren’t penalized by Google for using the keywords meta tag. However, you are essentially giving away your keyword research to other people who are doing SEO for a competing site. Right-click and view source – that’s all they have to do. Of course, if someone really wants to figure out what keywords have been used on a site, they can go through each page and read through all of the copy and meta tags. The difference is that using the keywords meta tag makes it so easy to copy that they won’t be able to resist.