Can we talk about Meta Tags?


SwitchBack

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Hello Group!

Meta Tags.

As we know, it's been "recommended" that the Meta Tag not be used anymore on our websites....

I do understand why.

Meta Tag keyword stuffing was highly abused and it used to be where the seo competition and the ranking battle was fought.

Times have changed.

I do understand why discontinuing the use of Meta Tag was a "suggestion" was brought out.

Google wants rich content, quality informative web pages for the customers and society... It think that is a good thing.

My question is: has anyone ran a recent experiment on Meta Tags?

I did a bunch of web searches for the subject, pulled up a lot of information and read what a Google exec said on the subject.

After all that reading, I sat back and pondered on all the older websites that still use a meta Tag.

Would they be penalized?

I can't see the sites being de-indexed.

The big question?

Is it going to hurt you to throw just a few Meta Tags, don't stuff them, just a few relevant Tags on a website?

Reading over the statement from Google, it said the tags would not be used but it also didn't say it was turning into a penalty.

It was a suggestion.

I'm curious if the group has any insight on if Meta Tags are harmful or just not worth the time to do it if it's not earning any juice.

Thanks.
 

Colan Nielsen

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Hey @SwitchBack are you specifically referring to the meta keywords tag? We haven't done any testing around it so I can't confirm or deny it's overall impact. Google has stated that they ignore it but I wouldn't say for certain without some good testing.
 
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@SwitchBack Meta tags support a number of different values. See W3schools.com for details. While <meta name="keywords"> probably has no value (Google claims to ignore it), don't discount <meta name="description">.

The description often appears in the SERPs (organic). If you end up in the SERPs, that's your opportunity to encourage a searcher to click through to your site. That's CRITICAL! (Showing up in the SERPs has no value if no one clicks your link.) So make sure your description is compelling! Write it with your potential customers in mind.

Also, if your appearance in the SERPs generates lots of clicks, that can cause you to move up in the rankings. So from that perspective, the description has an indirect impact on SEO.

Finally, I wrote that the description "often" appears in the SERPs because, sometimes, Google automatically generates a description from content on your page instead of using your <meta>. (The implication here is that you should also include some compelling, description-worthy copy in the body of your page.)
 

SwitchBack

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Hey @SwitchBack are you specifically referring to the meta keywords tag? We haven't done any testing around it so I can't confirm or deny it's overall impact. Google has stated that they ignore it but I wouldn't say for certain without some good testing.

Merry Christmas @Colan Nielsen
Yes, I was referring to unofficial meta keyword testing.

Although the "suggestion" to not use meta keywords is valid and promotes a content rich web environment, I could not help but ponder on one simple fact. Until that suggestion was made, it would be fair to say that 80% of all websites used meta keywords.

I see the reasoning for the suggestion to discontinue the use of meta tag
I was wondering if a developer had performed a meta "lab rat" test. I'm assuming that developers must deploy web test sites with very similar content, backlinks and then run experiments on what the crawler prefers and also discredits.
 

mborgelt

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Someone I respect told me a year ago that putting common misspellings in meta tags helped their rankings for those terms.
I would be wary of this information as Google's semantic indexing knows the correct word people are looking for and very few users override the auto-correct feature.

Also I can't imagine you could "optimize" the rest of the page for a misspelled word without keyword stuffing or having content that isn't necessarily useful.
 

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