SEO best practices – keyword meta tags

In this article we will look at the keywords meta tags. We will look at the importance of keywords, why the keywords tag is still relevant, and the 3 rules of thumb.

A reminder about what keywords meta tags are?

Meta Keywords are a list of comma-separated words included in the head section of a HTML web page. The chosen keywords describe the topic of that page. Meta Keywords tags are typically placed within the head section of the webpage and usually placed after title tag.

Example of a Keyword Search

When someone searches the Internet and types in a word or set of words, the search engine will look for instances of those words and then display the results. The words and or phrases that are typed in are keywords. See the example below.

“Chinese Take Away”, “Chinese Take Away Ashford”, or “Chinese Take Away in Ashford”

The importance of keywords

Keywords are important when building your website and optimizing it for the search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and many others.

Every page of your website should be geared to attract visitors who are searching for your business or similar. That said, you should build your website so that different pages are optimized for different keywords.

Your website home page isn’t the only page that can show up in the search results.
By having many pages with different keywords on each, you have many options for obtaining a position and getting displayed in the listings.   

The importance of using local keywords

In addition to your main keywords such as “Chinese Take Away”, you can attract visits from people who may be searching locally using a local search.

A mistake by business owners is that they think people will search for their business name. People who know you and your business may indeed do this, however if you include the name of the local town in which you are based, and if possible the county, you should be able to attract more visits from local searches.


If we return to the Chinese Take Away example. Regular customers may know about “Jasmine’s Chinese Take Away”, but if the website is optimized to include the town like “Ashford”, and the county “Kent” there is potential for more customers.  

Is the keyword meta tag still relevant?

The keywords meta tag is still useful even though search engines have greatly reduced its importance thanks to misuse by marketers in the past. Marketers these days either choose to ignore them or use them as place holders to specifically optimize for certain keywords.  

Some lesser search engines also place some relevance to them.

Writing Keywords - The 3 rules of thumb

Assuming that you have researched your keywords, you should then define you keywords like so

<meta name = “keywords” content = “Your Keyword Phrases”>

The 3 rules of thumb

  1. List 3 to 4 phrases in descending order of importance. In other words, start with the most important first.
  2. Separate each keywords or phrase with a comma and space. Do not use qualifiers like “and”, “or” as these will be ignored.
  3. Do not engage in keyword stuffing or spamming and keep to 3 to 4 phrases.