Google is telling the world what every seasoned webmaster and search marketer should already know: The keywords meta tag has no impact whatsoever on how Google’s search engine ranks pages. None. Zilch. Nada. And while Google often needs to be somewhat ambiguous when talking about how it ranks pages, the message in today’s blog post is perfectly clear:
“Our web search (the well-known search at Google.com that hundreds of millions of people use each day) disregards keyword metatags completely. They simply don’t have any effect in our search ranking at present.”
Google’s blog post also talks about an imagined clash between two web site owners, Bob and Alice, over Bob’s use of Alice’s business name in his keywords tag and copying of other words from her keywords tag. Although Google doesn’t mention actual companies and doesn’t reference a specific lawsuit, the video that accompanies the blog post does mention lawsuits that involve the keywords tag and Google’s search rankings. About the keywords meta tag, Matt Cutts says:
“It’s really not worth suing someone over because, at least for Google, we don’t use that information in our rankings even the least little bit.”
If this is a case of Google offering information in relation to a legal case, it’s not the first time. Back in 2006, Matt Cutts wrote a post on his blog confirming that an SEO company and its clients had been banned from Google’s index. At the time, well-known SEO Aaron Wall was being sued by the SEO company that had been banned, and Matt’s blog post refuted some of the SEO company’s claims.
Back to the keywords tag: It’s worth mentioning that Google’s webmaster help has an entire page about meta tags and the word “keyword” doesn’t appear on it once. And as long as we’re clearing up some SEO basics, I’ll also note that Google’s blog post confirms that the meta description tag is also not used for ranking pages. If you want even more, see our in-depth post, Meta Keywords Tag 101: How To “Legally” Hide Words On Your Pages For Search Engines (which among other things documented how Google does NOT use the meta keywords tag).
Here is the video from Matt on the meta keywords tag: