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Google’s ‘Zombie’ Keywords Meta Tag

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Thursday September 20, 2012 )

A zombie is someone who returns from the dead, but doesn’t return quite the same. Google’s just done something similar in relation to the keywords meta tag; but at least it won’t eat brains.

A bit of brief background first. The keywords meta tag used to be an important part of search engine optimization until it became too untrustworthy – spammers had a field day with it.

In 2009, Google announced it was no longer considering the keywords meta tag when ranking pages.

But it’s back, just not the same and will only be of use to a comparative Chosen Few.

Google announced yesterday the news_keywords metatag, which will only be of use if your content is included in Google News.

“The goal is simple: empower news writers to express their stories freely while helping Google News to properly understand and classify that content so that it’s discoverable by our wide audience of users,” says the mighty G.

Google stresses the news_keywords metatag will be only signal among many (over 500 I’m told) that its algorithms use to determine ranking.

So that’s an interesting development for those lucky sites included in Google News, but for the rest of us, the unwashed masses, there are still a couple of tags that are very important – they are the title and the description tags.

While on the topic, two major mistakes I see site owners making with regard to meta tags are using the same content in the tags across multiple pages, or in some cases leaving the description tag empty.

Meta tags should be unique to a page – and leaving a description tag blank is worse than not having the description tag at all. Actually, I’ve seen quite a few sites seeming to rank okay without the description tag – but it’s better to use it if you can.

Meta tag development does take some time and while they aren’t the be all and end all in search engine optimization, a good title tag in particular can make a noticeable difference in rankings, assuming everything else on the page is okay.

You can pick up some tips on meta tag development here.


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