Google Does Not Use Keywords Meta Tag to Rank Web Pages

There has always been some discussion as to whether Google pays any attention to the “keywords” meta tag when ranking web pages. For now, that discussion can be put to rest. Today, Matt Cutts, Google’s page ranking czar (he refers to himself as the head of Google’s Webspam team) put out a video and several blog posts that state conclusively that Google disregards the keywords tag.

At least for Google’s web search results currently (September 2009), the answer is no. Google doesn’t use the “keywords” meta tag in our web search ranking.

He notes that the “description” meta tag is used to determine what a page is about, and it is also used as the short summary that is part of a web page listing when it appears in a Google search results page.

Matt Cutts: Google Does Not Use Keywords Meta Tag

The “description” and “keywords” meta tags usually appear at the top of the HTML for a web page. They are not visible in the web browser unless you select View > Page Source or View > Source.

Keywords Meta Tag vs Description Meta Tag - HTML Code

Google will display the contents of the “description” meta tag as part of the information in a search results page listing when it is useful information for human visitors. If there is no description meta tag or the information is not especially relevant, Google may use information from the visible web page instead.

For the McBuzz.com home page, Google uses the contents of the “description” meta tag in the search results listing. (This is an old search example, but you get the idea. :) )
Description Meta Tag and Search Results Summary

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Comments: 3

3 comments

Excelent article. I didn’t know all the above.

does google spiders use description meta tag to rank websites??

@vipul – The meta description does not count heavily as a search ranking factor, however Google’s Maile Ohye has made a point of saying that it’s worth optimizing the description. The description is the text that shows up under the title of a search results listing. If keywords appear in the description, they will be in bold on search results pages, as you can see in this example for “adwords consultant seattle“. In addition to including keywords, write your meta descriptions so that they give a quick and compelling, “advertisement”-style summary of what they page is about. The goal is to get the person who sees your listing in a search result to click on that link.

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