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Keyword Phrases and the Meta Keywords Tag

Keywords vs Keywords Meta Tag

Choosing the appropriate keywords to focus on each page is extremely important. These keywords are the foundation of everything your page is. You should build your page around these keywords as they are what you hope to list under. They meta keyword tag is not very valuable. What?

Many "spammers" were keyword stuffing inside the meta tags so the search engines adjusted their algorithms to lower the value of the meta keywords tag. Yahoo! Search & Inktomi officially supports the keyword tag, and Teoma only unofficially supports the keyword tag. All other major search engines do not claim to support the meta keyword tag, and some search engine experts such as Danny Sullivan say that they do not even use a keyword tag anymore.

The keywords you focus each page upon are important, but the keywords tag carries little weight in modern search algorithms. The keywords a page is focused on should be used throughout the various page elements, but the page copy should read well to human eyes.

Keywords Vs Keyphrases

Keywords should not really be called keywords though, they should actually be called keyphrases. You can try day and night, but you will not soon list #1 for the word car. There is too much competition, and it is highly unlikely that your page is about car. Now if you took that same page and decided it was about a 25th anniversary mustang GT 5.0, you can suddenly see targeted traffic. View the overlapping phrases. You can optimize that page for mustang GT, 25th anniversary mustang, and 25th anniversary mustang GT.

How to Pick Keywords

Maybe those words do not get enough traffic so you can choose others. How will you know? The two biggest pay per click players both have keyword suggestion tools. Also, a web site called WordTracker has the same tool, but it is more user friendly, is more full featured, quicker to use, more dynamic, and it even shows you how many competitors you have for each term across each search engine. Unlike the others, WordTracker is not free, but it will help you find your keywords in a hurry and is well worth the premium. You can try and gather all of your plans together and try WordTracker for a day for only about $7.

Where Should I put my Keywords?

Having stated that the keywords are not important in the keywords tag, I will state where they are important:

  • page title
  • inbound link text
  • headings - one <H1> tag per page
  • subheadings - use <H2> or <H3> tags to break up the page copy throughout the page...this page uses H2s. above the "where should I put my keywords?" line is an H2, and so is the "Tips to improve keyword density" tag below.
  • general body copy
  • meta description
  • navigation
  • outbound links when possible

Tips to Improve Keyword Density

  • using bold on some of the keywords where they make a specific point
  • using bulleted lists with keywords
  • using descriptive keywords in image alt tags

Meta Keyword Tag

They keywords tag is not usually displayed in search results and is a hidden input which page viewers can not see unless they use the view source function. While I will further discuss the meta keywords tag below, it is the actual page copy which matters a lot in SEO.

Meta Keyword Tag Format:

The meta keyword tag is the area between the head tags inside the title brackets <META name="keywords" content="meta key words,meta key word tag,meta key words tags">

Meta Keywords Tag Tips:

  • use misspellings
  • use synonyms
  • no need to repeat any given phrase
  • you can repeat any word an unlimited amount of time as long as each time it is part of a different phrase
  • notice how I split keywords into two words in the example keyword tag above because the words to not appear on the page

Meta Keyword Tips from Yahoo!

Jon Glick (of Yahoo! Search) stated that Yahoo! will look at the meta keywords tag to see if a site should be included in a subset of results, but the keywords will have no effect on the rank of that site. Basically, if a phrase does not appear on the page the keyword tag can tell the search engine that your page is still about that phrase. Your page will be included in the subset of search results for that page, but the keyword tag will not enhance your relevancy for that phrase.

Keyword Tool Tips:

Some things keyword tools will not be able to show you. Keep track of the buzz words in your industry and try to think (dare I say) "outside the box." Any keyword tool you can use will likely be used by your competitors too. Being able to think critically is an extreme advantage over other people who are 100% dependant upon only using keyword research tools.

Keyword Suggestion Tools

Please note the following about the following keyword tools:

  • The Google AdWords keyword suggestion tool lists similar or more specific keywords. It also gives 12 months of historical data.
  • The Overture Keywords suggestion tool offers keyword suggestion based on Overture ad distribution and a small sampling of clickthrough rate. The biggest problems with the Overture keyword suggestion tool is that it groups singular and plural versions, and it only counts paid clicks. Combining singular and plural as the same search can throw results off widely. Only counting paid clicks can also skew results and cause decent sized search volumes to go unnoticed.
  • WordTracker does not track keyword searches, but tracks clickthrough traffic. This is a better measure of keyword traffic. In addition to measuring the clickthroughs of the keywords, WordTracker also lists each keywords version separately in its search results. WordTracker collects it's data from a couple major meta search engines. The traffic pool WordTracker measures is extremely small compared to that of the entire web, so low frequency search terms may have a high extrapolated search volume error.
  • The SEO Book keyword research tool is driven off off Overture, but cross references the Overture output with many other cool keyword research and informational resources.


  Wordtracker keyword tool

Overture Keyword

Suggestion Tool

SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool

Other Keyword Tools Worth Trying

Other Interesting Keyword Tools

  • Google Sets - shows you similar keywords to the ones you enter to make a set of related words.
  • Wordnet - a lexical keyword database for the English language.
  • Keyword List Builder - helps build keyword lists for PPC ads based on making combined keyword groupings from a matrix of input keywords (MicroSoft Excel and other spreadsheet programs do this too).
  • Goog Edit - another free keyword list builder (downloadable software)
  • ThePermutator - paid downloadable keyword software
  • Keyword Discovery - tool is similar to WordTracker with seasonal data. Database is deeper but likely is not as clean as WordTracker's database.
  • Ontology Tool - tool looks for related words using the Google ~ search.

Keyword Summary

Choosing the proper keywords to target is exceptionally important. These word should appear in your page title, in some inbound links, and throughout page copy. Each page should be focused on it's own keywords. The meta keywords tag is not supported by most search engines, and is not very important. The meta keywords tag should usually consist of keyword misspellings and similar keyword phrases which do not appear on the page.

Want Free Keyword Research Software? if yes click here

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Today is 05/19/24 . This file was last modified on 05/11/13