Meta Keywords: Why I don’t use them

There is one question about SEO which seems to be coming up time and time again, so let me answer it now and be done with it. Meta Keywords are useless. No search engine uses them for any real rankings. That is why by default, there is no meta keywords input field in my WordPress SEO plugin and why I never use them. The fact that “other SEO plugins do have them” isn’t a good reason for me to enable them in my plugin by default.

Let me give you the full history of the meta keywords tag’s demise. In September 2009, Google announced officially what was already true for years back then: “Google does not use the keywords meta tag in web ranking”. Matt Cutts explains it in a video:

 

Do Yahoo! and Bing use meta keywords?

In October of that same year, 2009, almost two years ago, at SMX East, Yahoo! announced they no longer use the meta keywords tag anymore either. This turned out to be not entirely true, as they do index them, but they won’t help you one bit.

Bing said at one point, in a guide about how to optimize your page:

“It was abused far too much and lost most of its cachet. But there’s no need to ignore the tag. Take advantage of all legitimate opportunities to score keyword credit, even when the payoff is relatively low.”

So basically they’re encouraging you to do fill it out, even though the “credit” will be admittedly very, very low. I say: don’t do it at all. Don’t waste your time. Instead of thinking about which keywords to put in that silly meta keywords tag for 5 minutes, think about your content for 5 minutes longer. Really. It’s worth it.

But I want meta keywords!!!

If you really can’t live without them, go to the WordPress SEO dashboard and enable them:

Meta Keywords in the WordPress SEO plugin

Don’t expect me to think you’re cool though. The reality is, that if you’re trying to rank for any term that’s even only a little competitive, meta keywords won’t help. You should write engaging, meaningful content on a technically well optimized platform and get good links and social engagement. That’s what builds great rankings, meta keywords have nothing to do with it.

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CREDITS
(Disclaimer: We do not carry credit for this post nor any of the photographs or documents; we are simply sharing information, you may not otherwise see, in accordance with the copyright laws and under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License of the USA) {Original content from Yoast}

GOOGLE’S SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION-Optimizing your Images

 

Image-related information can be provided for by using the “alt” attribute

Images may seem like a straightforward component of your site, but you can optimize your use of them. All images can have a distinct filename and “alt” attribute, both of which you should take advantage of. The “alt” attribute allows you to specify alternative text for the image if it cannot be displayed for some reason (1).

Why use this attribute? If a user is viewing your site on a browser that doesn’t support images, or is using alternative technologies, such as a screen reader, the contents of the alt attribute provide information about the picture.

Another reason is that if you’re using an image as a link, the alt text for that image will be treated similarly to the anchor text of a text link. However, we don’t recommend using too many images for links in your site’s navigation when text links could serve the same purpose. Lastly, optimizing your image filenames and alt text makes it easier for image search projects like Google Image Search to better understand your images.

Alt Attributes

 

Store files in specialized directories and manage them using common file formats

Instead of having image files spread out in numerous directories and subdirectories across your domain, consider consolidating your images into a single directory (e.g. brandonsbaseballcards.com/ images/). This simplifies the path to your images.

Use commonly supported filetypes – Most browsers support JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP image formats. It’s also a good idea to have the extension of your filename match with the filetype.

Image Tree

 

Use brief, but descriptive filenames and alt text

Like many of the other parts of the page targeted for optimization, filenames and alt text (for ASCII languages) are best when they’re short, but descriptive.

Avoid:

  • using generic filenames like “image1.jpg”, “pic.gif”, “1.jpg” when possible—some sites with thousands
  • of images might consider automating the naming of images
  • writing extremely lengthy filenames
  • stuffing keywords into alt text or copying and pasting entire sentences

 

Supply alt text when using images as links 

If you do decide to use an image as a link, filling out its alt text helps Google understand more about the page you’re linking to. Imagine that you’re writing anchor text for a text link.

Avoid:

  • writing excessively long alt text that would be considered spammy
  • using only image links for your site’s navigation

Supply an Image Sitemap file

An Image Sitemap file can provide Googlebot with more information about the images found on your site. Its structure is similar to the XML Sitemap file for your web pages.

 

Next we’ll look at Using Heading Tags…Follow the RSS Feed

CREDITS
(Disclaimer: We do not carry credit for this post nor any of the photographs; we are simply sharing information, you may not otherwise see, in accordance with the copyright laws and under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License of the USA) {Content based on Google’s Guide}

GOOGLE’S SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION-Anchor Text

 

Suitable anchor text makes it easy to convey the contents linked

Anchor text is the clickable text that users will see as a result of a link, and is placed within the anchor tag <a href=”…”></a>.

Anchor Text

This text tells users and Google something about the page you’re linking to. Links on your page maybe internal—pointing to other pages on your site—or external—leading to content on other sites. In either of these cases, the better your anchor text is, the easier it is for users to navigate and for Google to understand what the page you’re linking to is about.

Link Diagram

 

Both users and search engines like anchor text that is easy to understand! 

Choose descriptive text

The anchor text you use for a link should provide at least a basic idea of what the page linked to is about.

Avoid:

  • writing generic anchor text like “page”, “article”, or “click here”
  • using text that is off-topic or has no relation to the content of the page linked to
  • using the page’s URL as the anchor text in most cases
  • – although there are certainly legitimate uses of this, such as promoting or referencing a new website’s address

Write concise text

Aim for short but descriptive text-usually a few words or a short phrase.

Avoid:

  • writing long anchor text, such as a lengthy sentence or short paragraph of text

Format links so they’re easy to spot

Make it easy for users to distinguish between regular text and the anchor text of your links. Your content becomes less useful if users miss the links or accidentally click them.

Avoid:

  • using CSS or text styling that make links look just like regular text

 

Think about anchor text for internal links too

You may usually think about linking in terms of pointing to outside websites, but paying more attention to the anchor text used for internal links can help users and Google navigate your site better.

Avoid:

  • using excessively keyword-filled or lengthy anchor text just for search engines
  • creating unnecessary links that don’t help with the user’s navigation of the site
Next we’ll look at Optimizing your images…Follow the RSS Feed
CREDITS
(Disclaimer: We do not carry credit for this post nor any of the photographs; we are simply sharing information, you may not otherwise see, in accordance with the copyright laws and under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License of the USA) {Content based on Google’s Guide}

GOOGLE’S SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION-Improving Content

 

Improving content and services should be a priority, regardless of the type of website!

 

Write easy-to-read text

Users enjoy content that is well written and easy to follow.

Avoid:

  • writing sloppy text with many spelling and grammatical mistakes 
  • embedding text in images for textual content 
  • – users may want to copy and paste the text and search engines can’t read it

Stay organized around the topic

It’s always beneficial to organize your content so that visitors have a good sense of where one content topic begins and another ends. Breaking your content up into logical chunks or divisions helps users find the content they want faster.

Avoid:

  • dumping large amounts of text on varying topics onto a page without paragraph, subheading, or layout separation

 

Create fresh, unique content

New content will not only keep your existing visitor base coming back, but also bring in new visitors.

Avoid:

  • rehashing (or even copying) existing content that will bring little extra value to users 
  • having duplicate or near-duplicate versions of your content across your site 
  • – more on duplicate content

 

Create content primarily for your users, not search engines

Designing your site around your visitors’ needs while making sure your site is easily accessible to search engines usually produces positive results.

Avoid:

  • inserting numerous unnecessary keywords aimed at search engines but are annoying or nonsensical to users 
  • having blocks of text like “frequent misspellings used to reach this page” that add little value for users 
  • deceptively hiding text from users, but displaying it to search engines

Next we’ll look at Anchor Text…Follow the RSS Feed

CREDITS
(Disclaimer: We do not carry credit for this post nor any of the photographs; we are simply sharing information, you may not otherwise see, in accordance with the copyright laws and under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License of the USA) {Content based on Google’s Guide}

GOOGLE’S SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION-Offer quality content and services

 

Interesting sites will increase their recognition on their own

Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors discussed here (1). Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it. This could be through blog posts, social media services, email, forums, or other means.

Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.

Buzz

 

Anticipate differences in users’ understanding of your topic and offer unique, exclusive content

 

Think about the words that a user might search for to find a piece of your content. Users who know a lot about the topic might use different keywords in their search queries than someone who is new to the topic. For example, a long-time baseball fan might search for [nlcs], an acronym for the National League Championship Series, while a new fan might use a more general query like [baseball playoffs]. Anticipating these differences in search behavior and accounting for them while writing your content (using a good mix of keyword phrases) could produce positive results. Google AdWords provides a handy Keyword Tool that helps you discover new keyword variations and see the approximate search volume for each keyword (2). Also, Google Webmaster Tools provides you with the top search queries your site appears for and the ones that led the most users to your site.

Consider creating a new, useful service that no other site offers. You could also write an original piece of research, break an exciting news story, or leverage your unique user base. Other sites may lack the resources or expertise to do these things.

Keyword Ideas

 

Tomorrow we’ll look at Improving Content…Follow the RSS Feed

CREDITS
(Disclaimer: We do not carry credit for this post nor any of the photographs; we are simply sharing information, you may not otherwise see, in accordance with the copyright laws and under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License of the USA) {Content based on Google’s Guide}