Meta key phrases are meta tags that you should use to offer serps extra details about a web page’s content material. They’re present in a webpage’s HTML supply code, and should not seen to guests.

Right here’s an instance of a meta key phrases tag:

<meta identify="key phrases" content material="web optimization, SEO"/>

It’s simple so as to add meta key phrases in most web site builders and CMS’, however do you have to hassle?

Do you continue to want to make use of meta key phrases?

Google hasn’t used the meta key phrases tag to assist rank internet pages for not less than a decade. We all know this as a result of Matt Cutts, Google’s former Head of the Webspam Group, launched a video in 2009 the place he stated:

[…] we don’t use the key phrases meta tag in our search rating

Quick-forward to 2020, and in response to a recent Twitter poll by Invoice Slawski, most search engine optimization professionals now not use the meta key phrases tag.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to do not forget that there’s extra to search engine optimization than Google, so there are a few the explanation why you may nonetheless wish to use the key phrases meta tag.

1. It could nonetheless be utilized by Yandex

Yandex is the Web’s largest Russian search engine, with a market share roughly equal to that of Google’s in Russia. Their official documentation states that meta key phrases “Can be utilized when figuring out the web page’s relevance to look queries.”

Does this imply that meta key phrases are a confirmed rating consider Yandex search? No. However as that web page has solely been dwell since late-2018, the knowledge is probably going nonetheless correct.

Even so, as one individual talked about on Twitter, it’s in all probability a low-weight issue.

If you happen to’re interested in different serps, it appears like not one of the main ones use meta key phrases: 


In 2014, Bing acknowledged in a weblog put up that the meta key phrases tag is “useless when it comes to search engine optimization worth.” This was successfully confirmed in 2020 when Bing’s Head of Evangelism tweeted the identical factor. 

Nevertheless, in 2011, Bing hinted that it could possibly be used as a spam sign to assist determine low-quality pages. It’s unknown whether or not that’s nonetheless the case, but it surely’s positively not a rating issue.


In 2012, a Baidu engineer acknowledged of their webmaster neighborhood that “Meta key phrases have lengthy been within the rubbish heap of historical past, and we’ll ignore them immediately.”

Nevertheless, on a web page up to date in April 2020, they say:

Title, description and key phrases are essential for Baidu to judge web page’s worth.

Because it is sensible to belief the latest info, it appears the key phrases meta tag could possibly be a rating sign in Baidu.


In line with Wikipedia, Naver handles 74.7% of all internet searches in South Korea. And whereas we couldn’t discover a definitive assertion about their use of the meta key phrases tag, there’s zero point out of meta key phrases all through their intensive documentation on optimizing your web site. 

On condition that truth, we will assume it’s both not used or is a really low-weight issue. 

2. It’s used for some inside website searches

Hottest CMS’ don’t use the meta key phrases tag for inside website searches, however some inside search techniques can, together with SOLR, Algolia, and ones constructed on Elasticsearch.

If any of those energy your inside search, you may want to make use of the key phrases meta tag.

Different use instances for meta key phrases

You’ve in all probability realized by now that most individuals don’t want to make use of the key phrases meta tag, however there are a few issues you should use it for.

1. Create an inside tagging system

Many CMS’ and web site builders make it simple so as to add meta key phrases to pages, as do many free WordPress search engine optimization plugins. This makes it simple to ‘repurpose’ the tag for an inside key phrase tagging system. Simply set the tag as your goal key phrase on every web page.

For instance, if our web page’s goal key phrase was “search engine optimization ideas,” it’d appear like this:

<meta identify="key phrases" content material="web optimization ideas"/>

If you happen to do that on each web page, it’ll be simple to examine whether or not you’ve already focused a key phrase sooner or later. Simply crawl your website with an auditing instrument like Ahrefs’ Web site Audit, then use Web page Explorer to search for pages along with your key phrase within the meta key phrases tag.

1 page explorer keywords

There are three causes it may be helpful to do this:

  1. Assist stop key phrase cannibalization. Key phrase cannibalization is the place an internet site targets the identical key phrase throughout a number of pages. It may well trigger every kind of points, like undesirable pages outranking fascinating pages. 
  2. Keep away from overlapping work. If you happen to work in enterprise search engine optimization, there are in all probability many individuals and groups engaged on comparable issues. Having an inside key phrase tagging system helps stop a number of groups from focusing on the identical key phrase. 
  3. Discover collaboration alternatives. If you happen to see that you simply’re not rating effectively for one in every of your key phrases, you may wish to collaborate with one other group to enhance and replace your content material.

Simply know that there’s one potential draw back to utilizing the meta key phrases tag for this goal, which we’ll speak about within the subsequent part.

2. Discover ‘seed’ key phrases from rivals

Invoice Slawski’s recent Twitter poll exhibits that roughly 33% of individuals nonetheless use the key phrases meta tag. As a few of these individuals will undoubtedly be your rivals, this will are available fairly helpful for locating ‘seed key phrases’ throughout key phrase analysis. Simply search for the key phrases meta tag in your competitor’s homepage.

For instance, right here’s the key phrases meta tag for the homepage of a preferred toy retailer:

2 meta keywords homepage

It lists a bunch of toy-related key phrases like toys, climbing equipment, climbing frames, video games, inflatables, pre college, sandboxes, slides, and many others.

Paste any related ones right into a key phrase analysis instrument like Ahrefs’ Key phrases Explorer and select a key phrase concepts report. You’ll discover 1000’s and even tens of millions key phrase concepts—full with estimated month-to-month search volumes and search engine optimization metrics.

3 meta keywords seeds

You should utilize the inbuilt filters to slender your search. 

For instance, listed below are all of the key phrases associated handy puppets with low Key phrase Problem scores.

4 keyword research filters

Simply know that you simply may have to examine a couple of websites earlier than you discover any helpful seed key phrases as a result of many fill their key phrases meta tags with junk or go away them empty.

How one can take away meta key phrases

On condition that you should use the meta key phrases to ‘spy’ in your rivals’ key phrases, they will additionally do the identical for you. For that cause, except you may have a reputable cause to make use of it, you may wish to take away any lingering meta key phrases out of your web site.

However first, it is advisable to discover them…

You are able to do this without cost with Ahrefs Webmaster Instruments. Simply join, crawl your web site with Ahrefs’ Web site Audit, then use these filters in Web page Explorer:

5 meta keywords site audit

You’ll see an inventory of all pages in your web site which have a meta key phrases tag.

6 pages with meta keywords

If there are not any outcomes, there are not any pages with the tag.

From there, all it is advisable to do is run by way of and take away the tags from any offending pages. 

Simply know that this in all probability isn’t price doing you probably have a giant web site with key phrases meta tags on each web page. Nevertheless, in case you see the identical meta key phrases throughout all pages, chances are high it’s being pulled from one location in your CMS or template/theme. Wherein case, you’ll be able to possible take away it from all pages by modifying only one piece of code. 

That stated, it’s price noting that having meta key phrases tags in your website is unlikely to have a adverse search engine optimization impression. Except you’re overly involved about rivals ‘stealing’ your key phrases, your time might be higher spent elsewhere.

Closing ideas

For 99.9% of individuals, the meta key phrases tag is ineffective, and filling it out is a waste of time. You need to solely use it you probably have a specific cause to take action, like utilizing it for an inside key phrase tagging system or an inside website search. 

Different meta tags like your title and meta description deserve extra consideration.

Obtained questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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