In the ever-changing landscape of SEO, staying updated is paramount to maintaining your website's visibility and relevance. As of 2023, one significant change has occurred: the obsolescence of meta keywords. Once considered a vital element of on-page SEO, meta keywords have fallen out of favor with search engines like Google. In this blog, we'll explore why meta keywords are now obsolete and what you should focus on instead to improve your website's SEO.
At the dawn of the internet, meta keywords played a pivotal role in helping search engines understand the content of web pages. Website owners could insert a list of keywords into their HTML code's meta tags, signaling to search engines which terms were relevant to their content. This seemingly straightforward system had its advantages but was soon exploited by black-hat SEO practitioners who stuffed irrelevant keywords into their meta tags to manipulate search results.
Search engines, led by Google, recognized the abuse of meta keywords and took action. Google officially announced in 2009 that it no longer used meta keywords as a ranking factor. Other major search engines followed suit. The reason? Keyword stuffing and manipulation had made the meta keywords tag unreliable for determining the actual content and relevance of web pages.
Keywords, in the early days of the internet and search engines, were the foundation of SEO. They served as a direct link between what users were searching for and the content provided by websites.
Keywords were pivotal in the early days of SEO as they established a direct connection between what users searched for and the content provided by websites. They played a vital role in indicating the relevance of web pages to search queries. Moreover, keywords were instrumental in categorizing web pages and constructing efficient search indexes, simplifying the process of retrieving relevant results for users. Additionally, they were employed as a key ranking factor by search engines, where pages containing keywords frequently ranked higher. This made keywords a competitive advantage for website owners and SEO practitioners, driving the emphasis on keyword optimization.
However, over time, keyword stuffing, improved algorithms, and natural language processing has pushed meta keywords aside for other SEO practices.
So, if meta keywords are no longer a factor in SEO, what should you focus on to improve your website's search engine ranking? Here are the key factors that matter in 2023:
Content remains king in the world of SEO. Quality, relevant, and engaging content is what search engines prioritize. Write for your audience, not for search engines. Create content that answers their questions, solves their problems, and provides value.
While meta keywords are obsolete, keyword research is not. Identify the keywords and phrases your target audience is using to search for information related to your industry. Incorporate these keywords naturally into your content.
Optimize your on-page elements, such as title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags. While meta keywords are no longer relevant, these elements still play a crucial role in helping search engines understand your content.
User experience matters more than ever. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, loads quickly, and is easy to navigate. A positive user experience leads to higher rankings.
Backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites continue to be a significant ranking factor. Focus on building high-quality backlinks through guest posting, outreach, and creating shareable content.
Pay attention to technical SEO aspects like site speed, mobile optimization, and structured data. These elements can affect your search engine rankings.
Engage with your audience through social media, comments, and forums. User engagement signals to search engines that your content is valuable and relevant.
In 2023, the world of SEO has bid farewell to meta keywords, but the fundamentals of good SEO remain unchanged. Focus on creating high-quality content, conducting keyword research, optimizing on-page elements, providing an excellent user experience, building authoritative backlinks, and paying attention to technical SEO. By following these modern SEO practices, you can improve your website's visibility and relevance in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
Founder and visual artist, specializing in all aspects of a businesses presence from imagery and video to graphics and web. A graduate of IPFW with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, Concentration Photography as well as an Associates Degree in Business. His personal photography works are focused on landscape, travel, and aerial photography.