Years ago, the keywords meta-tag embedded within a web page was everyone’s virtual ticket to a page one listing in Yahoo (long before Google was ever heard of), HotBot and other search engines of days gone by. It didn’t take long before everyone caught on to the trend of “keyword stuffing” which is basically adding non-relevant but highly searchable keywords into the meta-tags of a web page. The main purpose for doing this was to get people searching on popular keywords like “sex” or “Britney Spears” diverted to your website via a top ranking page in Yahoo.
Imagine how discouraging it would be for someone searching for “Britney Spears” to land on your page about house training aardvarks, etc., simply because of your deceptive keywords. As you can imagine, somewhere along the line the rules would have to change. There is a line in a Roger Water’s song that says “if you give the human race enough rope soon or later they’ll **** it all up”. How true. Then Google came along and said “Guess what? People have misused the keywords meta-tags so we’re simply going to ignore them from now on.” Ultimately, this would negate the effects of “keyword stuffing” and rightfully allow the search engines to index web pages based primarily on a given web page’s actual content.
In other words, if your page is about house training aardvarks that is exactly how you would be found in a search. Wave goodbye to Britney Spears! Thus, the death of the keywords meta-tag.
To this very day, the legend of the keywords meta-tag refuses to die. 8 out of 10 of my new clients always ask if we can “put some really big keywords” into every page, so that they’ll come up high in the search results. And yes, I have to explain all of this to them just as I have mentioned here, so maybe now, I can simply say “check it out on our blog” and hopefully some day the great keywords myth will be laid to rest.
However, legends die hard so I can only imagine that in the year 2050 there will be a couple people still hoping to do a bit of “keyword stuffing” for “Britney Spears favorite wheelchair”.