The meta data variables of a web page are arguably some of the most important pieces of your website. The meta data variables include the Page Title(<title>), Meta Description (<meta name=”description”…) and Meta Keywords (<meta name=”keywords”). For years, search insiders have been saying that the only two of these variables are still relevant – Page Title and Meta Description.
The Page Title (1) is a critical part of your page. It is the content that the crawlers read when they crawl your page and determine the theme of your content for that page. The Page Title is also your organic search Title that is displayed to users when they to a search query. The Meta Description (2) is the 150 character piece of content that describes your page content. The meta description as it is defined will also be used for the organic search ad content as shown in section 2 below.
But what about the Meta Keywords section? Most site CMS’s still have a field that is used for keywords, so why keep the fields if the industry insiders are saying that it is not important any more?
The Meta Keywords field sits behind the browser and can be used to support the keyword themes found in the Page Title and Meta Description. At Webbed Marketing, we advise our clients to use the field if possible, but to limit the number of keywords you use to 3-5 keywords.
This week, Search Engine Land published an article stating that Bing still evaluates the Meta Keywords field – to catch spammers! They look for pages that have an excessive number of keywords (keyword stuffing), featuring keywords that do not match the page content theme. A comment from Bing insider, Duane Forrester stated:
“The main thing people need to keep in mind if they decide to use the tag is to follow the known best practices. Ultimately, it’s the overt keyword stuffing that gets noticed and makes us want to look a little closer. If you’re willing to stuff pointless keywords into the meta keywords tag, what else might you be inclined to do?”
Translation: Use the field, but limit the number of keywords and keep the keywords relevant to your page theme. If you are keyword stuffing your meta and content zone, the Meta Keywords field is a tipoff to BING to take a closer look at your page content as well.
If I were writing the Meta Variables for the page above, for the keyword ‘baseball card dealer”, here is what the three fields would look like:
<title>Baseball Card Dealer | Shop Sports Cards, Memorabilia, and More</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”Shop Dave & Adam’s Baseball Card World and find sports cards, memorabilia, and more from a reputable baseball card dealer. Free Shipping on $150+ orders.” />
<meta name=”description” content=”baseball card dealer, baseball cards, sports cards, baseball memorabilia” />