At SMX East this week, Cris Pierry, the Senior Director of Yahoo! Search, surprised everyone by saying that Yahoo! had stopped supporting the Meta Keywords Tag several months ago.
Google has never supported the Meta Keywords Tag and Bing doesn't support it, either.
So, I think I can safely say, "The Meta Keywords Tag is still dead."
Actually, the first to notice that it had died was Andrew Goodman of Traffick, who declared way back on my September 2, 2002, "An End to Metatags (Enough Already, Part 1)". He observed, "If somebody would just declare the end of the metatag era, full stop, it would make it easier on everyone."
On October 1, 2002, Danny Sullivan, provided a second opinion in Search Engine Watch in "Death of A Meta Tag." He declared, "In my opinion, the meta keywords tag is dead, dead, dead."
Nevertheless, Inktomi and then Yahoo! Search continued to support the meta keywords tag, so some search engine optimizers continued using it, although it didn't have significant impact.
Time passed, Sullivan left Search Engine Watch to start Search Engine Land and Search Marketing Expo, and way too many search engine optimizers continued using the Meta Keywords Tag because there's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.
But, now Pierry has officially notified the next of kin.
So, I think the entire search industry can stop using the Meta Keywords Tag -- just as Chevy Chase has stopped saying, "This breaking news just in - Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead!"
I can't wait to tell the public relations agencies and PR departments that don't want to include keywords in their headline or lead paragraph. They mistakenly think that their newswire can automatically sprinkle Meta Keywords Tags over an unedited press release like pixie dust and magically optimize it for Google News or Yahoo! News.
I've long recommended using top search keywords in headlines and at least the first 100 words of optimized press releases. However, since Yahoo! News paid even minor attention to the Meta Keywords Tag, just as Yahoo! Search did, it was hard to get some to change their behavior.
Even those who realized that top search keywords actually need to appear high up in very visible locations, had trouble dealing with the death of the Meta Keywords Tag. They would go through the five stages of grief described in the book by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, "On Death and Dying." They are:
1. Denial (This isn't happening to me!)
2. Anger (Why is this happening to me?)
3. Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...)
4. Depression (I don't care anymore.)
5. Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes.)
But, now I can stay the meta keywords tag is dead, dead, dead.
And now, as a public service to those of our viewers who have difficulty with their hearing, I will repeat the top story of the day, aided by Senior Vice President of content for Search Engine Watch, ClickZ, and Search Engine Strategies, Mike Grehan.
Greg Jarboe: "Our top story tonight.."
Mike Grehan: [ screaming ] "Our top story tonight..!"
Greg Jarboe: "..The Meta Keywords Tag.."
Mike Grehan: [ screaming ] "..The Meta Keywords Tag..!"
Greg Jarboe: "..is still dead."
Mike Grehan: "..is still dead!"
Greg Jarboe: Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.
Mike Grehan: [ screaming ] Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow!
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!