What is the meta keyword element?

The meta keyword element is not taken into account in Google’s search algorithm. Originally, meta keywords were used to define the keywords for which a page should appear in results pages.

Along with other meta elements, the keywords meta tag belongs in the <head> area of the HTML code of a webpage. These tags are invisible to the visitor of the page. It can be seen by web crawlers, but for Google at least, it has lost all relevance.

The original function of the meta keyword tag was to determine the keywords for a website, following much the same logic as a library. These would then help to categorise and classify the document. The meta keywords could look like this:

<meta name="keywords" content="keyword1, keyword2, keyword3">

In the early, pre-Google days of search engine optimisation, the keyword meta tag was often used to signal that keywords which had nothing to do with the content of the document were relevant, in order to achieve an artificially improved ranking. Nowadays, this would count as a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines regarding ‘hidden text’.

Google does not take meta keywords into account, as Matt Cutts confirmed in a blog post in 2009 – robots, description and title are more important meta elements. You can find further information about this in our articles: