October 14, 2009
Ding Dong the Keyword Tag Is Dead (Or Is It?)
Last week at the SMX East conference, a Yahoo representative stated on a panel that the Yahoo search engine no longer supported the meta keyword tag, and supposedly hadn't for months. Search marketers all over the world rejoiced because we're sick of answering questions about this tag. It has always had minimal to no bearing on where your page ranks for keyword phrases that are important to you.
Unfortunately, what the Yahoo rep stated was simply not true. While many took Yahoo at their word and published the meta keyword tag's obituary, I ran some tests that showed that nothing has changed with how Yahoo supports the tag. As of this writing, Yahoo does still index the words contained within it, and pages can and do show up when the only relevance to the search query is contained within the meta keyword tag.
In plain English, if you put a nonsense word into a meta keyword tag and nowhere else, the page will show up in Yahoo when you do a search for that word. Thus, they still index it, and it has some influence in rankings (or else the page wouldn't show up).
This doesn't change my recommendation of not worrying about the meta keyword tag because the influence is so minuscule. The only thing it does is reinforce the fact that you should never take anything that a search engine rep (or an SEO) says without testing it for yourself.
Read our forum thread on this topic.