When comes to search engine optimization (SEO), onsite SEO is where most SEO professional will first try to emphasize. For onsite SEO, there are several factors that needed to be checked including meta tags. About 10 years back, keywords is one of the most important section in SEO where most webmasters and SEO professionals will stuff meta keywords with a long list of keywords. But, the trend of using meta keywords slowly fades out since Google stops using meta keywords in their ranking algorithm. Since, search industry is conquered by Google, most webmasters and SEO professionals adapted to new terms where meta keywords is not being targeted.
However, there are other search engines like Bing that still consider meta keyword in ranking position. But, the traffic referred from Bing is not sufficient even though we able to rank first page for some highly targeted keywords. Obviously, Google is the king of search engine and all will fall with their webmaster guidelines. Meta keywords are still updated on each page of a website developed. SEO plugins still have the column to declare meta keywords section. The use of meta keywords is not dead yet since many top SEO plugins and website development companies using it.
Almost 80% of my search engine traffic is referred from Google. Even, Yahoo search engine does not use meta keywords in their ranking system. That leaves Bing and other search engines that still uses meta keywords. In my Google Analytics, only 3-5% of total search engine traffic is referred from Bing and other search engines not including Google and Yahoo. So, is it really worth to spend some quality time to declare meta keywords for each page? You decide yourself after checking your Google Analytics results by comparing search engine traffics. I would rather spend the time in creating nice meta title and unique meta description for each page or blog post to get more click-through rate.
The main reason of ignoring meta keywords is because of penalty. I am Google concern person and would not like to get any penalty. Most bloggers and webmasters who is benefiting from Google search traffic will agree to my opinion. As far as I know, Google algorithm is very sensitive and it can easily impose penalty on our site. Usually, penalty -10 or -50 will drastically drop our website traffic considering almost 90% of search engine visitors does not click Page 2 in Google search results. So, even if we get -10 penalty, the highest position we able to get is #11 in Google which move our site to page 2 ranking. For Google, -10 penalty seems very mild type of penalty compared to -50 or -100 or even ban. But in reality, website that hit even mild penalty of -10 will face almost 90% traffic drop. I will clear penalty issue in a new post soon.
Meta keywords are not helpful in Google ranking because it is not included in their algorithm. However, stuffing keywords in meta keywords will lead to penalty from Google. Try to limit the keyword to 3-5 keywords per page to avoid any sort of penalty. In short, meta keywords is ignored in ranking factor. But, it can also lead to penalty. Why wasting time creating a list of meta keywords that might impress less than 5% traffic from other search engines? Might just ignoring meta keywords will save us more time and possible penalty from Google.