We all know that metatags are an important part of on page SEO, but a couple of clients have recently asked questions that suggested it may be worth revisiting this subject, in particular relating to the Keywords metatag. There is no question that the Title and Description tags are vital for a well optimised webpage. Not only do search engines (ie Google) use them significantly in their indexing algorithms, but they also form the basis for your listing when your pages appear in Google Searches. However there is a third Metatag that has traditionally been the focus of SEO on page optimisation, namely the Keywords tag. Originally, this was one of THE tags that Google used to decide which pages to index, and thus was very important. However, because it has been totally abused by SEO spammers over the past 10 years, it is now pretty much ignored by Google, and has no effect on SEO for Google. Although some minor search engines do still use this tag, in our opinion, it is no longer worth focusing on when optimising pages, and thus we tend not to include it on our pages. At this point, I must distinguish between the idea of keywords embedded in your page text, and the keywords meta tag. The discussion here is purely about the Keywords Meta tag. There is no question that the appropriate use of well though out keywords in the body of your page text is vital for effective on page SEO. As always on these matters, the one voice I trust 100% is that of Google’s Matt Cutts so I will end with his take on the subject.
“We went ahead and did this post on the official Google webmaster blog to make it super official, but I wanted to echo the point here as well: Google does not use the keywords meta tag in our web search.”
You will find Matt’s comments on the subject in full, here on his official blog