This question is often asked in various forums related to search engine optimization and marketing. Answers typically vary from “yes” to an astounding “no”. So are keyword meta tags useless? Should even bother with them anymore?
First of all you must understand that Google and MSN do not even index this tag – at least as of the writing of this blog entry. Yahoo and Ask still do but it is my opinion that it has so little impact on the algo that it is almost not worth even including in your pages.
However, what it can be useful for is targeting common mis-spelllings of words or words that have just about zilch competition on the web. For example, search Yahoo or Ask for the phrase “stupid dipnoid”. The first result is a page from our site The Arizona Builders’ Zone in which the phrase “stupid dipnoid” is included in the keyword meta tag. This is the only place that it appears. It does not appear any where in the copy, the title tag, the meta description tag, etc. It used to be that this was the only result that would show. Now there are additional results from forums where I have used this test to answer questions about the keyword meta tag and its usefulness.
The contents of the keyword meta tag read as follows:
stupid dipnoid, this is a test to see if Yahoo pays attention to the keyword meta tag, 10-04-04
Therefore if you want to target common mis-spellings of words or words that are in a very niche market, the keyword meta tag can have some use… at least within the search results of Yahoo and Ask.
I still have one developed for each client site we work on but do not go through the process of making them unique for each and every page as we would for other elements of a web page. It doesn’t require that much effort and you just never know whether or not the engines might decide to bring it back one day.