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Believe it or not, the Internet is not always clear. Take a simple thing like the keyword meta tag: does it or does it not influence page rank? Well, that depends on the search engine, right? While exploring this for a client, I realized that what I originally thought about meta tags was true, but barely. Google, Yahoo, and Bing do not look at the keyword meta tag for page rank.
This quote from Google’s blog clarifies the non-use of the keyword meta tag in ranking:
“Our web search disregards keyword meta tags completely. They simply don’t have any effect in our search ranking at present.”
According to several notable SEO experts, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines will use (even if minutely) the meta tag for findability. But findability does not mean heightened page rank; it only indicates that a particular term on your site, if found in your meta tags, could possibly push it onto the search engine as a result. Clear as mud. Even Google, despite claiming here that it does not even look at the meta tag keyword, has recently been found to use that keyword for populating internal search results (then spidering them). Depending on your need, the keyword tag could be useful – but it’s a low return investment.
The description meta tag is often used as the descriptive snippet on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Apparently the description tag does not influence page rank either, except when determining the uniqueness your particular page. Ultimately, it is still important to use the description meta tag for its ability to give users a clear and concise description of what will be on the page they are about to visit, but it will not be a major factor in any page ranking algorithm on any of the major search engines.
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