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How many meta keywords should I use?

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I know that if too many keywords are used, Google can consider it as an abuse. Is there an average limit? Such as no more than 8 or 10?

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4 answers


michaelcyger [ Admin ]

Meta keywords are not terribly useful any longer. However, when I’m building a webpage and trying to optimize for a particular keyword phrase, every little bit of SEO on a page helps.

Here’s my personal philosophy: only use meta keywords for the keyword phrase that the page was built for. For example, if the page <title> is “content management system” and the description includes that phrase and perhaps a little bit more of a description, the meta keywords should be something like “content management system cms” (this assumes that the acronym CMS is used within the body of the webpage, if not then remove it from the meta keywords). Also, I don’t like to use commas in meta keywords.

If you use words within your meta keywords that are not in the body of the webpage, they are not useful and will have no benefit. Meta keywords should support your title, body and meta description.
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jason lax

I maintain a limit of 5-6, including the site name and any commonly used abbreviations.

Even though Google doesn’t use the meta keywords, other search engines do (at present) and it’s a good way to record and share with colleagues what keywords were identified as primaries for the page during our analysis (brainstorming + confirmation via Google’s Keyword tool.)

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Like Chris I believe meta keywords are no longer of use for the purpose of SEO. On the other hand describing and choosing the meta keywords are usefull in formulating your page content strategy. Therefore I use the maximum of three synonyms for the most important keyword phrase. This gives focus and helps strengthening your SEO copywriting.

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chris faber

Google has said in their Webmasters site and via Matt Cutts that meta keywords are not used by them in their ranking algorithm. There is some thought that Yahoo may still utilise meta keywords but the impact is unclear. Given the propensity for misuse of this tag I suspect Yahoo does not place a very high value on it.

I still tend to include them but I only use words that appear in the page content and which support the purpose of the page. I don’t think there is a magic formula to determine what the optimum number is, though I suspect after say 15 or 20 they will be ignored.

Google encourages webmasters to build pages to meet the needs of the website’s visitors rather than the search engines. If you follow this philosophy I suspect the list of keywords will rarely exceed 10 and more generally you are unlikely to breach any of their requirements.

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