Google: Actually, Meta Tags Do Matter.

Google posted a new Webmaster Help video from Matt Cutts today. The question at hand this time is: How much time should I spend on meta tags, and which ones matter?

This one is also significant because Cutts submitted the question himself. That means, he felt this was an important enough issue, that even though it wasn’t submitted it by a user, needed to be addressed.

So the conventional wisdom a few years ago was that meta tags mattered a whole lot,” says Cutts. “You really had to tweak them and spent a lot of time to get your keywords right, and did you have a space, or a comma between your keywords, and all that kind of stuff. And we’ve mostly evolved past that, but the pendulum might have gone a little bit too far in the other direction, because a lot of people sometimes say, don’t think at all about meta tags. Don’t spend any time whatsoever on them, and so let me give you a more nuanced view.”

“You shouldn’t spend any time on the meta keywords tag,” he says. “We don’t use it. I’m not aware of any major search engine that uses it these days. It’s a place that people don’t really see when they load the browser, and so a lot of webmasters just keyword stuff there, and so it’s really not all that helpful. So we don’t use meta keywords at all.”

 

Here’s a chart from Google Webmaster Tools, which breaks down how Google understands different meta tags:

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