Are meta tags worth the bother?

Posted on July 4, 2010

 

There was a time when SEO experts would optimise meta tags, such as the description and keywords tags, as a matter of course. It was thought that meta tags, being one of the forms of private communication between web pages and search engines, held a fair amount of weight when it came to rankings calculations. Early on in SEO, optimising meta tags was considered to be essential.

The search engines swiftly realised that meta tags could be easily manipulated by site owners. The use of meta tags to create a false relevance between spam pages and popular keywords led to a devaluing of the tags in the rankings calculation. A couple of years ago, the search engines stopped taking the keyword meta tag into account altogether, and Google formerly announced this some time ago.

These days, there is a little debate amongst search engine optimisation specialists about whether it’s worth bothering with meta tags. One side argues that they will soon go the way of the dinosaur, with the keywords meta tag being a good example. The other side argues that meta tags are relatively easy to optimise and take very little time to do, so there is no harm including them in an SEO plan. Ultimately, it is a decision that is made site to site.

Regardless of what you decide when it comes to meta tags for your search engine optimisation, it is worthwhile looking at your title and description tags. These two tags may appear when your page is listed in the search engines, so they have a significance beyond the need to appeal to search engine spiders.

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