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Does Google use the keywords meta tag?

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We're often asked the simple question: "how can I improve my Google ranking?"

Sometimes clients are particularly interested in setting the "meta keywords" tag within their HTML code.  This tag was invented in the early days of web search, and simply lets you attach a list of relevant keywords to each web page so it can be indexed.

The problem with this approach is it's open to spam - you can easily attach keywords which have nothing to do with the page content.  Because of this, search engines developed more reliable methods for indexing content.  You can hear Google's Matt Cutts clarify in the video below that Google does not use the keywords tag at all to index pages.

That's not to say that developing a list of keywords isn't a part of the SEO process - in fact it's crucial.  It's just that the strategy should be to place the keywords in appropriate places within the page content itself.

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