Do Website Meta Tags Really Matter to Search Engines?

Handshake 2.0 asked Daryl Scott, creator of competitive intelligence software AttaainCI, for his expertise on the news that Google does not use the keywords meta tag in web ranking.  According to Matt Cutts of Google's Quality Search group, "Google uses over two hundred signals in our web search rankings, but the keywords meta tag is not currently one of them, and I don’t believe it will be."

Daryl Scott replied:

Page content has always been far and away the most important factor in SERP – Search Engine Results Page – for specific keyword types of searches (especially long-tail searches). My feeling is it doesn't hurt to add Keywords meta tags (there are many apps out there and some may use this info in some ways that are useful now or in the future).

The real message to me is re-stating the obvious – namely that the Description meta tags (and Title tags, too, for that matter) are important because they offer an opportunity to control what message is displayed in the search results snippet. Some sites ignore the Description tag because they think "meta tags don't matter," and then get goofy-looking search engine generated snippets, missing a marketing opportunity to display a more meaningful message by supplying a meaty page description meta tag.

Title and Description meta tags as displayed by AttaainCI

Above is a screenshot demonstrating the correspondence of Title and Description meta tags (as displayed in AttaainCI) with the Google search results for a sample company.

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Daryl Scott is the founder, President and CEO of Attaain, Inc., and was featured in the first Rackspace Tech Showcase on Handshake 2.0.

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