Meta tags don’t help your SEO

When I speak with new clients, they often tell me that they’re surprised that their website isn’t ranking well because ‘all of our meta tags are great’.

They’re then very surprised when I tell them that Google doesn’t actually look at meta tags any more so they’re wasting their time.

In fact, this isn’t 100% true – the meta DESCRIPTION tag is actually quite important because it’s usually what Google shows next to your site in the search results, so you want to ensure that your best selling point is in there.  But when it comes to the meta KEYWORD tag, Google pretty much ignores it.  Yahoo and other search engines DO look at it, but since they have such a small part of the search market, it’s not actually worth worrying about.

It’s true that back in the late 90s, having your meta tags optimised was important, but we’ve moved on – 10 year old SEO techniques aren’t going to work in 2009.  So think about some of the more important SEO aspects – relevant links with sensible anchor text, <TITLE> and <h1> tags are a good place to start!

How about you – do you still worry about META tags?