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How to Spot an Outdated Digital Advertiser

Lucas Shaffer - June 14, 2016 - 0 comments

Experts say you can date a world map based (mostly) on geographical names. For example, is Constantinople on the map or is Istanbul? Are Austria and Hungary two separate countries, Austria-Hungary, or the Austrian Empire? In a similar fashion, you can date a digital advertiser by whether or not they think meta keywords are important.

Spoiler alert: they’re really not. That is, not anymore.

The instyle way for effective search engine optimization used to always included meta keywords. But that part of SEO is in the past. Dead. Gone. History.

Speaking of history, keywords became important when search engines first came into popularity around the mid 1990’s. It was clear that they could never read an entire website during a search as doing so would take too long and use too much data. The solution was to have a line in the code dedicated to meta keywor

ds for every website. These keywords would clue the search engines into what the website was about, and where it should be ranked in the results. Engines such as Infoseek and AltaVista made this a popular method in 1995 and so meta keywords quickly became the premier way to achieve better search engine rankings.

That Didn’t Work Out So Well

The problem arose from keyword stuffing, and no that’s not a side dish you bring to a digital Thanksgiving dinner. It included website developers adding as many meta keywords as possible, whether or not they had anything to do with the site. The meta keywords tags were being crammed with high-ranking keywords that were completely irrelevant to the content. This led to a lot of bait and switch websites, and a very cluttered search engine result list that wasn’t helpful or relevant. Meta keywords became a tool for tricking users instead of helping them.

Then Google Swooped In and Saved the Day

Google came in with a mop around 1996 and cleaned up the way search engines operated. They created a system that indexes pages upon pages of content and closely analyzes them to see what the website is really about. After that first shift, all major search engines have since stopped using meta keywords as a ranking factor. Well, except for Bing who uses meta keywords as a spam signal.

Meta keywords used to be all the rage.

Now they are a SEO tool of the past. If you are working with a digital advertiser who says things like: 

“Oh yeah, it’s all about those meta keywords”


“What I can do for you is code your meta keywords, that’s what you need”

Then drop them like it’s hot, because they are out of touch with the SEO of today. They might as well be referencing Europe as The Holy Roman Empire. If you need any further convincing, here is a video of Google Webmaster Matt Cutts explaining how Google does not use meta keywords at all.

Contact us at Stand and Stretch and our dedicated team of Adwords certified professionals will help you reach your search engine optimization goals with tools from this decade of digital advertising.


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