Can META Keyword Tags Confuse Google?

Mar 26, 2009 - 5:22 am 14 by

We all know that Google ignores the META keywords tag on pages, or at least that is what we believe and what we are told. This does not mean Google ignores other meta tags, such as the meta description, but they do ignore the keywords meta tag.

A recent Google Webmaster Help thread has some confusing information from JohnMu, a Googler.

John said:

One problem I see when looking at your site's meta tags at the moment is that they're all included in your "keywords" meta tag - they're not separate meta tags.

That said, I think you can safely remove all of these meta tags. Google doesn't need them and they can be confusing the way you have them now.

If you look at the thread, we can see that the keywords used in the meta keywords is a bit overboard, to say the least. However, if Google completely ignores the tag, why would it "be confusing." Is it confusing for GoogleBot? Is it confusing for other search engines that might use it? Is it confusing the the searcher who doesn't view the source code of the page?

You see why I am struggling with this post? I know we can't always sit there and analyze the words of Googlers. But sometimes we do and we scratch our heads.

I will ping JohnMu and ask him to comment and clarify. I am sure I am just looking into this a bit too much.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Update: So I John commented and I decided to take a closer look at the site he commented about. What I found was the meta tags coded as HTML entities, which really is incredibly weird and likely does not work for Google or any bot. Here is a picture of the code, where I highlighted the core issue, as I understand it:


So John's comment does make more sense now.


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