Meta Keywords: Should You Use Them?

Meta keywords are a <meta> tag option that can give search engines more information about a page’s content.

This tag is placed in the <head> section of your webpage. And it looks like this:

<meta name=”keywords” content=”Keyword1, Keyword2, Keyword3″>

Google doesn’t use meta keywords in its ranking algorithm.

So you don’t have to use them on your website for the purpose of ranking in Google.

Let’s look at whether other search engines like Bing, Yandex, Baidu, and Naver use meta keywords.


In 2020, Christi Olsen from Microsoft tweeted that Bing doesn’t use meta keywords. And that they exclude and ignore them:


With a total market share of roughly 35%, Yandex is Russia’s second-largest search engine.

Yandex’s support page tells us that the meta keywords element “can be used when determining the page’s relevance to search queries.”

So if you optimize sites for Yandex search, it’s likely that using meta keywords will help your rankings.


Baidu dominates China’s search engine market with a total market share of around 64%.

In 2018, an SEO expert from China wrote a blog post explaining why you shouldn’t use meta keywords when optimizing your site for Baidu. 

In the blog, he cited a forum post from a Baidu engineer that said Baidu hasn’t been using meta keyword tags since 2012.

Naver is South Korea’s second-biggest search engine after Google.

Just like Google, Naver has documentation for optimizing websites for Naver Search.

And while they include information about which meta tags to include on your pages, the documentation doesn’t specifically mention anything regarding meta keywords tags.

So it’s reasonable to assume that meta tags have no discernible importance for Naver.

Some people suggest using meta keywords for competitor research.

They advise looking at meta keywords on competitor sites to work out what keywords they’re trying to optimize for.

But we think this is rarely the right approach.

That’s because:

  • Most sites don’t use meta keywords tags these days, so you won’t find any keywords there most of the time.
  • Some sites even include junk or irrelevant keywords in their meta tag fields.

A better approach to doing competitor research is to use a professional competitor research tool.

Like Semrush’s Organic Research tool.

Just plug your competitor’s site or a specific page into the tool and hit “Search.” 

organic research tool

Then navigate to the “Top Organic Keywords” report and click “View all # organic keywords.”

top organic keywords

Now the tool will reveal all the keywords the page is currently ranking for on Google’s top 100 positions. 

Like so:

organic search positions

The meta keywords tag is not important from a search engine rankings standpoint. 

So you’re better off focusing on other tags. Like title tags and meta description tags (which are known to have some direct or indirect SEO value). 

Title Tag

The title tag appears as the title of your page in search results.

title tag

Note: Google doesn’t always rely on title tags to generate titles in search results. Sometimes, it rewrites your titles to match a user’s search query. Learn more about this update here.

Title tags are often the primary piece of information people use to decide which results to click on in search results.

Here’s some advice on crafting perfect title tags for your pages.

  • Keep your titles under 60 characters – Google tends to truncate titles that are over 60 characters.
  • Use your primary keyword – Google looks at keywords in your title to understand what topic the page covers.
  • Add click-enticing modifiers – Such as “best,” “top,” or the current year. This can boost your CTR (click-through rate). 

Meta Description

The meta description appears as the descriptive snippet of your page in search results.

meta description

Note: Google doesn’t always display the meta description specified in the HTML code. Sometimes, it overrides and generates a description it thinks users will find more relevant to the searched query.

Meta descriptions aren’t a direct ranking factor. But writing a compelling meta description can improve your CTR.

Here’re some ideas to keep in mind when crafting your meta descriptions:

  • Keep your meta descriptions below 120 characters – Google tends to truncate meta descriptions that spill over roughly 120 characters.
  • Include your keyword – Google bolds words and phrases that match the search query in the meta description.
  • Write something click-worthy, not clickbait – Accurately summarize the contents of the page.

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