On Tuesday, Yahoo!'s Senior Director of Search Cris Pierry stated unequivocally at a search marketing conference in New York that Yahoo! no longer supports the meta keywords tag. This announcement comes just weeks after search giant Google posted a blog stating that they also ignore the tag. Could Yahoo!'s announcement finally spell the end for meta keywords? After all, the two search engines combined for over 81% of all web searches in September. What About Bing? Before you take those meta keywords off of your site, don't forget about Microsoft Bing. While I've seen some posts around that Web that claim all major search engines ignore the meta keywords tag, Bing's official policy remains that they do take this tag into consideration. From Bing.com: The
tag's keyword attribute is not the page rank panacea it once was back in the prehistoric days of Internet search. It was abused far too much and lost most of its cachet. But there's no need to ignore the tag. Take advantage of all legitimate opportunities to score keyword credit, even when the payoff is relatively low. Fill in this tag's text with relevant keywords and phrases that describe that page's content. So for now, my recommendation would be that if you have meta keywords in place, leave them where they are. No search engine will penalize you for including them - they just might ignore them. If you're building a new site, I would still recommend including meta keywords, but don't spend hours crafting them. Even Bing says the payoff is low. UPDATE - October 15, 2009 Thanks to an ingenious experiment from Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land, we know that Yahoo! may be giving meta keywords more value than they say. You can see the original article here if you're interested in the details of the experiment, but the basic message is the same as what I said above - don't quite give up on meta keywords yet, even if the payoff is low.