Google and meta tags

If you have a website which you use to promote your act or any other business, you’ll probably know that an important part of search engine optimization is the meta tags you display in the code of your webpages (if you haven’t come across the term search engine optimization it simply means designing your website in a way which makes it attractive to search engines so they will pick up your website and rank it high in their search results).

But did you know that Google have stopped paying attention to the keywords meta tag?

Now any keywords you put in to the keyword meta tags on your web pages are completely ignored by Google.

I suppose to be fair, it was only a matter of time before Google did this.

For years people have been abusing keyword meta tags trying to cheat the search engines in to giving them better rankings.

In fact I remember the bad old days of the internet when, if you were a singer and you put the word singer in your keyword meta tag 100 times, you could get to the top of Google for the search term “singer”.

However if your competition put the keyword “singer” in to his keyword meta tag 101 times, well, he would then get the top spot!

Of course we’ve come a long way since those old days. Google stopped rating web pages purely on the number of keywords you stuffed in your meta tags many years ago and instead compared your keywords with the page content to make sure you weren’t trying to cheat them.

Of course the cheaters then adjusted their game plan and would use the word “singer” dozens of times in their web content AND in their keywords in the hope that Google would be fooled. And they were…for a while, but Google soon caught on to that ruse too.

For years it’s been a game of cat and mouse between the cheaters and Google.

So it’s no surprise that finally Google have stopped playing keyword cat and mouse and now completely ignore keywords you place in your web pages meta tags.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use keyword meta tags in your web pages though – many other search engines still read them and index them – it’s just that Google no longer do.

Here’s what Google themselves have to say about it: http://www.youtube.com/v/jK7IPbnmvVU

Those of you who know me well will know that my advice regarding search engine optimization has always been the same – don’t try to cheat the search engines. They’ll find you out and will hurt your ranking (in severe cases they may even ban you from their search results).

It’s simply not worth it.

If you want better Google rankings then the best way to do it is be relevant.

For example, if you are a guitarist and you entertain and live in Wales, then your website should be all about a guitarist who is located in Wales. You should have a Welsh address and a Welsh phone number on your website where people can contact you, a list of places in Wales where you’ll be performing, perhaps a little bit about previous gigs you did in the Wales area, what type of guitar you play, what type of songs you sing.

Be relevant.

Don’t have a website which has lots of lovely pics of your family, talks about your pet labrador, and has some funny stories about what happened when you and a few guys from the office went to a stag weekend in Blackpool and then expect Google to send people to your website who are looking to book a Welsh guitar player…

Believe me, Google are smarter than you are when it comes to this sort of thing, so stay on message with your website and Google will be your best friend.

If you try to use any underhand tactics to raise your profile on Google or any other search engine, you’ll get a severe slap on the wrist and it could be enough to kill your career in one foul swoop.

Don’t do it.