With the rise of technology, marketing has moved to the digital world. As the online world becomes more saturated with content, it becomes an extremely competitive environment for marketers and businesses looking to stand out. A prime example of this is the leading search engine in the world- Google. The digital giant has millions of sites and is estimated to process around 3.5 billion searches a day. Websites looking to attract users are often looking for ways to get an edge over the competition. This means optimizing numerous factors to get the most attention from users. An area of great interest for many SEOs is meta tags. There are opposing views on the best practices for this important aspect of content, which is why the matter was addressed in a recent Google Search Central livestream.
Are Keyword Heavy Meta Tags Good Practice?
A topic of great discussion in the SEO world is that of meta tags, specifically meta titles and meta descriptions. There tend to be two schools of thought. Some believe that keywords alone help you rank higher and that it is a good idea to inject as many keywords as possible for search engines to pick up. Others believe that a meaningful title is more than enough to get the job done. The problem is that there are numerous examples of both tactics ranking on top of SERPs.
In order to get an answer, a practicing SEO decided to go straight to the source and get Google’s take on this important question. During a Google Search Central SEO live stream, a viewer joined the call and asked John Mueller (senior webmaster analyst) if saturating tags such as titles and descriptions goes against Google’s best practices and if it is a potential tactic for ranking well. She went on to give her opinion on how it is not aesthetically appealing, but quite a common practice among clients who swear it delivers results.
Google’s Take on the Matter
Google’s John Mueller made it clear that the practice of keyword saturated meta titles and descriptions is not against the webmaster guidelines. Google does not even consider it a problem, meaning you cannot get penalized for doing it. In fact, Google rewards titles and descriptions that contain keywords because they really help users when accurate. However, he says that the common practice of injecting a lot of keywords for the sake of SEO is a bad tactic. A couple of businesses that have good sites and content could get lucky with such a tactic, but in most situations, it leads to confusion.
While SEOs and webmasters that opt for keyword stuffing in titles and descriptions will not get penalized, they might be hurting themselves from a clickthrough rate(CTR) perspective. While a certain percentage of the market might click on such a page, the majority will find it confusing or spammy and go somewhere else. When it comes to titles and descriptions, the best course of action is to take the time to integrate keywords into a carefully crafted message. Not only will this give you a boost from Google, but it will help users understand what you can do for them.
Standing out for the right reasons can only be done with a careful approach that offers value to your target market. People searching Google don’t want to see a list of keywords. They want to get an idea of what you specialize in and what you have to offer. A carefully crafted title and description that abides by Google’s rules (researched keywords) is the best way to do this.