Keyword Meta Tags? That is so 1990s. Right?

When Andy Benkert, HRmarketer's SEO expert, first informed me months ago that keyword meta tags were no longer an important part of SEO best practices -- at least for Google search results -- I was skeptical. Andy spends a lot of time keeping current on best practices (it's his job) so I trusted his opinion on the matter. But I was unsure how we would respond to our SEO customers when they asked why were spending less time on keyword meta tags.

Today, Andy sent me a link to a blog post from Google that says this:

"Google doesn't use the "keywords" meta tag in our web search ranking. This video explains more, or see the questions below". - Matt Cutts, Google Software Engineer

So that settles it. It is official and indisputable (its from Google). I strongly recommend spending some time on this Google blog post and reading the Q&A and the reader responses. It's a real education.

Since the HRmarketer Services Group formally got into delivering SEO services several years ago I've learned a great deal about SEO and have developed a real appreciation for this trade - a trade that is at least 90% science and maybe 10% art.

What this announcement from Google tells me is that good SEO in 2007 is not necessarily good SEO in 2010. Since a major component of SEO is about getting higher organic rankings on search results relevant to your company, a company's SEO is in many respects at the mercy of the algorithms used by major search engines like Google - which can change on a dime.

It is therefore very important to take a look at your SEO on a regular basis and not assume that since you paid someone to search optimize your web site in 2005 that everything is fine today.

This is one reason we launched the SEO Center which tells HR companies how they are ranking for their various keywords month-to-month on major search engines. This allows them to quickly notice when they drop off the first page of search results (or get on the first page).

But one aspect of SEO best practices that seems to never change and continues to be the single most important aspect to great SEO and high page rankings (in my opinion) is content and inbound links (other web sites linking to your site).

And this is 100% in your control by incorporating into your ongoing (monthly) marketing and PR the development of original content (e.g., white papers, research, articles, etc) that is uploaded to your web site and distributed/syndicated online through search-optimized press releases, direct marketing, blogs, podcasts, videos, Twitter, and social networking sites.

Its that simple - or that difficult.

(By the way, Andy recommends a great overview of industry expert best practices and the similarities and differences of what works in SEO across search engines - Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, etc. - the Hubspot Webinar Advanced SEO Tactics: On Beyond Keyword Research, Rand Fiskin, SEOmoz.)

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