Back in the day, the Meta Tag for keywords was a great way to help get your site noticed by the search engines. It didn’t take too long before the Meta Tag was ruined by keyword stuffing. I recall a time when unscrupulous webmasters would add words like Barbie Doll into their keywords in an effort to attract new visitors to their porn site. Problem was children looking for Barbie dolls in the search engines were often finding themselves looking at porn sites when they were looking for hard plastic dolls. Now I have known some women in porn named Barbie and they certainly were dolls but that doesn’t mean I wanted my children to discover them in a search engine.
In an effort to prevent this kind of keyword stuffing the search engines decided to discount the importance of the keyword Meta tag. Shame really as this once powerful bit of code should have been filtered in a more efficient manner.
The same thing happened to the ALT image tag. You would place your cursor over a graphic and a nice description of what the image was would pop up. Well before you knew it, placing your cursor over a graphic would result in a complete novella of keywords popping up. It didn’t take to long before the ALT image tag was discounted as well. Again, throwing out the whole package rather than coming up with a filter seems to be the norm.
Just because the search engines took the easy way out does that mean that we should stop using these tags? Absolutely not, just use them properly. Only put words into the keyword Meta tag that actually appear on the web page. For ALT image tags, actually describe in as few words as possible, what the graphic is about. Doing these things may not actually help you in every search engine but it will in some engines. You never know when a search engine may reintroduce the importance of these two wonderful tags.