The Meta Keyword Tag
The meta keyword tag allows you to list the keywords for the page; however, most search engines do not support this tag.
What search engines use the Meta Keywords Tag?
Of the major search engines: Inktomi and Teoma are the few that even take this tag into consideration.
Guidelines to writing a good Meta Keyword tag:
List the primary keywords that pertain to this page.
Put the most important words at the beginning of the tag.
If you don't use your keywords within the viewable text of the page, then just adding them to the meta keywords tag is very unlikely to help with rankings for those keywords. However, some use the meta keyword tag as a place to put alternatives or misspellings of their keywords even though they are not on the viewable text. It is not clear whether this helps or not, but it won’t hurt.
Don't use this tag to “stuff” or repeat keywords. This doesn't help and could hurt with some search engines.
The optimal number of keywords should be between 7 and 48 words.
The Meta Robots Tag
The meta robots tag allows you to control whether or not you want the page to be indexed by search engines. By default, search engine spiders (crawlers) will try to index every page and follow links from one page to the next. The best use of the meta robots tag is when you want to keep the search engine spiders OUT and not let them index a page.
Guidelines to writing a Meta Robots tag:
Make certain you double and triple check your code when using this tag. Improperly formatted tags or the wrong usage could keep search engines from indexing your pages or even your entire web site.
If you use robots.txt file to block search engine spiders, you do not need to use the meta robots tag.
If you want the search engines to index your site, you really don't need to use the tag.
Always place it in the head of the document.
Examples of proper formatting:
Index this page and follow all the links to other pages.
DO NOT Index this page but follow all the links to other pages.
Index this page but DO NOT follow the links to other pages.
DO NOT Index this page AND DO NOT follow all the links to other pages.
Note: Never put more than one meta robot tag on the page or more than one directive in the content area of the tag. Use the tools provided by InstantPosition.com to create your robots meta tag with index and follow already properly placed.
Other Meta Tags
There are many other meta tags besides the ones we've discussed, however, none of them will improve your search engine ranking. Some are for internal search methods and some (such as the revisit tag) have no effect with search engines. In fact, meta tags like the "refresh" tag have been used to "trick" search engine spiders and are now regarded as something that could hurt your ranking with some search engines.
Summary: What Meta tags are important?
The Title Tag: Is very important and has full support
The Meta Description: Is somewhat important and has some support
The Meta Keywords Tag: Is of low importance and has limited support
The Meta Robots Tag: Is only important if you don't want pages indexed
Other Meta Tags: Are not very important in search engine ranking
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, writing good meta tags is only one small part of optimizing your pages for higher positioning. This can be evidenced by the fact that there are many pages in the search engine indexes that rank high without even having meta tags at all. Having good content and using the correct keywords within your content is far more essential. Once you have good content, focus your attention on no more than three keywords per page and then use those words in the title, meta tags and repeatedly in the viewable text on the page. The only truly important meta tag is the Title.