“About a decade ago, search engines judged pages only on the content of web pages, not any so-called “off-page” factors such as the links pointing to a web page,” explains Google’s Matt Cutts in a Webmaster Central video.  “In those days, keyword meta tags quickly became an area where someone could stuff often-irrelevant keywords without typical visitors ever seeing those keywords. Because the keywords meta tag was so often abused, many years ago Google began disregarding the keywords meta tag.”

Google Ignores Keywords Meta Tag

But Cutts says just because Google ignores the “keywords” meta tag doesn’t mean it ignores all meta tags.  There are several that the search engine uses. For example, Google sometimes uses the “description” meta tag as the text for search results. But even then, the “description” meta tag isn’t used to influence ranking.

Google also recognizes the “google,” “robots,” “verify-v1,” “content type,” and “refresh” meta tags.