There is a big debate within the SEO community on whether or not the meta tags are even used now days by some of the major search engines. Some will say that a major SE like Google no longer look at the meta tag information (keywords meta tag) and instead will analyze the title, text, links and link text to determine what the website is about.
Others will say that the major SE’s, like Yahoo! look at the meta tag information (including the keywords met tag) but just give it less weight than they used to give it. The days of spamming a keywords meta tag in order to achieve high rankings are long gone.
Since no one knows definitively how or if the meta tags are still used by the major SE’s and since meta tag optimization will not hurt your website in the rankings it is still a good idea to optimize the meta tag information.
First, it is a good idea to perform meta tag optimization because it may help with some of the search engines like Yahoo! and some of the minor SE’s. Second, it is helpful to perform meta tag optimization since it will help clarify the important keywords for the person who is optimizing the web site. The keywords in a meta tag need to match the keywords chosen for a web page or web site. Knowing your keywords will help to keep you on task.
Third, when submitting a web site to some directories, the directory may spider your web site looking only at the meta tag info for the verbiage to include in their site. If meta tag optimization has not been performed on a page, then the directory spider will come up empty and may fail to index your web site. If meta tag optimization has been conducted prior to your link building campaign, it will save a lot of time when coming across sites that spider your pages for this information.
So, meta tag optimization may not be as important as it used to be as far as attaining high rankings in the search engines, but it is still may be important for some SE’s. In addition, it is important in helping to clarify the important keywords for the web page or site and it is also important when submitting your site to a directory that spiders web pages. Meta tag optimization cannot hurt you, but it can help you so it is still an important part of search engine optimization.