Yesterday Google confirmed that they do not use keyword meta tag in web ranking. To be fair, “most” of the SEO experts had worked that out (for years?). I believe Google did this because of a recent legal battle regarding “copying” of keywords.
But the most interesting part of the post, for me at least, was:
Even though we sometimes use the description meta tag for the snippets we show, we still don’t use the description meta tag in our ranking.
I always thought that way too. Description meta tag is a ‘description’ of a page and although Google does highlight certain words, it doesn’t really rank results on the basis of it.
And the big question, is it a good thing? Hell yes! You don’t want people to ‘spam’ description meta tags with:
keyword1, keyword2. Looking for keyword1, keyword2. Then you can find keyword1, keyword2 here where we offer keyword1, keyword2 at amazing cheap keyword1, keyword2 prices. [...]more jibbrish[...]
I just hope people pick this up and start writing good user-friendly (or at the very least grammatically correct) descriptions.
Matt Cutts has explained it more clearly in a comment on his blog:
[...] meta descriptions don’t count in scoring (that is, determining the scores which are then used to determine what order to show the results in). So changing your meta description tag won’t make your website rank higher. When we show snippets, we can sometimes use the meta description as the snippet that we show. [...]