The debate hot over whether or not keywords are helpful to a website’s “seobility.”  Those who defend them swear that they are the secret ingredient to having a well-ranked site.  Are keywords beneficial, and are they worth the time it takes to carefully think them out and place them?

Short answer: No.  Keywords are not necessary.

Long answer: No.  Keywords used to be beneficial, and Google’s crawlers would take them into consideration while ranking what terms your website should be placed under for queries.  However, the abuse of keywords led Google to publically declare in 2009 that keywords were no longer a factor in a site’s rankings.  Both Yahoo! and Bing followed suit, and while Bing encourages webmasters to still fill out the meta keyword slot, most search engine optimization experts agree that it’s a total waste of time.

How were keywords abused?  Webmasters who wanted their sites to rank high would put in irrelevant keywords that were commonly typed in in order to rank for those words and score some SERPs.  This obviously resulted in a degraded user experience as searchers looking for information about a certain dog breed wound up on a totally irrelevant site – the webmaster’s.  It worked well for the owner of the website when one out of every 100 people searching for dogs decided they needed a website instead of dog information and he sealed a job, but not for the majority of users.  Google prides itself on delivering results that meet the needs of the searcher and wants to serve up relevant pages, but that can’t happen if it includes something that is being abused to manipulate web traffic.

So, don’t believe anyone who tells you to spend your time thinking of keywords to put in your site.  Spend your time rather on coming up with better content for your site because THAT will help boost rankings.