Once upon a time, the meta keywords tag was a great way to improve your ranking for the keywords you desired. You just entered you favorite keywords in it and the site started ranking better for that keyword. As you might have guessed, people soon started abusing the keywords tag. Because of this, most of the major search engines (including Google) have dropped the meta keywords tag as a ranking signal.
Photo credits: ogimogi
Lucky for us, thousands upon thousands of webmasters still enter the keywords they wish to target in the meta keywords tag, which created a great keyword research possibility. By looking up websites related to your own (future) website, you can extract the targeted keywords from them, and target these keywords yourself!
Say you are developing a (purely hypothetical ;-) website that sells Joomla templates. How could you use the meta keywords tag to research possible keywords to target on that website?
1. Go to Google.com if you are targeting an international audience, or the local version of Google if you are targeting a country specific audience
2. Type your search query in the input box, in our case: joomla templates
3. Open the top 10 (or 20, 50, 100 depending on how thorough you want to do your research) results
4. Open the source code (usually ctrl-u, or search for 'view source' in your browser menu)
5. Search the source code for the meta keywords tag (ctrl-f on the term 'keywords' is fastest)
6. Extract the keywords listed in the meta tag
The extraction of keywords from the 10 sites above resulted in over 250 non-duplicate keywords. Some of them are pretty self-evident such as:
Others create interesting opportunities for keywords to target with content or on your entire website such as:
Happy keyword researching!