Meta Tags are dead?

What role Meta tags do play in Search engine optimization (SEO)? I think this question can be partly answered by stating - The effectiveness of tags depends on the ever changing processes and criteria search engines use to rank pages.

In the good old days, the keywords tag played a vital role in determining the position of websites in the result pages of all the important search engines. You could stuff, repeat and overkill your keywords tags with important and relevant golden words. You could trick and redirect searches to sites using 'sexy' and irrelevant words and phrases, consequently keywords have become useless for searching and quite frankly the sooner keywords disappear from meta tags the better.

However, always use your own keyword phrase(s) in your meta tags in the source code of your web site. Experiment with different words, place them in the tags and wait for a few weeks and then conduct a search on the major search engines to work out the ranking of your web site - then see if your keyword meta tags have been successful in improving your ranking.

The important thing to remember though is that the visible content of your site is the most important search engine optimization weapon in your arsenal. Well written content and text is strategically a far more useful use of your time than messing about with key word tags.