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How to Add Meta Keywords in WordPress Without a Plugin?

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Meta keywords have traditionally been used in HTML to provide search engines with additional information about the content of a web page. Although their importance has diminished over the years due to changes in search engine algorithms, some webmasters still choose to include meta keywords as part of their SEO strategy. Adding meta keywords in WordPress without using a plugin can be accomplished by manually editing your theme files. This article will guide you through the process of adding meta keywords manually, ensuring your site remains optimized.

Understanding Meta Keywords

Meta keywords are a type of meta tag that appear in the HTML code of a web page. They are intended to offer search engines a list of keywords that are relevant to the page's content. Although Google no longer uses meta keywords for ranking purposes, other search engines like Bing might still consider them. Therefore, adding meta keywords can still be part of a comprehensive SEO strategy.

Steps to Add Meta Keywords Manually

To add meta keywords manually in WordPress, you will need to edit your theme's header file. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Access the Theme Editor

  1. Log In to Your WordPress Admin Panel:
    • Navigate to yourwebsite.com/wp-admin and log in with your credentials.
  2. Navigate to the Theme Editor:
    • In the left-hand menu, go to Appearance > Theme Editor. This will open the Theme Editor where you can access your theme files.
  3. Select the Header File:
    • In the Theme Editor, find and click on the header.php file in the list of theme files on the right side. This file controls the head section of your WordPress site.

Step 2: Add Meta Keywords in the Header File

  1. Locate the <head> Section:
    • In the header.php file, locate the opening <head> tag. You will add your meta keywords within this section.
  2. Insert Meta Keywords:
    • Add the following code just below the opening <head> tag:
<meta name="keywords" content="keyword1, keyword2, keyword3">
  • Replace keyword1, keyword2, keyword3 with your relevant keywords. Make sure to separate each keyword with a comma.
  1. Save Changes:
    • Once you have added the meta keywords, scroll down and click the Update File button to save your changes.

Step 3: Adding Meta Keywords Dynamically

To make the process more efficient, especially for individual posts or pages, you can add meta keywords dynamically using custom fields and PHP code.

  1. Create Custom Fields for Meta Keywords:
    • When editing a post or page in WordPress, scroll down to the Custom Fields section.
    • Click Add New and create a field named meta_keywords.
    • Enter your desired keywords in the value field and save your changes.
  2. Modify the Header File to Include Dynamic Keywords:
    • In the header.php file, add the following PHP code within the <head> section to dynamically include meta keywords from custom fields:
<?php
if (is_single() || is_page()) {
$meta_keywords = get_post_meta(get_the_ID(), 'meta_keywords', true);
if ($meta_keywords) {
echo '<meta name="keywords" content="' . esc_attr($meta_keywords) . '">';
}
}
?>
  • This code checks if the current page or post has a meta_keywords custom field and, if so, inserts it into the head section of the HTML.

Step 4: Testing and Verification

After adding the meta keywords, it’s important to verify that they are correctly implemented:

  1. Clear Your Cache:
    • Clear your browser cache to ensure you see the latest changes.
  2. Inspect the HTML:
    • Visit your website and right-click on the page, then select Inspect or View Page Source to check the HTML code.
    • Look for the meta keywords tag within the <head> section to confirm it is present and correct.
  3. Test Different Posts and Pages:

    • Ensure that the meta keywords are displaying correctly on various posts and pages, especially if you have implemented dynamic keywords.

Best Practices for Meta Keywords

  1. Relevance:
    • Ensure that the keywords you use are relevant to the content on the page. Irrelevant keywords can harm your SEO efforts.
  2. Avoid Keyword Stuffing:
    • Do not overuse keywords. This can lead to penalties from search engines. Focus on quality rather than quantity.
  3. Consistency:
    • Maintain consistency in using meta keywords across your website to build a coherent SEO strategy.
  4. Update Regularly:
    • Periodically review and update your meta keywords to reflect any changes in your content or SEO strategy.

Conclusion

Adding meta keywords in WordPress without a plugin involves editing your theme’s header.php file and possibly using custom fields for dynamic keyword insertion. While meta keywords may not be as crucial for SEO as they once were, they can still play a role in a comprehensive SEO strategy. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can manually add meta keywords to your WordPress site, ensuring that it remains optimized for search engines that still consider meta keywords. Always remember to keep your keywords relevant, avoid keyword stuffing, and update them regularly to maintain effective SEO practices.

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