First off, what is a Meta tag??? A meta tag is text that describes your site or individual post inside of the HTML header. It was designed so search engines can quickly index your site and use the “key words” in those tags to provide more relevant results. Here are a couple of examples:
<meta name="description" content="Why my kids are so great." /> <meta name="keywords" content="stories, kids, children, great" />
Back in the day, maybe 5-10 years ago, you would place these tags in your HTML so you would be more relevant in the search engines. So why am I writing about this?
Well, for some reason I wanted to verify my tags were being filled in by WordPress so I decided to look at the source of one of my posts and realized the “keywords” meta tag was no longer there! Apparently WordPress no longer puts them in there by default. I read this article which explains why and it seems to make sense as search engines like Google no longer really use them. The post also shows you the PHP code you can use to have them put back into your posts.
Then… I found this post (Google Wants You To Use Keyword Metatags… No, Really). It backs up the WordPress article and even introduces a new Google keyword for “news”, the keyword is “news_keywords”. So if your content is true “news” you should be using that. Lastly, there is also an embedded video on that blog (from YouTube) where Matt Cutts, a Google Software Engineer, answers the question directly.