I have all of my sites hosted by Go Daddy and I use their templates. Is this impacting my SEO efforts?
Aibek is correct; meta descriptions, if written correctly with keywords relevant to the on-page content, are often shown as the snippets beneath page titles in search results.
It's true that Google hasn't used meta keywords to index content, but other search engines do. Yahoo uses these tags, although it doesn't place much priority on them (http://www.webmasterworld.com/yahoo_search/4003309.htm).
I've heard the theory that Google actually does look at meta keywords, but only as a means of penalizing websites which still continue to spam the keyword tag with irrelevant keywords. And since Google is always hunting for ways to penalize black hat SEO (undoubtedly performed by the kind of professionals who influence jhpot to call the whole industry "BS"), that theory sounds about right to me.
yeah metatags are no longer necessary. Google has said they will no longer pay any attention to metatags and will solely focus on the content.
Metatags may not be useful for actual rankings but they come in handy for publishers who want to have more control over the description snippets shown in SERPs.
A better description snippet gets more clicks and ultimately drives more traffic to the page.
First of all, SEO is not BS. While unique content is important, organic SEO is like the catalog in a library. Without the proper title, and meta tags, your website will be lost among all the others out there. There are a number of aspects to SEO that you cannot simply dismiss (I've been doing it since 1991).
That being said, Mark is correct. GoDaddy is a host, not a blog platform. Search engines like almost all the blog platforms such as WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, etc. The point of a blog is not the platform, but the content and how often it is updated. Blogs are excellent because their content is constantly changing, which is what the search engines like.
GoDaddy's host platform is a fine one, and many people have their websites there. The advantage with WordPress as a website (rather than a blog) is that it is easier for those of us who are not website designers.
I may be misunderstanding you but GoDaddy is a web hosting company and WordPress is a blog software program. How does one relate to the other?
Evn though I agree with jhpot that it's content that gets you to the top of search engines, I do disagree about SEO being BS. There is a real art in knowing how to optimize a site, but it is by no means, limited to what platform you use. The advantage of WordPress is not the platform itself, but the several plugins that allow you to optimize how others link to your site, how it pings to blog aggregators and how easily others can spread the word about your content. You can still do all that with The GoDaddy template, but it's not as easy to do. In the end, it comes back to how well you know how to market your site, and yes, the content.
Thanks for your response - the idea of recreating my websites on another platform is daunting. I'll stay with Go Daddy until I feel comfortable with my skills on Word Press.
I highly recommend you to switch to WordPress. Unlike Justin, I think WordPress does have a big advantage over the other platforms. It's SEO friendly and has lots of plugins that can automate the SEO and let you focus on the content creation.
Also read: How to Optimize Your Blog for Search Engines
First off, most of SEO is more accurately given another acronym: BS. Tricks don't get you to the top of search results; relevant content does.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that, whatever SEO advantage one platform may have over another, it's minor compared to writing quality, unique content. Use whatever service you're comfortable with and your talent and dedication will reflect accurately in your search engine statistics.
MakeUseOf runs primarily on Word Press and I have to say: it's really nice. It's scalable, and there area lot of quality plugins. Plus, it's open source, so you're ensured of its longevity even if WordPress the company dies. But like I said, it's really up to you. Choose wisely!
jhpot - I think you're misleading Barbara immensely. These are ALL sorts of things that WordPress affords you that GoDaddy doesn't that will affect search rankings. All sorts of plugins available to help you rank higher - url structure editing, complete SEO editing. While you are correct that relevant content is important there are TONS of things that WordPress simply does better than a GoDaddy site that will affect not just your initial search ranking but your ability to raise those ranking in the future.