17/02/2012

By Nick James, Fresh Business Thinking

Keyword Stuffing

According to Google "Keyword stuffing" refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords in an attempt to manipulate a site's ranking in their search results.

In the old days of search engine optimisation this was a wide spread practice that was based upon the premise that search engines wanted to understand what a site was about and therefore the more times you told them what the site was about using ‘keywords’ and ‘key word phrases’ the better.

A little bit like the sleazy salesperson that keeps on telling you how good his ‘snake oil’ is, over and over again — even the most polite person at a cocktail party is going to be looking around for someone more interesting to talk to.

So this short article is about ‘keyword stuffing’ so it makes sense to use the phrase a number of times, but only in context to the subject matter of the article.
However if I continued to ramble on filling the page with supposed ‘keywords’ then the article would be boring, useless and would probably get penalised by search engines.

In their ‘flight to quality’ search engines are trying to deliver us the most relevant web pages based on our search query and in the process rid us of bogus, irrelevant ‘spam’.

It’s such a pity we don’t have the same ability to rid ourselves of the boring, sleazy salesperson so easily!

Hidden text and links

Google and the major search engines will also penalise a site that has ‘hidden text’ because;

Hiding text or links in your content can cause your site to be perceived as untrustworthy since it presents information to search engines differently than to visitors.”

In a sense this is ‘misrepresentation’ and to give another real world example it’s like someone pretending they’re interested in a subject (for example internet marketing), turning up at a conference, seminar or networking event about internet marketing and then revealing themselves as a time-share salesperson who is only there to try and sell their wares.

In the real world this isn’t usually cost-effective as the ‘hit rate’ is going to be so low, but online, with cost of entry and route to market minimal, it is something that used to make some sort of commercial sense. Now thankfully sites with hidden text are less likely to appear in search engine results and may even be removed from a search engine’s index altogether.

By the way I have nothing against time-share sales people, or sales people of any type — I just don’t like to be ‘ambushed’ either online or offline.

Nick James will be speaking at The Online Business Makeover at Microsoft HQ, London on 12th March 2012. To find out more about top content for search engines and actual readers, as well as how to use social media to boost your online presence, book today! Plus, quote promotional code ONLY200 when you book and save 1/3 off the full ticket price of £299+VAT!


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