Monty Python inadvertently gave the world a nickname for the overuse of unwanted things like junk emails, and, yes, keywords. I, as a long time Monty Python fan, have long appreciated the origin of the use of this word. What I don’t appreciate is when I have to use the same word and force it into clunky sentences 16 times in a 350 word post much in the same fashion as the famous skit. That’s why I was grateful for the Panda algorithm change that brought an end to the use of keyword spam. No longer did I have to kludge sentences together in an otherwise flowing piece of work and cringe at the aftermath.
Panda struck in 2011 and changed the world of SEO for good, or, so I thought. Lately I’ve been noticing keyword spam creeping back into content orders much the same as those pesky Vikings singing the chorus in the skit, and it’s not a good sign. I initially thought that it’s due to the occasional content manager using bad information for search engine ranking. But then I started seeing orders from different clients requesting the same kind of keyword density and poor formatting. That signaled to me that there’s bad information going around the content management world about the excessive use of keywords to rank on search engines. It’s time to remind people of why keyword spam is a bad thing and why it needs to be left to the Pythons.
Why Keyword Spam is a Thing of the Past
Once upon a time, content management operations were able to manipulate search engines via the use of poorly written content. The search engines hadn’t updated their algorithms to detect thin content, keyword overuse, back links, and nonsensical website URLs. That allowed black hat SEO operations to get their clients on the front page without a lot of effort. Here’s how it worked:
People would type in simple search phrases for items like ”little black dress” or ”pajamas”. Inevitably they would get top-level search results from J.C. Penney or another major retailer participating in black hat SEO. The goal was to get around organic search results and consistently land on the first page and at the top.
The end result was that Matt Cutts, Google’s head of Web Spam, pushed out the Panda algorithm that punished websites who were trying to get around organic search results. J.C. Penney, once at the top of the results, fell mightily. Those algorithms are still active and are efficient at weeding out keyword spam. And all search engines use similar algorithms to eliminate bad search results.
Keyword Spam Creates Thin Content
Say you have a blog post of 500 words and you want a handful of keywords put in multiple times and with no variation. I, as your writer, have to write clunky sentences, find creative ways to use the words in a way that makes sense, and keep the content flowing. It’s not as easy as you think, nor is it going to result in content that reads well. People are going to read the content, and they won’t stick around if it’s garbage.
It Hurts Your Search Results
Web crawlers are key to getting your website to rank. Their job is to locate and identify specific signals on your pages and that includes keyword use. Too much keyword use and the crawler will send the message back that there’s too many and this page might be not what it seems. Your site loses ranking as a result and you might have a hard time getting back to where you were.
Just Don’t Do it
As a writer, I hate keyword spam with a passion. I have to write as instructed instead of having a little freedom to let my fingers flow on the keyboard. I can’t alter the keyword to make it read better, and I can only be so clever when forcing words to fit into a sentence. It’s awful and I don’t enjoy doing it at all.
There may be a salty veteran of the pre-Panda SEO days preaching about the heavy-handed use of keywords as being key to getting front page ranking on search engines. However, that ship has sailed and took the Vikings and Terry Jones with them. It’s just not cool, doesn’t result in good content, and is going to ultimately make your website look bad. It’s better to use organic techniques such as latent semantic indexing to get results instead of firing a shotgun full of spam at the screen. Staying away from keyword spam means your site wins instead of loses.
Michele G is always making something, whether it be a piece of jewelry, a hat or a garment. For a different side of her, she has spent most of her life working with horses and has done just about everything there is to do with those of the equid persuasion. Other interests are various and capricious, such as being fascinated with income taxes, various aspects of the law across the U.S., and studying the IRS.