SEO 101: Are you abusing your keywords?
SEO is all about creating, optimising and promoting content. Adding keywords to your website is critical, but overusing or repeating keywords can have a detrimental effect on your online presence.
Many users have learnt how abusing keywords is not in their best interest as it can result in a bad user experience. Search engines are finally wising up to these sneaky tactics and filtering out the offending pages. Read on to find out how you can avoid being one of them.
Types of keyword abuse
Keyword domination comes down to this: The visitors and traffic you get is ultimately determined by the keywords you choose. Utilising the right keywords for your site will help you rank higher whereas overpowering your landing pages with unnecessary keywords will trigger warning signals for the search engines and actually hinder your rankings.
Search engine spam
When there is search, there is spam. Search engine spam is used to artificially inflate rankings and abuse the ranking algorithms and these schemes are on the rise. Spamming may allow your site more exposure, but will lead to an unsatisfactory search experience.
Overloading a page with keywords, otherwise known as keyword stuffing, is an ineffective way to appear more relevant in search engines. However, this ‘trick’ is more of a problem than it’s worth because Google will penalise your site if they catch you. Your page could be demoted in rankings or removed all together.
So instead of trying to overload your site with repeated keywords, opt for using longtail keywords that will attract visitors by using a specific combination of several terms.
A popular form of web spam, also known as manipulative link acquisition, artificially improves visibility by exploiting the search engines’ use of link popularity. This type of spam comes in many different forms, including:
- Reciprocal link exchange programs – Where sites create link pages that point back and forth to one another in an attempt to inflate link popularity.
- Link schemes – Which include “link farms” and “link networks” where fake or low value websites are built or maintained purely as link sources to artificially inflate popularity.
- Paid links – Those seeking to earn higher rankings buy links from sites and pages willing to place a link in exchange for money.
- Low quality directory links – A large number of pay-for-placement web directories exist to serve this market and pass themselves off as legitimate, with varying degrees of success.
Hiding text in a HTML code on your website, that is not visible to normal visitors, is often referred to as cloaking. When cloaking occurs, search engines will take action to prevent these pages from ranking in their results.
How to check if you’ve been bad
- Errors – Errors on your site that may have inhibited or prevented crawling. Google’s Search Console is a good, free place to start.
- Changes – Changes to your site that may have changed the way search engines view your content. E.g. on-page changes, internal link structure changes, content moves, etc.
- Similarity – Check for sites that share similar backlink profiles and see if they’ve also lost rankings. When the engines update ranking algorithms, link valuation and importance can shift, causing ranking movements.
- Duplicate content – Modern websites are rife with duplicate content problems, especially when they scale to large size.