Spam refers to any strategy that is designed to “cheat” the search engines into giving you a higher ranking than your page deserves. Many websites employ spammy techniques without realizing they are doing it.
For instance, look closely at the “Head” section of your Web page. If you see meta tags like subject, author, copyright, and publisher you should be aware that they are NOT meant to be used as places to stuff keywords. This is spam.
Never put keywords into these tags in an attempt to influence ranking. You are actually better off getting rid of the tags altogether. They’re not needed on your pages, (even if you’re using them correctly.) As a matter of fact, there are several places you DON’T want to stuff your keywords on a web page.
Here are some rules to keep in mind for keyword placement:
- Don’t put too many keywords in your meta tags – Keyword stuffing is when you place several keywords in one area. Each pages should focus on 1 to 2 keywords. The content on that pages needs to relate to those keywords. Putting several keywords in a title tag or description tag takes the focus off of the main keyword you want to be found for. You should actually have no more than 12 to 15 keywords in your keyword meta tag and this is the only place where that many keywords should go at one time.
- Don’t put keywords in the alt tags – Alt tags should be used to describe your image. They also display descriptive information about the image when you roll over it with your mouse. In addition, people with handicaps that require the computer to read the contents of a page to them. Since the whole idea of having a website is to give your reader the information they want, a bunch of keywords isn’t going to help. The search engines know this and consider atl tags stuffed with keywords to be spam.
- Don’t put keywords in your content haphazardly – Too often I am reading content on a web page and it’s a little off due to the copywriter throwing keywords in the content just to make sure they get in there. You have to think of your content as king. Content should read well with a flow that keeps the reader wanting to read more.
- Don’t put a bunch of keywords at the bottom of your pages – This is a big no no and will get you flagged. Often, I scroll to the bottom of a page and see a huge paragraph of keywords. Not only is this monster list of keywords there, it’s in an almost unreadable font and color. This is spamming and keyword stuffing and will get you in trouble.
If you are not sure if you are stuffing or spamming, look at it like this… If you have to ask yourself, is what I am about to do considered “black hat” or are you thinking you could trick the search engines to get higher rankings, than you probably are spamming. They may not catch on right away but they will eventually and the end result could be disasterous.
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Steve Scott is the CEO & Director of Training at the Tampa SEO Training Academy. He has taught SEO skills to people from around the world and currently offers his hands-on search engine optimization training workshops in Tampa to individuals and businesses of all sizes. Corporate SEO training classes and consulting are also available.