Content Creation

How to Avoid Getting Penalized for Looking Like a Spammer

Brad Smith
January 2, 2013

Every few months, Google releases an algorithm update that changes or alters how ranking factors are calculated.

The result is that some websites will see increase rankings, while others will fall a few pages (or off altogether).

One of the main goals of Google’s Penguin algorithm update was to combat “over-optimization” tactics like keyword stuffing.

This was a shady practice to get quick rankings by using a specific keyphrase repeatedly through-out your website. People starting worrying about their “keyword density” per page.

But as more and more people began manipulating the system, Google wised up.

Now if you use too many keyphrases on a page, it signals that you’re spamming.

How to Avoid Looking Like a Spammer

When something easy works, people exploit it as much as possible.

They want instant gratification and easy wins.

SEO used to be easy. You could manipulate the dumb search engines with obvious tactics and make it to the top of the rankings.

However Google changed the game. They figured out how to create a dynamic algorithm that returned authentic, and more relevant results.

They also continuously make changes to their algorithm. Each year, Google changes it’s algorithm up to 500 – 600 times!

That’s why it’s difficult to learn SEO. The rules of the game are always changing.

Once a factor is abused and manipulated, Google will flip it and drop its significance.

So the things that used to work really well even a year or two ago, will now be a signal of manipulation to search engines.

One example is the Meta Keywords Tag. People have long abused keywords as a way to game the search engines.

The quantity of keywords on a page used to matter, and people discussed things like keyword density to talk about on-page optimization.

But now it’s a clear sign that you’re manipulating the search engines.

Bing recently confirmed to SearchEngineLand that they use the meta keywords tag to identify spammers.

If you’re still using it, then make sure you’re only using one keyword per page. Or just forget about it entirely.

Today’s lesson?

Make sure you’re ignoring bad SEO advice, and learn about how SEO complements your online marketing – not solves it.

How to Find Out Which Keywords You’re Optimizing For

If you’ve personally handled any SEO on your website, then you probably already know what keyphrases you’re using on each page.

But what if you didn’t? Or what if you had someone else, like an SEO or web design company, do it for you?

Here’s how you can find out…

Type in your homepage URL, and when it’s done loading, right click and select “View Page Source” to pull up the page’s HTML code.

Now look for the “Meta Keyword Tag” which looks like this:

These are the main SEO keyphrases your website is optimized for.

If you have more than one or two in the homepage keywords metatag, then I would suggest you remove them and focuse on the highest priority.