In the early days of the Internet and web usage, the key factor
was to optimize a website so that the chances of getting hits or being
viewed in a search engine were above average to very high. This came to
be known as 'search engine optimization'. Soon, most websites were
manipulating their web page rankings with 'keyword stuffing' to ensure
higher rankings on search engines such as Google.
method of ensuring higher optimization through search engines became so
competitive that ethics and common sense seem to have vanished from the
scene altogether. Websites were created with keywords jumbling and
cascading one into the other, affiliates, back-links, redirects and link
schemes being used rampantly. As one blogger writes, websites soon
became mere pages with 'keyword stuffing' or over usage of keywords and
phrases combined with 'odd use of keywords, nonsense phrases, keyword
variations' and many others classified as 'unreadable junk' that soon
passed off as web content.
Over-optimization of websites
practice of simply shoving or putting as many 'SEO' keywords or "over
optimization" of a webpage has long worried web masters and
administrators and put them in a quandary of how to establish ethics and
curb this practice for many reasons. Ranking high on the priority list
are "terrible user experiences" because visitors to a website are not
interested in seeing a single word or phrase repeated over a 100 times
randomly through the pages of a website.
The factors identifying over-optimized websites are:
• Title elements of pages stuffed with keywords
• Lengthy URL strings with rich keywords
• Web pages filled with SEO content that are really unintended for visitor usage
• Low quality editorial links to back-link profiles
Search engines like Google soon began to use methods to filter out
web content with pages of offending keyword stuffing because these web
pages were by and large aimed at getting maximum hits and not providing
useful content for the visitor or customer.
The dangers of over-optimizing
These are many.
once a visitor to a website finds the content lacking in useful
details, he or she is not likely to come back to the site again. There
goes a lost potential customer or referral that could in real payback
terms cost a lot.
Secondly, 'keyword stuffing' is today looked at
as an 'unnatural' tactic; it could have a few short-term benefits but
long-term returns are lost out completely.
Google's technical team
is working out ways and means to eliminate the habit of keyword
stuffing because it is unethical in the competitive sense. By making
GoogleBot more efficient and smarter they are looking at making content
relevance better. This is easier said than done. Finding web users who
abuse the Internet by loading irrelevant content and too many back links
is the best way to eliminate keyword stuffing of web content.
one of the top tech executives at Google puts it, "it is a tough world
out there; but the onus of ensuring that good web content gets higher
rankings than those who simply use tactics to influence ratings rests
with us. It is not fair to those who make great content and a great
website but do not feature in the search rankings". On the whole, Google
has made it very clear that websites using methods that focus on
beating their search engine algorithms are likely to be de-ranked or
removed from the web altogether.
In other words, keyword stuffing
is proving to be the undoing of many and is a dangerous game being
played out on the web. The onus is on websites to change the way they
use the web from 'keyword stuffing to responsible keyword optimization'.
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