Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Penguin Penalty for Keyword Stuffing

Penguin Penalizes Keyword Stuffing

Google’s latest significant algorithm change, Penguin, was released in late April of this year.  It’s designed to reward high quality websites and penalize what Google calls webspam. One of the kinds of webspam Penguin is focusing on is on-page keyword stuffing.

In the past it was felt that a certain number of iterations of a verbatim keyword phrase was needed in order to score highly enough in relevance and achieve a high ranking in the search engines. Search engines have since gotten much better at understanding matching pages for a query without requiring such verbatim keyword density measures. But many web pages have nevertheless gotten better rankings than they might otherwise deserve due to overly aggressive on-page keyword placement.

Penguin is designed to put those web pages in their place. According to Google:

In the pursuit of higher rankings or traffic, a few sites use techniques that don’t benefit users, where the intent is to look for shortcuts or loopholes that would rank pages higher than they deserve to be ranked. We see all sorts of webspam techniques every day, from keyword stuffing to link schemes that attempt to propel sites higher in rankings.

Have you inadvertently done some keyword stuffing?

Assuming you haven’t engaged in link spam, it would serve you well to examine your on-page optimization. Now a certain presence of important keywords is essential for a page to rank well, so how do you know if you’ve gone overboard? Respected SEO guru Dan Thies has studied a large number of websites and come up with a test you can do yourself with a printout of your web pages. He calls it The Red Pen test and it should give you a good idea of whether you’ve stepped over the line and are in danger of a Penguin slap-down.

We recommend his keyword stuffing test to you  — you’ll find it here.

2 Comments
  1. Looks like only one of our clients has suffered any from this. We’re working on fixing that now.

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