Keyword regulations have changed in the past few years and it’s important that you are not over optimising. There are still a lot of website articles out there that give the wrong information. The general advice is that if the blog article is talking about keywords and is dated 2013 or early it is safe to assume it is incorrect. I have just finished marking my 2nd year degree students’ website optimisation coursework and too often I was seeing sources from 2011 which were incorrect, giving completely the wrong information. Remember not everything on the internet is correct.

Black Hat SEO

Black hat SEO is a practice that increases a page’s rank in search engines through means that violate the search engines’ terms of service. The term “black hat” is a reference to Western films where the good and bad guys are distinguished by their black or white hats.

These practices are against the search engine’s terms of service and can result in the site being banned from the search engine and affiliate sites. A list of tactics and strategies employed by black hat SEO practitioners have been openly denounced on Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Keyword Stuffing

SEO practitioners who fill their text content with target keywords engage in a black hat practice known as keyword stuffing.

Search engine crawlers index websites, in part, by analysing the keywords and key phrases on the website’s pages. Some SEO practitioners include significant amounts of similar keywords into the webpage content, disregarding whether or not they are relevant to the content of the page or even make sense.

Generally, a keyword density of between 2% and 4% is considered optimal; anything above that is considered black hat. In some cases, this results in grammatically incorrect or even unreadable pages. However, these practitioners hope to improve their website’s chances of being ranked high in searches for those keywords and phrases.

This is a widely known practice and penalties can be severe. In 2011, Google released Panda – a series of updates that discouraged various black hat abuses, including keyword stuffing. This resulted in significantly diminished search engine rankings for many websites.

Irrelevant Keywords

Don’t try to gain traffic by using keywords that are not relevant to your site.

In the old days of SEO, some webmaster would place adult-themed keywords in their content in order to gain some of the search traffic for those queries. Obviously, anyone with a penchant for adult-themed content is probably not going to convert on a page that is not adult-themed. Don’t expect the conversion rate to go up.

As Google indexes your site, it will take into consideration all the keywords that you use across the entire domain, then rank your site for relevant queries. Too much content or keywords that are unrelated will detract from the overall strength of the site in the SERPs.

Non-branded, keyword-dense URLs

Don’t try to cram keywords into your URL. Your brand name should be your URL, simple.

Picking the URL “supercheapcellphones.com” may sound smart, but it’s placing you on high alert for keyword stuffing. If your company name is Super Cheap Cell Phones, then it could make sense to have that URL, but if it isn’t then you should not create a URL simply for its keyword value. Your brand name is too important to be compromised by making it a keyword. Besides, if you want to rank for branded traffic, you need to have something different in your brand name — not just keywords.

Conclusion

When it comes to keywords, quality always wins over quantity. If you focus on keywords over content then it’s likely you will be penalised for using black hat SEO. By using a few relevant, strong keywords and phrases throughout your website, you will rank much higher than someone who has used so many keywords that the content no longer makes sense.