Why Keyword Stuffing and Buying Links Is Never Good For Your Website
The Penguin update of Google’s search engine algorithm last April has raised the issues of keyword stuffing and link buying with Matt Cutts indicating that these practices are definitely ‘Black Hat’ SEO in Google’s eyes1. This almost creates an impression that there was a time when keyword-stuffed, over optimized content were considered to be good quality websites while in fact this has never been the case. Creating websites has never been about making pages that the crawlers will like, and even the most gratuitously hard sell websites need to use at least some good content to drive their sales.
Buying Links has Always Been a Bad Deal
It was once a common practice for a new website start up to buy links to the site to give it an initial SEO boost. These links were often from sites that had little to do with the page that bought them and linking schemes have always been on the fringes of Black Hat SEO. The boom in new websites saw a concurrent boom in link farm pages which were made for the express purpose of placing pages of meaningless links online to give client pages better page rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs). To counter this Google has started to penalize websites that have a lot of their SEO based on links and those that use links to known link schemes. But even before this evolution these bought links added little or no real long term value to websites.
Their effect on SEO was always fleeting as they didn’t generate any genuine organic traffic, and so they lead to very few conversions. This is distinctly different to paying for directory listings for your business which will benefit your SEO and send real customers to your site. These sites, like Yellow Pages Online and other business directories, don’t charge for the link; their fee is to cover the cost of the listing. If you are going to spend money on building your SEO by purchasing, then it is better spent on good directory listings than on shady link farms.
Good Keyword Use is Just Plain English
Anyone that has seen a keyword stuffed page will know what poor quality content it usually is. Websites that have overused keywords in an attempt to improve their page ranking in the SERPs is always hard to read and would certainly have bounce rates near the 100% mark. Keywords are still important to the search engines as they tell the crawlers what your content is about, but if they exceed what would be normal usage, then the content is going to be very hard, if not impossible to read. Producing pages of unreadable copy has never been the way to create a good website that delivers the quality user experience that the search engines want to promote.
High quality content has well written copy which by its nature should have a good distribution of keywords and shouldn’t need to be optimized to be legible to the crawlers. Images should be tagged with keywords because they relate to the topic on the page not because adding half a dozen random images tagged with keywords improves the SEO. All of this points to the fact that Google’s continual updates aren’t eliminating well written, carefully crafted websites from the SERPs, but only the web spam sites that none of us want to see anyway. These updates aren’t meant to penalize good websites, only to reduce the number of poor ones we see when we use the search engines. Good websites have never needed to stuff keywords into their copy; their content has given them the rank that they deserve all along.