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Adding a List of Keywords

February 28, 2007

Dear Jill,


Great newsletter. My business partner is developing our site and wants to
put a list of keywords at the bottom of some of our shop pages (i.e. below
the text) in the hopes that this will get the search engines to notice us
slightly more.


I am concerned that the search engines will see this in a similar way to
invisible writing, because itís there for the search engines not for the
viewer of the page. Would it be considered body text spamming?

Iím suggesting he put it after the text title, so that itís useful
information for the viewer.


Maybe itís okay to do both?


Many thanks,




++Jillís Response++


Hi Jenny,


You are correct that anything you do on your pages simply for the search
engines that makes no sense for your real human visitors could be considered
search engine spam.  That doesnít mean that the search engines will notice
or care, but thereís always that chance.


Just this week I did a phone consultation with a company whose category
pages had lost most of their rankings in Google.  Itís difficult to pinpoint
the reason for sure, but every page of their site had a list of keywords as
the first thing people saw at the top.  There didnít appear to be any rhyme
or reason for it, other than to try to appeal to search engines.

Basically, it just looked and sounded silly.


A list of keywords plunked on the pages of your website rarely makes sense
from a user perspective, whether at the top of the page or at the bottom.
This is why old-time spammers at least had the sense to make them invisible!
(Not that you should do that either.)


What I never understand about this (and it does come up a lot) is why those
keywords canít be easily worked into the actual copy of the page.  Are they
not relevant to what youíre offering?  If not, they donít belong anywhere on
your site and you donít deserve to rank for them.  If they are indeed
relevant, then it should be a simple matter of writing some descriptive
marketing copy that just happens to use the phrases you would otherwise
stick on the page willy-nilly.


If youíre unsure of how to do that, read Karon Thackstonís past articles
from this newsletter, and/or the articles on her site.  You may want to purchase a
copy of my Nitty-gritty Guide to Writing for the Search Engines as well.

Hope this helps!



Post Comment

 Kim Wells said:
Comment @ 03/01/07 at 1:04 pm  

Hi Jill, The company I am working with say that each page does not need its own keywords,
title or description. I have been learning how to build and write copy for our meat sales. I
find so much conflicting information. My question is this: Should each page have itís own
keyword, title and description? I have learned so much from your site, keep up the wonderful

Thank you, Kim Wells, Wells Family Farms, All Natural Grass Fed Organic Beef
 Jill said:
Comment @ 03/01/07 at 1:23 pm

Hi Kim,

I wonder why your company would say that each page doesnít need its own unique tags? Thatís been pretty common knowledge for quite some time.

You donít need to worry about the Meta keyword tag much, but the Titles and Descriptions should be unique if possible. Minimally, the Titles should be.

Hope this helps!

 Scotch said:
Comment @ 03/01/07 at 4:23 pm

Hi Jill - regarding a list of keywords on a web page - do you think this could be justified on a page containing an image and very little else? Iím thinking here of a page that showcases a stock photo for sale. Other than the caption and possibly some other relevant info like price and size, thereís not much scope (or time) to include addtional written content with relevant keywords that still reads well.

But the vendor does want to get this picture found by photo buyers, who in turn are not looking for written content. So the buyer might search for ďlioness picture +serengeti +horizontalĒ. It is fairly common to find a list of ďkeywordsĒ in small type at the foot of the page on some stock photo websites that include descriptive words like ďhorizontal, profile, predator, strength, arrogance, maternalĒ etc. that could help the photo buyer find a suitable image. So just wondering how the SEs view these and whether they might still penalize the site.

Cheers and thanks for the useful and valuable insights.
 Brian Laks said:
Comment @ 03/07/07 at 1:39 am  

I think the only time you can justify a bunch of links on one page is if itís your site map, and even then it is recommended that it be broken up into multiple pages if it contains over a hundred links. The main links that should be available from each page are those related to your navigation and major site divisions, where you wouldnít want the user to have to go through your site map each time.