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Major Brands Keyword Stuffing

 7:13 am on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Today I noticed a major brand in Australia doing some serious keyword stuffing on their site. The primary keywords for the page were repeated at least 59 times on one page. At least half of them were hyperlinked. When I say major brand I mean one of the highest traffic sites in the country (ASX listed) with some serious brand recognition. They simply don't need this type of content in order to rank but they do have plenty of it and clearly they have a free pass that would get plenty of smaller sites banned for a very long time.



 8:24 am on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

This would get smaller sites banned or pushed to the second or thir page for OOP?

How long has this been going on?

Are those efforts being rewarded, are they ranking for what they are trying to rank for?


 9:41 am on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure how long it's been going on for but the site is very well established. I do wonder what would happen if I filed spam report with Google? And yes the site is ranking all over the place.


 10:13 am on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've seen this before too. These sites rarely get banned due to size so I wonder if their tactics are dampened when detected.


 11:53 am on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Didn't BMW get Google-slapped for doing this a few years ago?


 1:19 pm on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

If I remember correctly the BMW issues were related to doorway pages being used, although I might be mistaken.

I see a lot of what we'd call blackhat by a number of large sites, but equally I see a huge number of big brand sites ranking highly with websites that seem to not practice white hat. I don't mean that they are doing anything wrong, more that they are not doing what could be classed as standard for good SEO i.e. on page content, h-tag structures, titles and so on.

What would be worth knowing, and I suspect might be harder to prove, is whether the said Australian site (and other brand sites) are ranking because of the stuffing they are doing or because of the huge number of back links they no doubt have. i.e. if they toned down the keyword stuffing, would they still rank highly anyway.

If this is the case, then perhaps the stuffing is being overlooked slightly.


 3:08 pm on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hmm, a popular website keyword stuffing and not being penalized....IMHO, if a website is very popular and constantly searched for and it is what users really want to see when they do a search (Due to history that Google has about the site), a few stuffed keywords will not kill a site because of the popularity factors of the algorithm trump the keyword stuffing. Some parts of the algo are a bit heavier than other parts and popularity and a well known brand are more than likely the best things any website can have. If you think about it, If Google did kill them in the search engines rankings and a lot of users are not finding what they want, what will those users do to find it? Mmmm....They will Bing it or Yahoo it and find it and Google will lose some searchers which they really do not want to do.... We as SEO's might not like that, but after all Google is about their searchers and what they want to find.


 3:16 pm on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google is about their searchers and what they want to find.

I repsectfully disagree.

Google used to be about what you want to find, now it's about what Google THINKS you want to find.


 4:06 pm on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

or what google thinks you may want to find but probably hadnt even thought of looking for along with lots of ppc ads, google products and loosley related off at a tangent items after 2 or 3 tight results for the actual search term? Almost as though the idea of a tight search engine was long ago binned? More now a pool of thought and suggestions? Perhaps simply an extension of the original idea of pr where you weight results according to what OTHERS have already declared an opinion on? So measuring where and what users do as a mass of people shares the same logic as weighting for links? So maybe they havent changed their thinking at all? Just progressed with the concept and moneytarised it somewhat?


 4:14 pm on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google used to be about what you want to find, now it's about what Google THINKS you want to find.

Sure, but still THINKS you want to find brands.

Big sites really do have a lot of protection from penalties. I've commented before on the fact that different types of sites get different treatments. An ecom does not usually compete for position with an info site, and it certainly doesn't need as many links for any given position.

Then there is a kind of Superleague which you need to belong to for stable top-3 ranking on competitive SERPs. Get a few competitive SERPs, and you get immunity from quite a lot of "rubbish" on-page SEO, and most off-page SEO.

At the end of the day, keyword stuffing doesn't work. It doen't need dampening or banning because it's useless. It's been a while since I saw a penalty doled out for such pointless dross, unless it contributes to an overall devaluation of quality.


 10:15 pm on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

it would be interesting to see what happens to this page if we all keyword stuff. For example:
buy blue furry widgets here get your brand new blue furry widgets at discount and cheap prices with our amazing blue furry widgets. These blue furry widgets are out best selling widget and we make them blue and also furry.


 10:30 pm on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

The algo changes throughout time, so if they used to use keywords (more specifically keyword density) as an indication of topicality and people keyword stuffed they would reasonably and rationally have to 'filter' results appearing to be 'stuffed' in an effort to take advantage of the algo, but if they moved beyond simple keyword usage and got further into processing the English language, say by moving to a phrase based topicality model, they would eliminate the need to base rankings on keywords and at the same time eliminate the need to 'filter' or 'penalize' for stuffing, because site owners could no longer take advantage of the algo by using the technique.

IOW: If you eliminate the need to base rankings on a certain variable, you also eliminate the need to 'filter' or 'penalize' sites (pages) based on misguided attempts to influence rankings based on the variable eliminated, because it no longer works in either direction...


 10:32 pm on Feb 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

what happens to this page if we all keyword stuff

Nothing would happen due to the nature and authority of this site.

[edited by: tedster at 11:04 pm (utc) on Feb 12, 2010]
[edit reason] added quote for reference [/edit]


 12:04 am on Feb 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Google knows what people want to find in most cases because of the history of what has happened in the past with searchers. If you are a searcher and cannot find things easily on a search engine, eventually you will switch search engines to find what you need correct?

Most people do want big brands by the way as some of you argue, think about it, when you go grocery shopping, most of the weekly groceries you buy are typically a brand you buy every so often such as a brand of laundry detergent, brand of cans of soup, brand of ice cream, brands of boxed foods, brands of cereal etc.... Most shoppers rarely buy other brands once they like something specific unless the price goes way up or they are forced to change brands because it is no longer available... If you do not believe it, ask your wives how often they change laundry detergent brands, dishwashing soap brands, etc..... I think my wife has been buying Tide laundry detergent her whole life and my kids have been eating cheerios since the age of 3 (They are 22 and 24 now and still eat cheerios...) Brands are a big part of everyday life for most people but sometimes we just do not realize it...

I have yet to ever see Google have a large loss of users so they must be doing something right in serving brands....


 7:15 am on Feb 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

So the message is simple, if your relevant enough and trusted then it's ok to breach Googles own search "guidelines" ? One rule for the big guys and another for us.. Just looking at the site in question hurts your eyes, it's not a nice user experience and whoever is in charge of the on page SEO should hang their head in shame. Saying its risky SEO falls well short of the mark.


 11:35 am on Feb 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Some brand site, they are stuffing the keywords below the fold in the area that visitors will not score down in that area but they can survive in ranking because most brand site , they have gain the quality links from authority sites which will give them more chances than other sites.


 10:32 pm on Feb 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

blue furry widgets, sale now on!


 4:57 pm on Feb 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

@kidder On a major brand I was working on for the past few months I had to try some not recommended things cause simply I had a headache trying to get SEO changes on the text of any page of the site.

So had to resort (I risked a bit there) to things like mentioning important keywords after the first 70 characters etc. not to lose the "identity" of the site according to its marketing department.

Of course this is a global multinational and well known brand and my efforts have produced great results in terms of traffic growth. I think that if your site doesn't fall into the gray area of "not that much trust" you can get away with bending the rules a bit...

After all see all kinds of things I'd never try on my sites being used by others and ranking great for very competitive keywords. Who here believes that Google is as clever as it once was combating web spam (especially when you get MC to talk about him getting a month off tweeter, about how google android goes, and everything irrelevant to his expertise in Google)...

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