Hi all. I was asked a question by a customer yesterday that I had to admit I did not have a confident answer.
The question. Is it true that if you set in more than 5 keywords google and other major search engines will treat the site as a spam site (when I asked him to describe what he meant by a spam site I got no real answer), I a first reply of NO but then got an uneasy flush come over me and thought it would be best to check this with you guys.
This seems like a very simplistic statement to me - Google's spam filtering procedures are complicated. Think about how brand sites will mention a brand name very frequently (e.g. Yahoo will mention Yahoo many more than 5 times on their homepage).
Also, can you clarify where these 5 mentions are supposed to be? The keywords meta elements? Anywhere?
It's certainly possible to trigger penalties and filters with particular formulations of text, but there's no number of words that represents a particular threshold.
The question to me was how many keywords can the <meta name="Keywords" content="" /> tag contain, I have always used between 20 and 30 but I have a customer who has been told that any more than 5 will get the major search engines to treat the site in a spam like way. I really have thoughts that this tag does not have too much effect on the search engines these days and carefully constructed page names are more efficient.
As above, there are numeric word limits that apply, and you can certainly have more than 5 words without any danger of appearing spammy. You'll find sites with dozens or even hundreds of words in keywords meta elements but ranking well (not that I'd advise that many). Personally, I very rarely bother with a keywords meta element at all.
You may find the below discussion useful, as it closely relates to your question: