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Keywords missing from WMT after Penguin ranking loss

3:56 am on Jun 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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just noticed something and would like to know if anyone knows what is supposed to come up when you go to 'optimizations/content keyword' in google webmaster tools. isn't this supposed to be the keyword density you have on your site?

the reason i ask is that before 'penguin' our site was ranked #1 for '[widgets] for sale' and '[widget] for sale' - but after penguin, we were destroyed for those 2 keywords.. and before penguin, 2 prominent content keywords that showed up in GWT were 'for' and 'sale'.. now they are nowhere to be found in the top 100 content keywords - even though they DO show up on the site's home page.

can anyone explain that for me please?

[edited by: tedster at 11:50 pm (utc) on Jun 19, 2012]

11:53 pm on June 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I don't know that the keyword list was ever a straight "keyword density" thing - I've seen a lot of strangeness in those lists. However, you may have found some kind of clue or "tell" about Penguin here. I find it hard to think that WMT (which is not a direct part of the ranking infrastructure) would hold such a clue, but your observation is quite suggestive.

Has anyone else noticed something like this?
9:53 am on June 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have found that those lists measure the number of different pages on your site that mention a keyword compared to other sites. Not sure how penguin would affect it, but I've been able to move keywords up and down that list by swapping them in and out of templated text that appears on lots of pages on my site.
2:38 pm on June 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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From Google's help page: "The significance of each keyword reflects how often it's found on your site's pages. Click each keyword to see a sampling of pages on which it appears. Both keywords and their variants are listed in order of frequency of appearance."

It's interesting that words like "for" and "sale" should be considered "key". Although I've seen "VAT" (as in the British tax) appear before on the Content Keywords section of a UK e-commerce site.

My guess is they've stripped out ubiquitous words from the report as a separate upgrade to make that section of WMT more useful and your drop in ranking is coincidental.
6:19 pm on June 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This is an interesting observation. I have just noticed the same on my own site. Only a couple of days ago I used to rank #5 for the term "buy widgets online" but today the site has completely disappeared for this search. When I look in GWT I also cannot see the keywords "buy" and "online" although they are prominent words on the site. "Widgets" is still top of the list though.

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