Keyword Stuffing is Dead – Long Live Keyword Stuffing!

If you are not into the technical side of website design and search engine optimisation (SEO) the title of this article probably means very little to you.  Never fear!  I will explain as we go.  Regular readers of this blog will know that I am currently learning how to make money on the internet from writing.  It is because of this activity that SEO has become an important topic in my life.  I wasn’t born an internet nerd, it is an acquired disease!

What is Keyword Stuffing?

Keyword Stuffing used to be an activity that web designers indulged in to make sure that their web pages ranked well for a variety of search terms.  So, if you searched for “digital camera” you would encounter a page of text such as:

“My best digital camera was the digital camera I bought on holiday at a digital camera store in a large digital camera market…” etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Clearly this kind of document reads badly to a human, but old style search engines loved it.

You see, until fairly recently the internet was indexed like an academic document.  If you said (in the html page title) that the topic of a web page was “free health care” and stuffed the page with keywords  about “free health care” then the search engine would accept that “free health care” was indeed what the page was about, despite the fact that the page had endless pornographic images and links.

The Google Effect

Google is currently the world’s largest search engine by traffic volume.  The guy’s at Google became increasingly fed up with this kind of web page ranking highly (along with the rest of us) and so they started to change the methods used to index a page in the Google directory.

The exact method’s used are by Google are a hotly debated subject and employee’s have none disclosure agreements and so we will probably never know exactly how Google indexes its pages, but we can say with certainty that a simple tactic such as I just described no longer works.

And so keywords died, or did they?

You see Google excels at answering the questions people ask.  When you enter search text in a search engine you are effectively asking “Where can I find this resource?”  If Google’s reply is relevant then you are happy and will return.  If the page is full of useless spam links then of course next time you search you might just try another search engine.  So, if you ask Google about “BMW cars” then this is what is needed as a reply, there is no way around it.  This is what the industry calls a keyword phrase and is a valid means of looking for information.

Well, these day’s keywords appear to work a little differently than in the past.  Keywords in an article can be measured by how many times they appear e.g. 4 appearances in a 100 word article is a keyword density of 4% and so on.   It seems that modern indexing methods penalise a keyword density over about 2-3% (opinions vary).

The search engine algorithm also appears to alter this penalty based upon content type.  If you are talking about “Tiger Woods” then Google will expect to see a few repetitions of “golf” and maybe a few other topical keywords besides!

The point is that it appears that the algorithm is adaptive to content and context.


While this isn’t science fiction standard artificial intelligence, it is certainly heading down that road.  When a sci-fi hero speaks to his voice activated computer and asks for information the results are generally exactly what he wants, even if the context in which the question was asked is ambiguous.

Perhaps the first artificial intelligence really will be a search engine and not an insurance actuarial computer or something similar. If it is a search engine I just hope it doesn’t get caught watching porn or downloading warez while it should be working!

Anyway, I said that keywords are dead.  What brought them back to life?

Well again it seems that topicality of a search is determined by: Uri, directory (if used) and then html page title.  So (hopefully not a real website) will always have topicality if someone is searches for “spam site” with big G.  So now we see a rash of “niche” sites abusing trademarks of well known companies in order to gain traffic.

Optimising a Webpage for Relevance (Long Live Keywords!)

The best option for ranking purposes seems to be to include your keyword in the url of the site, in a local directory if necessary and then in the html page title.  Additionally this keyword should be in the H1 heading and possibly also used in h2 and h3’s if they exist also.

For example:

The “spamsite.html” document would be of the form

<h1>spamsite main title</h1>

<h2>spamsite secondary title 1</h2>

<h3>Spamsite additional information 1.1</h3>

<h3>Spamsite additional information 1.2</h3>

<h3>Spamsite additional information 1.3</h3>

<h2>spamsite secondary title 2</h2>

<h3>Spamsite additional information 2.1</h3>

What amuses me about learning all this over recent weeks is that this “technique” for SEO, so successfully employed by websites with nothing useful to say, is that it is also the defacto standard for referencing academic documents via html and I am pretty sure it was part of a web standards document released by some time ago.

Of course there are other factors involved in determining where a particular page comes in the results of a search such as authority, age of the site, age of links and so on.  I don’t pretend to know it all about these subjects, but the sheer irony of guys with almost nothing to say earning a living by bucking the system and mimicking academic style was just too good to pass over.

If we do eventually develop a science fiction style super-intelligence; when we ask it a question will it just repeat keywords to us in answer?

Dave Felton

Posted in Internet, Marketing | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Keyword Stuffing is Dead – Long Live Keyword Stuffing!

Science Fiction Classics – Bladerunner

Science Fiction Classics – Bladerunner

Perhaps starting a science fiction classics series about a work as troubled as Bladerunner may seem a strange choice to some, but it contains some clever ideas and what is science fiction if not a world of ideas?

Bladerunner the Movie

Blade Runner - The Final Cut (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Bladerunner performed poorly at the box office at time of release, despite being radically altered “to improve sales” from the director’s (Ridley Scott) initial intentions.  In fact Ridley Scott initially declined to direct the movie preferring to work on Dune instead.  It was only after his brother’s death and work on Dune coming to a halt that he agreed to work on a revised script for Bladerunner.  I am glad he did eventually agree to direct though, his work is excellent.

The studio alteration of the movie is what has given rise to the many “Directors Cut” type releases.

The movie was nominated for two Oscars and fifteen other awards, winning nine; including a Hugo and a BAFTA.  So why did it do so badly at the box office?  Well, it certainly wasn’t because of the cast which included Rutger Hauer (Roy Batty), Daryl Hannah (Pris) and Harrison Ford in the lead role as Deckard – The Bladerunner.

Perhaps the pictures problems were caused by a gap between audience expectation and the actual content of the film.  Movie sci-fi in the early 80’s was all about lasers and showy special effects, probably due to the after effects of the massive success of movies such as Star Wars (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

Bladerunner is by contrast a careful, emotional movie about the value of life, both human and machine.  Most of the action takes place in moody, dark scenes in which rain seems to be a constant factor.  For all that, the movie is not depressing as might be assumed.

Bladerunner asks a simple question:  If robots were so advanced that you could not tell them from humans; whose life would be considered more important?  Perhaps this was too much for an audience expecting a space opera?

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, do so.  It can be bought these days for the price of a beer (basic edition).

Blade Runner (The Director's Cut)

Bladerunner the Book (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?)

Blade Runner (Movie-Tie-In Edition)

Bladerunner is based upon the novel by Phillip K. Dick, “Do androids dream of electric sheep?”

The book has a different feel to the various different editions of the movie and I can see why it was altered for the mass market.  It is not that it is a bad book, far from it, but I feel that the direction and feel of Dick’s book is different from the film.  Apparently, shortly before his death, Dick said that “It was my own interior world. They caught it perfectly.”, so what do I know?

Bladerunner Quotes

Holden: Describe in single words only the good things that come into your mind about… your mother.
Leon: My mother?
Holden: Yeah.
Leon: Let me tell you about my mother.
[Leon shoots Holden with a gun he was holding under the table]

My personal favourite quote (movie)

Roy: I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain… Time to die.

That quote is, for me, the essence of the movie.  If you haven’t seen it I won’t spoil things and tell you why…

Dave Felton

Posted in Science Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Internet Marketing is NOT a “Get Rich Quick Scheme”

Get Rich Quick with Internet Marketing? – Don’t make me laugh

This week has been so busy.  To be honest about it, I was unprepared for the amount of work this new direction would entail.

Internet marketing has a bad reputation because so many people running the courses are scam artists teaching bad information or maybe nothing at all.  I have been lucky in that the people I am involved with seem genuine and the information supplied checks out, at least so far.  It has been refreshing to have it explained why it takes so much work to be successful.

So, as I am so happy with my new associates am I going to name them?  The short answer is “No”.  The reason why is that until a cheque is cashed and in my bank account it could well all be wrong and it would be incorrect of me to promote an unproven idea.  I hope you understand.

Developing the New Websites

My last post mentioned that I am now the proud owner of six new websites.  This actually isn’t quite factual.  What I should have said is “I now own six new domains”.  This difference doesn’t sound like much does it?  So what is the difference?

The difference is about 60,000 words!  Yes, you read that correctly.

What is more remarkable is that the majority of those words are used in marketing the sites, not in content on the actual pages.  Content on the six sites will be maybe 25-30% of that total.  Or at least this percentage will remain true during the time it takes for the sites to establish themselves.  While I am grateful for the new knowledge that I have gained about making money on the internet, I do wonder if just writing that novel would have been easier!

To put things in perspective, minimum manuscript length for science fiction novels tends to be about 85,000 words.  A short story, suitable for submission to a professional magazine like Fantasy and Science Fiction starts at around 5,000 words.  Writing articles of this length is starting to look very reasonable recently!

This last week has seen two of the sites come into existence.  It is far too early to say if they will bring any real income but they are at least up on the web and the initial phase is finished.

The Search for Financial Security

So why do all this work?  Well, two reasons.  Firstly, I hope that in the long term I can make a small residual income from the advertising on these websites.  Second, if this happens, then it will take the pressure off my personal financial situation following my hospitalisation and all that goes with it.

Financial security will enable me to write that darned elusive novel with a clean conscience.

That is the plan anyway…


Posted in Internet, Marketing, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Internet Marketing is NOT a “Get Rich Quick Scheme”