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Can overdo the SEO tactics backfire on the page ranking?


Is it possible to rank a page without the keyword placed at the appropriate positions? What is the appropriate place after all? Are we still following the method that was working around 20 years back, are we still relying on the method that was useful in the year 2000?



Google’s John Mueller, in a recent Webmaster Hangout, stated that overdoing the keyword phrase can cause Google to become cautious of a web page. Thus, raising the question that is there any possibility that the rank of your webpage will be badly affected if you have added the keyword in the title and h1 tag, etc.


What is the best keyword practice in terms of SEO?

Most of the marketer will say that back in the 2000s, his way to rank on the google was:

  1. · Add keywords to the title

  2. · Add keywords to URL

  3. · Add keywords to H1

  4. · Add keywords in the content

This was the formula that was used by the SEO experts in the 2000s, the catch was to add a keyword in the title, in the URL, in the H1 and many times in the content. The idea was to use the keyword at as many places as possible and bold it somewhere and italicize somewhere else. The best thing is that this formula was amazing and it provides instant results and ranking.


So, what are the modern tactics to rank the webpage?

  1. · Add keywords to the title

  2. · Add keywords to URL

  3. · Add keywords to H1

  4. · Add keywords in the content

It is similar to what was a long time ago? Do you think that it is possible to rank the webpage using the same method that was useful along before in the past? The answer is clearly not as there have been several updates in the Google algorithm and the latest google is smarter than the previous one, and it is way smarter.

That is why you need to change something and see the result. Try it yourself, type any keyword in google and you will see most of the result will not have the same keyword in the title but they are ranking on the first page.


Importance of query expansion


So, what makes the webpages rank on the first page without having the keyword in the title tag, it is the query expansion. It plays a major role in ranking the pages on top without having the keyword at places that are thought of as vital places for ranking.

But what is query expansion?


Query expansion is the method in which the search engine finds web pages that answer the search query without looking for the exact keywords on the page. The way search engines do this is by adding synonyms, using stemming and other methods to identify more pages that have the answer to the searched query.


This makes us understand that the standard keyword practices that are mostly used by the marketers are now obsolete. Even after knowing this fact, most people follow this standard method of getting the rank on the first page.


Keyword stuffing?


Here is what Mueller said:


“Another thing that I sometimes see, especially with e-commerce sites that kind of struggle with this kind of a problem is that they go to an extreme on the category page in that they include those keywords over and over and over again.


And what happens in our systems then is we look at this page and we see these keywords repeated so often on that page that we think well, something is kind of fishy with this page, with regards to these keywords, well maybe we should be more careful when we show it.”


This simply doesn’t mean that if you are adding the keyword in the title tag then google will take your page as fishy, but if Mueller is saying something out there, we need to consider this when working on the keyword placement.


You have already seen the effect of query expansion and it works at many places and many keywords. The point here is that as there are many factors that help you get better ranking for your page, there is another factor that can de-rank your page too and it is important to consider all those things.


So, is it that avoiding keyword stuffing can have a positive effect?


It is certain that avoiding keyword stuffing can actually make your page rank better as google trust these pages more than the one that is full of keywords. In this regard, Mueller’s advice about avoiding keyword stuffing is lack of keyword stuffing makes Google trust a page more.


“So that when we look at this page, we’ll see… this is a reasonable page, there’s good content here, we can show it for these terms. We don’t have to worry about whether or not someone is trying to unnaturally overdo it with those keywords. “


So, what is the conclusion?


There are no definite solution or way to get a good rank on google as nobody knows how google exactly rank the pages. There are pages that have a keyword in the title tag and are ranking well and there are pages do not have the keyword in the title tag and are still ranking well.


The point to consider here is that there are some tactics that are obsolete and are of no use nowadays. All you have to do is to keep yourself updated with the latest google trends as a slight mistake and your page will sink deep inside the ocean of pages on google.

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