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Q: Google Keywords & "Spamming" ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Google Keywords & "Spamming"
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: lottomasta-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 28 Apr 2004 01:54 PDT
Expires: 28 May 2004 01:54 PDT
Question ID: 337489
I am about to put up a site for free info on the New York Lottery. 
When I research the keywords people would use, I come up with -
New York Lottery
NY Lottery
NYS Lottery
New York State Lottery
New York Lottery Results
New York Lottery Numbers

I envisage using each Search Term 3 times, plus once in a text link,
in a page that is currently 620 words and content rich.

Normally (as I understand it) this would not even come close to
spamming and is perfectly acceptable.

BUT - I am concerned that "lottery" is in all six, quite legitimate,
keyword phrases.

Is this going to get me into trouble?

My other problem is that in a 620-word, content rich page offering
free info, I HAVE to use variations - or I end up using New York
Lottery 18 times, which definitely gets me into BIG trouble.

Please give me advice on using legitimate "keyword phrases" when a
single word occurs in many of the phrases, and how to stay friends
with Google.

Many thanks,

Subject: Re: Google Keywords & "Spamming"
Answered By: serenata-ga on 28 Apr 2004 14:38 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi Terry ~

If you try to design pages of your website like that - with a
carefully thought out set of phrases used 'x' amount of times, the
only thing you will really accomplish is driving yourself crazy.

First of all, it is important to remember that only Google knows its
algorithm, and they're NOT going to share it with others. That doesn't
stop others, though, from authoritatively handing out bad advice, and
acting like theirs is the be-all and end-all of how to place well in
Google's search engine results pages (SERPs).

One SEO "expert" says "three times" is reasonable. Another will tell
you that "five times" is the precise number of times to insert a
phrase to achieve a high ranking.

That is purely speculation! No one but Google really knows. That
speculation may be based on observations they have made, although in
reality it is not even based in what really may have moved a
particular page up in rankings is entirely different.

Let's back off a bit and consider what you're suggesting here.

Say, for the sake of argument, your idea of using those phrases three
times is just about perfect for today. What are you going to do if
that algorithm changes tomorrow? Google constantly tweaks its
algorithm to deliver *relevant* results to a search query. Some tweaks
are gentle and hardly noticed, others are major overhauls which are
noted and commented on by large numbers. If some other SEO guru says
four times is optimal, are you going to have to change yours now to
meet their new observation?

Here are the results for the search terms you mention:

   - New York lottery - about 1,170,000 results
     - ://

   - NY lottery - about 500,000 results
     - ://

   - NYS lottery - about 26,000 results
     - ://

   - New York State lottery - about 1,140,000 results
     - ://

   - New York lottery results - about 748,000 results
     - ://

   - New York lottery numbers - about 522,000 results
     - ://

I have given you MY results pages, but I also noticed that those
results weren't always the same, meaning that not all Google's data
centers are serving the same results, a phenomenon Google explains in
its "Multiple indices",

     "If you happen to enter the same query repeatedly while
      we are in the process of posting the index at our
      various data centers around the country, it might seem
      like you are seeing inconsistent results from Google.
      What is actually happening is that you are seeing a
      result from an 'old' version of our index one time and
      a result from a 'new' version the next. Due to the size
      of our index, we can not simultaneously post a new index
      at all of our data centers, which may result in this
      behavior for a short period of time."
   - ://

Logically, you're trying for a ranking with at least several thousand
other pages for the more obscure search terms, and millions for the
more common search terms. Your chances are probably a bit better for
winning that lottery than it is for a good ranking in SERPs if you try
to follow that kind of advice.

So what and how do you get included and start to rank well in Google's
SERPs for the search terms you want?

Google tells you - and while some results may look skewed at times, it
is still the best information, and still works for those pages that
consistantly rank well, regardless of Google's algorithm changes:

     1. Content, content, content.
     2. Good HTML - good design.
     3. Links TO your site (and not linking schemes).

You can read it in Google's Design and Content Guidelines,

     "* Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links.
        Every page should be reachable from at least one
        static text link.
      * Offer a site map to your users with links that point
        to the important parts of your site. If the site map
        is larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break
        the site map into separate pages.
      * Create a useful, information-rich site and write
        pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
      * Think about the words users would type to find your
        pages, and make sure that your site actually includes
        those words within it.
      * Try to use text instead of images to display important
        names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn't
        recognize text contained in images.
      * Make sure that your TITLE and ALT tags are descriptive
        and accurate.
      * Check for broken links and correct HTML.
      * If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL
        contains a '?' character), be aware that not every
        search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as
        static pages. It helps to keep the parameters short
        and the number of them small.
      * Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number
        (fewer than 100)."
   - ://

Design your page for your visitors, not for search engines. If it
makes sense to and for your visitors, it will work for Google and
every other search engine out there.

That bit of information has been repeated in every Search Engine
Sessions seminar you can attend.

Don't worry about the number of times you use a phrase or search term.
If it makes sense to use it ten times, use it ten times. If it makes
sense to only use it once, then only use it once, and don't worry
about the number of times and whether or not it is spammy.

Today's "not spammy" might be tomorrow's "spammy", or vice versa, but
those sites that follow the guidelines, and maintain a good balance of
content, good html design and links to their sites don't move much.

Without reading your content, it's hard to say if using those terms
three times is spammy or not. Write it for your visitors, if they
don't stick around long enough to even read your page, the chances are
it's poorly written, no matter how many times you do - or don't - use
a particular term.

Important Google Links For Your Reference

I have taken the liberty of including important links from Google's
site. This information will help you understand Google's goals and
responsibility to the web searcher (and not the webmaster or site

Webmasters who follow the guidelines and avoid Google's "Thou shalt
nots" usually have no problem getting listed and showing up under the
search terms they desire.

   * Google Today (absolutely the best information you
     can read about the "how and why" of Google's results
     - ://

   * How Do I Get My Site Listed on Google?
     - ://

   * My Web Pages Are Not Currently Listed (a good 'primer'
     on how and why Google works so well)
     - ://

   * PageRank Information (covers both Google's PageRank and
     - ://

   * Webmaster Guidelines (contains both the dos and don'ts)
     - ://

   * Google Facts & Fiction (can  you buy your way to a
     high ranking in Google?)
     - ://

   * Search Engine Optimizers (some good advice on what to look
     for if you're going to hire a Search Engine Optimizer)
     - ://

   * Frequently Asked Questions (pretty much what it says, but
     definitely worth wading through)
     - ://

   * Remove Content from Google's Index (just in case you feel
     a burning need to start all over again)
     - ://

Other Sources of Information

There is also good information from many of the top search engine
optimization experts, such as

   * Andrew Goodman's I-Search on Marketing Vox

   * Detlev Johnson, Search Engine Guide

   * Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Watch

   * Jill Whalen, High Rankings

   * Shari Thurow, Web Pro News (and quoted all over the Internet)

who all have columns or newsletters to which you can subscribe and
keep abreast of the best way to use good content for better
positioning in search engine results.

In addition, Webmaster World - - has
discussion boards on most of the search engines. While some of the
discussions are anecdotal and/or questions for information, there is
usually enough discussion to keep abreast of what seems to be

There is an entire section devoted to Google at:

It never hurts to keep track of the discussions; but remember, trying
to optimize for search engines only is like trying to hit a moving
target. You'll notice among the more experienced contributors to the
discussions - plus the SEO experts listed above - that there really is
no substitute for content, relevant links and good HTML.

Just a note about the above experts - they are all acknowledged by the
industry in general as being experts in search engine optimization.
But they, like all of us, are not privy to the algorithms and what
"really" counts today. Read them as a general guideline, not the
absolute word on how to do it.

And remember, they all espouse the three principles of content, design
and links to the site.

Search terms ~

Besides those searches specifically mentioned above, the answer was
derived form bookmarks and resources I use daily in my "real life" job
of web design, marketing and SEO consulting.

Best of luck to you,

Google Answers Researcher

Request for Answer Clarification by lottomasta-ga on 29 Apr 2004 02:19 PDT
Dear Serenata - Thank you for the very detailed answer.

I did indeed write for readers, focusing on content. I have uploaded a
short page for you to view at

There is no attempt to spam or keyword-stuff, BUT it uses "New York
Lottery" TEN times in a very natural flow.

I guess it's a measure of how scared the "good guys" have become that
Google might class us as "spammers" that I am extremely reluctant to
use ANY keyword 10 times, however naturally it occurs.

Your answer suggests its fine to use it 10 times, but I still feel
compelled to use NY lottery, New York State Lottery & NYS Lottery in
lieu (so that no keyword appears more than three times), because I'm
afraid of Google penalising me.

Is it REALLY okay to use a Keyword 10 times? There's no danger of
getting banned by Google?

With Best Wishes,


Clarification of Answer by serenata-ga on 29 Apr 2004 05:33 PDT
Hi again Terry ~

The only place I found that it might be 'spammy' ... is in the two
lines in your header there. Otherwise, the text portion is not
spammed, there's a logic and naturalness to every place your words are

Getting back to the header - I was looking for spam and couldn't
figure out why you'd use "New York Lottery" twice in the header; but
taken in combination with the whole page, it actually fits. If you
have worries, change the second line around to read "Your Resource
Centre for the New York Lottery".

Otherwise, even looking specifically for spammy content I couldn't
find spam or where you might use other words or terms.

I do understand your hesitancy, but I know you've seen websites where
they've overused a phrase to such an extent it doesn't even make sense
to try to read the content. This, I promise you, is not one of those

And of course, I was trying to figure of a case where it would be
natural and okay to use a phrase 10 times. The best I could come up
with on short notice might be a comparison page, where you'd be
comparing two lotteries, then it would seem perfectly logical to have
the term in there without anyone accusing you of spamming.

You'd done fine using the terms within the content without spamming.

On another list I'm on, I know some webmasters who would be agonizing
over the design and wondering if they'd end up ruining their ratings
without being able to validate their pages in a text browser or to W3C

As you said, this makes sense and is user friendly.


lottomasta-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

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