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Top 7 Keyword Phrases You Should Never Use (Do's and Don'ts)

by Brian Colling - September 17, 2019

Keyword Phrases You Should Never Use for SEO

Marketers know keyword phrases are how search engines understand about your website. And did you know there are specific keyword phrases, which could block your site from being shown? Major search engines essentially blacklist keyword phrases. Your site might show up somewhere, and it may not be in the first few pages of results.

What Makes a Bad Keyword Phrase?

Keyword Phrase which is too generic

It would be best if you had a specific, long-tail keyword as your focus keyword. If you’re a bakery, you should be focusing your keywords on things such as “raspberry pies in Manhattan” rather than just “raspberry pies.”

Keyword Phrase which is too spammy

Anything that seems like spam could get rated poorly, such as “make money now” or “buy prescription drugs online.” We’ll be discussing these types of keyword phrases in-depth because they’re the only keywords that are automatically bad for your content. 

Keyword Phrase which is too inapplicable

If your targeted keywords don’t relate to your content, then people will bounce away from your site. High bounce rates impact your SEO. Selling “raspberry pies in Manhattan” and targeting the keyword phrase “BBQ tips,” may get people clicking on your site and leaving immediately.

Here are specific keyword phrases you should avoid using on your website and why

1. “Earn Extra Cash”

Earn extra cash, double your money, make income from home — all these phrases are considered to be spam-related. And that’s rough for companies that are trying to help people work from home. Avoid any sort of implication that you’re going to be able to get money in a “too good to be true” scenario. You’ll need to find more creative methods of getting your point across. Most legitimate sites don’t have offers to “double your money,” they have realistic or clear payment structures. 

2. “No Credit Check”

No credit check, no fees, no investment, and no cash upfront. These phrases aren’t going to lower your rating automatically, but if used frequently, they will. You can mention that your investment account has no fees. But you can’t plaster promises for no fees, no investments, and no cash deposits everywhere; this is when keyword saturation matters. The higher the keyword saturation, the more likely Google will be to suspect that your website is a scam. 

3. “Consolidate Your Debt”

Declare bankruptcy, negotiate with creditors, pre-approve, and lower your monthly payments. These are all indicators that your website could be dishonest because there are many disreputable companies in debt consolidation. There are also many legitimate companies highlighting something important: it’s more challenging to achieve good SEO in some industries than others. A payday loan company will have a hard time establishing itself — much harder than a clothing company.

If you want to mention “CONSOLIDATE YOUR DEBT” in big and bold on your homepage, it can always be in an image rather than in a text. There are real debt consolidation companies, and they may need to get their message across.

4. “Weight Loss”

Because weight loss scams are common, Google will notice if your website appears to be touting several products such as “human growth hormones.” When you add weight loss-related keywords to your site, you run the risk of your SEO getting damaged. Find unique ways to describe the process of weight loss, and avoid mentioning too many weight loss-related keywords. For this keyword, the lesson is different: it’s about who you “hang out with.” A regular weight loss blog isn’t going to get slammed. But a weight loss blog that mentions tons of supplements just might.

5. “Prescription Medications”

Many overseas companies sell prescription medications online, so using prescription medications can be an easy way to get your website ranking artificially reduced. When discussing prescription medications, be careful about verbiage that could imply that you’re selling it, such as “Buy Xanax Now” or “Buy Adderall Now.”

By now, you may be wondering how you’ve ever seen this page. After all, we’re mentioning all these keywords. We’ve even mentioned Cheap Ways to Buy Valium Now. It’s because the context matters. Google knows when a phrase is entirely random and doesn’t have much in common with the other phrases around it. Google knows when a phrase is surrounded by similar targeting. A single mention of these keyword phrases isn’t going to thank you. It’s the repeated mentions.

6. “Free Background Checks”

Other phrases like “get dirt on your friends” or “look up your nanny” usually attempt to scam people into paying a hefty monthly fee for background check services. Sometimes these companies charge people to remove themselves from the site. If your website has a lot of material that seems related to either dating or background checks, you can expect a long climb up the SEO results page. 

7. The Same Keyword Phrase, Over, and Over, and Over

Even if you have a reasonably innocent keyword phrase, repeating it over and over is going to trigger spam censors. When you “flood” your page with keywords, your page itself starts to look like spam, even if it’s a relatively legitimate use of the word. You can use a keyword tool to see the number of keyword searches. Usually, you don’t want to use a keyword more than once per every hundred words.

How to Avoid Bad Keyword Phrases

As you can see, many of these keyword phrases are pretty specific. There’s a general rule of thumb you can use: if you notice a keyword phrase in the subject line of a spam email, you shouldn’t use it. You can get a general feel for spam keywords over time. If your page is inexplicably not getting any traffic from Google, this might be the problem.

SEO is constantly changing. Google, in particular, frequently updates its search algorithms. Bad keyword phrases may be introduced from time to time, and you may see your search ranking plummet accordingly. The best practice is continually analyzing the keywords you’re using, ensuring none of the keywords you’re using seem to be too “spammy.”

Learn more about how Colling Media helps improve SEO keyword ranking.

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