Keyword Spamming: Are You Doing It Without Knowing It?
inDecember 13, 2007 - 12:29pm
The subject of keyword spamming comes up on a regular basis. This is usually a result of either a misunderstanding of what keyword spamming is or a deliberate misuse of keywords. Most Internet e-commerce sites frown on the inappropriate use of keywords or spamming. Even experienced, long-time Internet shop owners have been known to ignore the unwritten rule against the use of inappropriate keywords in their titles and categories. And, in cases where a shop owner is notified by a shopper or other interested party that an item listing appears to contain keyword spamming, although the shop owner may take the time to correct the listing in question, they often do not address other instances of keyword spamming within their shop. This is unfortunate, and we'd like to take this opportunity to educate e-commerce shops on this important and often misunderstood subject.
What Is Keyword Spamming?
Real Life Examples
1. Keyword Spamming in Catalog - Categories: Including multiple manufactures' names within a catalog string is considered keyword spamming:
Example: Collectibles: Home Accessories: Glass, Crystal: Lalique, Baccarat, Val Saint Lambert, Daum
If the item is Baccarat, it can't be Lalique. Using one category within a catalog to capture the names of several manufacturers may simplify listing items, but it is keyword spamming.
2. Keyword Spamming in Catalog - Categories: Using a manufacturer's name in a category for an item when the shop owner clearly does not know whom the manufacturer is:
Example: Collectibles: Glass, Crystal: Fenton
In order to be included in a Fenton category, the piece must be made by Fenton. Multiple choice identification scenarios are not acceptable and are considered keyword spamming.
3. Keyword Spamming in Titles: Another case of multiple-choice scenarios:
Example: The item title reads "19th C. Ridgway or Davenport Scenic Dessert Set"
It is either a Ridgway or a Davenport, but it cannot be both. Titles and categories must be accurate and not a "best guess." Either/or scenarios are considered to be keyword spamming.
4. Keyword Spamming in Titles: Identifying an item as from a specific period when it is not:
Example: Title reads, "French Louis XVI Painted Oval Mirror"
The item description states, "Circa date 1940." If an item is identified as "French Louis XVI" then one should expect the item to be of the period from which the style evolved. The piece may have design elements representative of this period, and may be referred to as in the "style" of Louis XVI within the description, but it is keyword spamming to include a period reference in the title when the item is not from this period. In fact, there are those in the online community who deem the use of the term "style" to be misleading as well, and feel it should not be used at all. Thus, we recommend that the term "style" be used judiciously.
5. Keyword Spamming in Titles and Catalog Categories: Is it a period Chippendale? Is it a Federal Cabinetmaker Desk? Is it from the 1800's? Is it American Centennial?
Example: Title - "Period Chippendale Federal Cabinetmaker Desk 1800's American Centennial Gentleman's Vanity Desk Honduras Mahogany..."
Catalog Category: Antiques: Furniture: Period: Chippendale: Federal: Cabinetmaker: Desk: American Centennial: Gentleman S: Vanity: Desk: Honduras Mahogany: Historic
Part of the Description: "This lovely antique desk is correctly made to Period Chippendale. I can not say for sure that it is a Period late 18th century original or if it is a mid to 1870's Centennial Cabinetmaker's piece ..."
Whatever it is, it is not all of these things. This is keyword spamming
6. Keyword Spamming in Catalog - Categories: Another example of combining two unlike items within a category string:
Example: Title - "Vintage Creamer and Sugar Bowl"
These are only a few examples of keyword spamming. Unfortunately, there are more. Whether intentional or not, keyword spamming is not acceptable for any reason. It is the shop owner's responsibility to become familiarized with what keyword spamming is and to make every effort to not use keywords inappropriately when listing an item for sale on the Internet. Improving the accuracy of search results benefits everyone, especially the customer. It is what he or she wants, and should expect, from a professional marketplace.