According to many SEO experts, keyword spamming remains a prevalent black hat practice in the Philippines. One example of keyword spamming is repeating a particular keyword or set of keywords over and over again on a web page, even when it no longer makes sense.
For example, if you are targeting the keyword phrase best online games, a sample of the content on your page might read something like this: “we offer the best online games at the most affordable prices, people from all over the world buy our best online games. Our best online games are top-sellers in the market”, and so on. And the keywords don’t even need to be visible to site visitors, since one keyword spamming technique is to add the keywords to the background of a web page and then hide them by making the letters the same color as the background. Keywords can also be added to Meta tags and alt descriptions, although this method is reportedly no longer effective.
Although there are no exact figures as to how prevalent the practice is in the country, there exists some anecdotal data to confirm that it does happen. For example, there are reports that the online shopping portal of one of the country’s leading conglomerates had been removed from the Google index several years ago for violating the site’s guidelines against keyword spamming. If a prominent company could be caught engaging in the practice, so can smaller and more low-key sites that are not reported by media.
In the Philippines, however, keyword spamming seems to be practiced mainly in online marketplaces such as MySulit, which actually had to post guidelines warning against it on their site last year. In this case, the keyword spamming technique is to add keywords that are not related to the topic on the page in order to direct traffic to it.
For example, if a person is selling generic handbags, they may include mentions of popular brands in the product description. For example, they may say ‘this is like a Coach Bag’ or ‘similar to Louis Vuitton handbag’, in the hope that when a web surfer does a search for ‘Coach’ or ‘Vuitton’ they will be directed to this listing. This is unethical because it directs buyers away from legitimate sellers who have something they genuinely want to buy.
EBay Philippines has also spoken out against the practice and even posted guidelines on how to detect keyword spammers and report violations. And they encourage eBay users to report multiple listings in order to catch serial violators, who will have their accounts terminated if they are proven guilty.
But what can be done to address the problem? The main solution is undoubtedly to report the problem when you encounter it. While you may think that keyword spamming just a nuisance, in fact, it is a serious form of cheating that affects honest website owners negatively and may even cost them lost business. Keep in mind that if they are open to this unethical practice, they may also be cheating their customers in more serious ways such as not giving accurate descriptions of the products they sell.