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I've been working on a site for a new company that is in the tactical gear/survival gear niche and have ran into a hitch with the keywords that Google ranks for the site.

Namely 4 of the top 5 keywords aren't content related at all, and are elements/functions of the site. The top 5 are as follows:

  1. Tactical
  2. Cart
  3. Compare
  4. Wishlist
  5. Quick (from a quick-view function on the site)

My question is how the heck can I avoid this issue? Or CAN I avoid this issue?

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    Ignore that list. It means absolutely nothing. – John Conde Mar 25 '15 at 12:57
  • Ok, I'm pretty new to SEO concepts and it just struck me as potentially detrimental to the site. – theeastcoastwest Mar 25 '15 at 13:04
  • Yeah, this list drives everyone nuts and causes a lot of people unnecessary concern. I wish they would just do away with it. – John Conde Mar 25 '15 at 13:22
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    I agree. There is not one so-called keyword in the Google Webmaster Tools Keyword List that has been used to find my site in since I paid attention 2 1/2 years ago. I always suggest paying attention to the headline read order. This answer details the headline read order: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/71431/… – closetnoc Mar 25 '15 at 15:59
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The content keyword list in Google Webmaster Tools measures which keywords are used on the most pages on your site compared to other sites. So if you have a shopping cart on every page of your site, you will have "cart" in your content keywords. Words like "the" don't show up in the list because most sites have them on every page.

As long as this list doesn't have spam words on it, it isn't hurting you. Google says that you should watch this list to see if your site is hacked. If you see "viagra" on this list, then you know there is a problem.

The words on this list don't indicate what you are likely to rank for. Google's relevance algorithms are much more sophisticated than "used on many pages of your site." The relevance algorithms take into account:

  • If the word is used in the title
  • If the word is used near the beginning of the title
  • If the word appears in headings
  • If the word appears multiple times on the page
  • If the word is used in inbound anchor text
  • If users click on your site Google puts it in the search results for that term

The "content keywords" don't appear to factor in any of these other relevancy factors, just how many pages on your site use the words.

I've tried adjusting the words on my site to make this content keywords list more accurately reflect the thing I would like the site to rank for. In my experience, doing so doesn't help. Using a word on more pages on my site doesn't seem to help my rank better for those keywords. Removing irrelevant keywords doesn't make the remaining keywords rank better.

Bottom line: don't worry about the content keywords unless there is spam listed.

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Just looking at your list, it looks like you need more content. If things like "cart, compare, and wishlist' are ranking because of some buttons on your site, you need more blogs or text related to your niche.

In other words, your descriptions and posts should outnumber and overwhelm your store keywords.

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  • Interesting point of view and very good advice! The caveat is that these terms appear on each page and would get picked up anyway. As an odd hypothetical example, if I had a website on auto repair and put the word dress only once very low on each page, regardless of how much content exists on each page, the term dress would/could be picked up and you run the risk of getting searches for dresses. Silver dresses, leather dresses, vinyl dresses, etc.Try this. It works. It should not, but it does. And yes- you can really have fun with this!! – closetnoc Mar 25 '15 at 16:39
  • No, that won't work unless your content is really bad and really thin. – Ethan Mar 26 '15 at 13:53
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    Are you talking about my silly illustration? It absolutely does work with very deep content. You would need a few hundred pages, but it is something that is a well documented part of semantic search. This is something I do- it is not hypothetical- my illustration was hypothetical- but the effect is very real. Like I said. It works. You can try it for yourself. – closetnoc Mar 26 '15 at 15:41
  • I wouldn't try it myself because it's a ridiculous thing to try. Where is the documentation? – Ethan Mar 26 '15 at 17:34
  • Actually, it is not a ridiculous thing to try. The example is a bit obscure, but patterned after a real example. Between cars and dresses, there are some overlap in semantic keywords such as leather and other materials and colors and so on. With enough very minor semantic signals across an entire website search results can change radically. It is possible that semantic clues alone can trump title tag, description meta-tag, and header tag signals. I do not generally advise this except in difficult cases where search terms would cross markets and clarity is needed. – closetnoc Mar 26 '15 at 21:50
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Use textalyser.net and run your pages through it. It will list you the top keywords as well as the top pairs of keywords and if you don't want google to rank for a keyword, then try to make the keyword density for it to under 1%. Just make sure at the same time you don't make any keyword density set to over 5%.

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    While I like to use keyword density tools to figure out what a page is really about and what to tune a page for, keyword density is a myth these days and really does not indicate how a page will be found in search. I do not suggest people look at density as much as using the headline read order. Here is one of my answers using the headline read order: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/71431/… – closetnoc Mar 25 '15 at 15:57

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