I’m sure it isn’t really a St Andrew’s Bookshops internet takeover bid, but somehow, looking at these, I can’t help wondering…
- Books Alive Bookshop
- Christian Book Centre
- Cornerstone Book Shop
- Illuminate Books
- Manna Christian Centre
- New Wine Direct Bookshop
- Tonbridge Christian Book Centre
It’s not the “March of the Clones” effect that bothers me so much, however, as the use of the same “keywords” over and over again across the top and bottom of every page using the St Andrew’s template:
Across the top: “Online Christian Bookshop Buy Christian Books Online Bibles Christian Resources Christian Music CD”
Across the bottom: “Online Christian Bookshop selling Christian books, Holy Bibles, Christian resources, Christian music, Christian CDs, Christian DVDs, Bible Commentaries, Bible Study material Christian Bookshop”
Behind the scenes it’s more of the same, each page I checked across the various sites using the same META description:
<meta name="description" content="Christian Bookshop offering Christian Books, CDs, DVDs, Videos, Bibles and Books about Christianity and Christian Living both online and in our various branches in the United Kingdom">
So, some words to the wise: use the META description and keyword tags and attributes intelligently to describe your page contents; and don’t use “keyword stuffing” techniques, either in your META tags or in your page content. It doesn’t fool the search engines: on the contrary, it might just get you blacklisted instead of higher ranked. See Google’s warnings about Keyword Stuffing for more info and clarification.
One thing we can be absolutely certain about: using exactly the same sequence of “keywords” on every page across an entire site — let alone the same sequence across several supposedly independent sites! — renders them meaningless. Think of it like prayer: meaningless repetition doesn’t work with God, and it doesn’t work with Google either. To be effective and meaningful, keywords need to be specific to each page’s content.