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Does Google Index My Keyword Placed in XYZ Location?

We all know by now that it’s important to put your keywords in as many places as you can, within reason, to get the most SEO value out of them. But are there any places that work, that shouldn’t? I decided to find out.

Does Google Index My Keyword Placed in XYZ Location?

I placed a made up word in various parts of the source code of several different pages to see if I could get my pages to show up in search results for that term in Google. Here are the places I tried:

  • Image Alt
  • Class or ID Attributes
  • Title Attribute
  • Meta Title
  • Meta Description
  • Meta Keywords
  • < !–comment– >
  • A Hidden Element
  • A Javascript Written Element
  • Words that are part of an image

I used each of these only 1 time per page. I wanted to make sure I didn’t have any skewed results. Let’s see how they did!

Do keywords in the image alt attribute work?

I’ve always been skeptical of this one myself. I don’t know why, but I was never sure whether this one works or not.

Success SUCCESS!

Well I can now say for certain that keywords used in the image alt attribute alone do get your page ranked for said keyword.

Do keywords in the class or ID attributes of elements work?

I personally like to use a good naming convention when I create classes and ID’s in my stylesheets. Never even wondered before if that had any impact on the search engine optimization of my pages.

Failure FAIL!

Alas, I was OK not to wonder, because it doesn’t work. You can keep your keywords out of your styles.

Do keywords in the title attributes of elements work?

I always thought this one was a sure thing. I mean what else could it be used for?

Also I noticed something in WordPress. When you upload an image, it automatically sets the title attribute of that image to the name you have given the image file. It does not set the alt tag automatically. Wonder why that is?

Failure FAIL!

In any case, this does NOT work! WordPress needs to step their game up and make it so the alt attribute, not the title, gets automatically set. Or at the very least, both.

Do keywords in the Meta Title actually work?

I mean this is SEO 101 stuff, and it should be a no brainer. But I wanted to make sure.

Success SUCCESS!

I won’t bore you with anymore talk, this works, of course.

Do keywords in the Meta Description work?

Another SEO 101 thing you’ve probably learned is Google doesn’t use the meta description as a ranking factor. It’s simply used in the SERP to provide the visitor a short description of what they’re going to be seeing when they click your link.

If the keyword the visitor typed happens to be in your description, you’ll get the benefit of it getting bolded. But is that all?

Failure FAIL!

Yep. Just putting a keyword into your description will not get your page ranked for said keyword.

Do keywords in the Meta Keywords actually work?

Yep, I’m going there. Google has long stated that they do NOT crawl the Meta Keywords tag anymore. But you just never know what they’re up to over there. So I tested them to see.

Result?

Failure FAIL!

Nope, doesn’t work. You can keep the meta keywords tag off of your pages.

Way to stay true to your word, Google!

Do keywords in Comments work? (<!– –> or // or /**/)

This one got me thinking, if someone comments out a portion of their source code, do the keywords within still get crawled / indexed?

Failure FAIL!

As it turns out, no! Google will not index words in a commented out portion of code. Sorry black hats!

Do keywords in a Hidden Element work? (where style is display: none or visibility: hidden)

This one interested me because Google has said it will penalize people for hiding content in their pages, but are they actually still crawling and indexing keywords within those elements?

Success SUCCESS!

I had my word on a page with < div style=”display: none;”>MadeUpWord< /div> and Google indexed it. You’re welcome, black hats!

Do keywords in a JavaScript Written Element work?

It’s been long said that crawlers cannot crawl javascript. There have been advances, but how good are they?

I did a simple script of document.write(‘< div>MadeUpWord< /div>’) to test this theory. The results surprised me!

Success SUCCESS!

Google did indeed index the page that used JavaScript to write my keyword on it!

Do keywords that are simply an image work?

I created an image in photoshop. I used a white background. Black, 18px text, in Arial font. Easily readable for humans. But can the spiders read text in images? If they can, do they index it?

Failure FAIL!

Even though Google’s image search is getting better each day, their spiders do not seem to be able to interpret words in images.

TL;DR

There you have it. Out of 10 places tested, I found 6 places that keywords don’t work (yet?), and 4 where they do.

Google recognizes and indexes keywords in the following:

  • Meta Title
  • Image Alt Attribute
  • JavaScript HTML
  • Hidden Elements

Unfortunately for us and possibly some sad black hats, Google does not recognize and does not index keywords in the following:

  • Class or ID Attributes
  • Title Attribute
  • Meta Description
  • Meta Keywords
  • Commented Code
  • Words that are part of an image

The End

Did I miss any places that I could try out in the future? Leave a comment below and let’s give it a try!

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