Cloudy with a Chance of Link Stuffing?

Last Update: October 05, 2015

Monday Morning and the Skies Were Blue

So I'm sitting here on a Monday going through the SEO on all of my website pages (something I don't get a chance to do all the time) and I figured it would be a short day of it. That is, until I utilized a new tool in my website arsenal.

It seems whenever I find a new tool, something else I've been missing all along comes into the limelight. This time was no different. Only it came in a form I wasn't really expecting...

More often than not, when I build a WordPress site, I tend to stick a widget in the sidebar or widget area below the content that contains a "tag cloud". Now if you don't know what a tag cloud is, allow me to point you to the technical definition:

Dejan Marketing said it best in an article I came across today:

"Tag Clouds are popular widgets used in blogs to direct users to topics which are more frequently posted about or discussed. Usually, this is done by using some sort of automated script which analyzes all of the tags on different posts, and then generates a random “cloud” of the common tags, with the more common ones being larger."

You've All Witnessed This Weather Anomaly

Tag clouds, as we've already established, are those cute little piles of words (some larger than others) that resides on a website and allows you to quickly link to a topic of discussion that is covered somewhere within the site you're on.

Now the reason I put one on most of the sites I build, is because it creates what I always thought of as a useful means of creating internal links across my site without having to deal with all of the internal link building "stuff" that comes along with it! It can sometimes be a daunting task, especially if you don't address it while you're writing your posts.

My Head's in the Clouds

Anyway, back to where I was going with this. After testing close to 100 pages of content today I realized something. The software I was using at the time (Traffic Travis) has the ability to crawl through the pages and note how many internal links are used on each post. When I started to get warnings that my pages contained over 100 links and that Google may see this as too many and pass on crawling my page!

Of course the first thought that crossed my mind was "OMG, where are all these links coming from?", and "Did I get comment spammed somehow?", but no... I quickly realized that it was most likely my tag cloud that was causing all the commotion.

So I went out to Google to see what the SEO experts felt about using tag clouds for SEO and the results vary quite a bit. But, for me anyway, I tend to rely most on the people who have the final say on matters that define the marriage between Google and SEO... The Google Webmaster Blog and the infamous Matt Cutts of course.

Here's what I found that you should all consider when building out your website. You'll find the video of Matt Cutts at the bottom of the page.

Follow Matt's advice and you're site will remain floating peacefully in the clouds, receiving the ranking its oh so worthy of, without the worry of bad weather ahead!

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rosieM Premium
That was a great detailed what your blog states quite well....thank you for including it! I was under the impression that tag clouds were quite effective for a smaller number of tags without having to worry; this explained that is not necessarily so. Thank you!
KatieMac Premium
Very informative post, it is not something I quite grasped but this explains it nicely thank you
LelandBest Premium
Not many people consider these clouds anymore or the way it could effect their rankings. But there are still those of us that just stick them on sites for the internal linking.
KatieMac Premium
I will just stick with the way training taught me.. thank you
JewelCarol Premium
Great post, seems like a lot of seo stuff to learn, thank you Leland. :))
LelandBest Premium
You're welcome!