With my own hub as an example... I won't show you the hub, but I'll just tell you it's my most popular hub.
The hub was started in April of 2010 as sort of a joke, but steadily grew and grew, and grew.
In September of 2010 it hit 200 views per day, no deliberate tuning was done.
In December of 2010 it hit 300 views per day. Other than minor title tweaks and keywords there was no deliberate tuning.
The Panda update hit it hard. It dropped to 100 views a day. Then it did a slow climb back to 300 views per day over the next month.
As a part of a rewrite, I decided to add MORE keywords into the body of the article. You could almost say I was keyword spamming, but I am not, since this article is a "mass review" and thus will need to repeat the name of the item very often. I also added massive amount of links (about 200) to a very legitimate source which will automatically backlink to my hub.
The views started to increase slightly every few days, not by a lot, but another 25-50 views daily. It is noticeable, but within margin of error and Internet fickleness. So I started to revised all of the sections to add in more of those keywords.
Then the next day, my traffic dropped back to 125 views a day. I checked Google search, and sure enough, the hub is no longer on the front page.
As the only thing I did was the keyword stuffing, it must be that I went overboard. So I quickly went in and started substituting the keywords with their synonyms, acronyms, variations, nicknames, and whatnot, but not all of them, but about 1/3 of them.
In a few days I am back on the first page of Google search results.
The lesson to take away, folks: keywords are important, esp. within the article itself, but don't go overboard. Google checks the keyword density, i.e. how many keywords are there vs. the total number of words. If your article is keyword spam, the density will be too high, and it'll be dumped to the bottom of search results. However, if you're not high enough, then you'll be ranked below the articles that have more keywords than you.
How much is too much? I'm afraid that's up to you to figure out. I am merely relaying my own experience.
As of yesterday, the hub is drawing 650 views per day, 95%+ from Google.
The hits have stabilized at 550 views per day, 98% from Google.
Stats as of a few seconds ago:
in the last 24 Hours
568 total views (+4 slide views)
Top Traffic Sources
(not all views have a discernable source)
So it *is* possible to play the keyword game with Google.
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