Can using the word as a keyword or in the title have a negative impact on traffic. If so, are there any other words, apart from the obvious swear words which will do the same?
Ya know... I think you have a very valid point here. If there ever was a word that Google would use as a flag-and-pursue indicator, it would be the word "free". I, for one, would not want the unwanted attention. I had a few, e.g., free lesson, free information, free photos, and so forth. I went and got rid of the free part. In retrospect, those phrases do indeed sound spammy. And besides, that word never showed up in my search terms anyway.
If 'free' is part of the keyword phrase you are targeting and that is what people are looking for, then use it. Some webpage is going to rank for that and it might as well be yours:
Thanks Writer Fox
You have a way with words, you sure know how to make a lady feel a lot better.
People are searching for "free" things. Free is always good for those who find what they are looking for.
I know I do but I did wonder if it could be considered too spammy.
Who told you Google does penalize the keyword "free"? I did a quick search of places like the Warrior Forums (a top SEO forum) and they have no such claim there.
I read it here today - hope it is OK to post a link to a forum page.
I liked the list of photo resources. Very useful information about finding free photos to use.
If "free" is a relevant keyword, I do not see why you would not use it. I would look for a valid source of that information before assuming it was correct.
That was talking about what words Hubpages itself might penalize, and a pretty speculative suggestion.
which led to the question. I have often being accused of thinking too much.
What I found helpful in this wonderful discussion was it depends on what the free thing is that is being offered. I too have been accused of such things. I consider it a play on words in many ways. Our language and how we use it is very complex. Thanks for a great question.
You are very welcome and I am happy to meet a fellow photographer on HubPages:)
I use the word free for crochet hubs. They do well and are categorized differently on Google search than the ones you need to pay for. Free isn't a bad word.
I seem to be a cult of one as to the free thing. Oh, well.
paradigmsearch - I would not have said it like it quite like that I know that I for one am always grateful for your valued input:)
Thanks. In my case, they were low traffic hubs anyway; good of an experiment as any. And, because of this thread, I feel fine about the couple of "free"'s I didn't delete. All is well.
Free is a great keyword and one I personally use all the time when looking for, well, free things.
If it is a subject or product I was interested in, I would certainly click on an article that had free in the title. Just make sure your article does deal with something that is free. Nothing worse than clicking on an article that says free only to find that it is far from free.
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