Keyword stuffing: what is it and why should you avoid it?
If you think you can get more traffic by indulging in keyword stuffing, you need to rethink your strategy. The driving force behind your website, blogs, and articles is your readers or customers, and keyword stuffing is a cheap tactic to get ahead.
Undoubtedly, keywords have always been a powerful force in digital marketing, but they must be used correctly and carefully. This is because search engines like Google have a clever algorithm that allows them to track any misuse of keywords in your blogs and content, which can lead to “keyword
What is “keyword stuffing”?
According to Google’s guidelines, “keyword stuffing” is, in simple terms, an unhealthy practise of over-stuffing a web page with random keywords, where the ultimate goal is to manipulate the search engine’s ranking system. Previously, it was easier to manipulate Google’s SERP (search engine results page) and increase the visibility of a web page.
However, search engines got smarter over time, and as a result, they started imposing keyword stuffing fines for abuse. Google has the power to penalise your website by lowering its ranking or even simply removing it from its index.
Examples of keywords
Keyword stuffing is best avoided altogether. However, it is clear that it is still necessary to place your targeted keywords in the content of the website, but be smart about it. Many website owners fail to keep the balance and end up being penalised by Google. Let’s look at the following keyword stuffing example:
Unsurprisingly, both readers and Google won’t be satisfied with this kind of keyword-filled content. Here’s how to identify and avoid some of the biggest red flags:
Types of visible keywords:
- Unnecessarily repeating words or phrases in the content
- Adding words that are out of context and irrelevant
- Insert blocks of the same keyword everywhere.
- Use keywords that aren’t relevant to the topic of the page.
In addition, some websites try to outsmart the system by stuffing keywords where they are not visible. For example, they camouflage keywords by giving them the same colour as the background of the website or place keywords in the code of the page so that they are not visible to the web visitor. Regardless of these tricks, the search engines can detect them.
So, how do you prevent keyword stuffing and use your keywords effectively? Here’s a list of five ways you can avoid keyword overuse, with more details below:
- Assign a primary keyword to your website.
- Keep track of keyword density.
- Make longer but more relevant content.
- Use secondary keywords, keyword synonyms, and long-tail keywords.
- Add the target keyword to page elements.
How to avoid keyword stuffing
1. Assign a primary keyword to your website.
You know what your website or business is about, so it’s time to define the main intent and assign a single keyword that best represents the main topic of the web page along with several closely related search terms.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t dedicate two of your web pages to a single issue or a single search intent. It is therefore better to go for a new, unique search intent and therefore a new, unique target search term. When you do this, it prevents your pages from competing for a single spot in the SERPs (known as “keyword cannibalization“) and helps search engines get a clear idea of the main topic of the page.
2. Keep track of keyword density.
The best way to create brilliant content is to try to sprinkle the text with the target keyword, but don’t overdo it and cram it. Do your best to only insert the keyword where and when it feels relevant and natural to the overall flow of the text.
Now you may be thinking, “How many keywords are too many in one piece of content?” While the guidelines are flexible on this point, best SEO practises recommend that you maintain an optimal keyword density of around 2% to maintain a healthy ratio of keywords to total keywords.
If you use WordPress as your CMS, don’t forget to use the Yoast SEO plugin to keep an eye on your keyword density.
3. Create longer but relevant content.
If your content covers the topic in detail, it is more likely to grab the attention of search engines. And if it doesn’t have a lot of text, it can be hard to get traffic. Stick to this rule: the longer a piece of content is, the more room there is to put different relevant keywords, and the less room there is to cram it with keywordsraffic. Stick to this rule: the longer a piece of content is, the more room there is to put different relevant keywords, and the less room there is to cram it with keywords. Expert SEO practitioners try to write at least 300 words in their content to ensure that Google notices and gives it proper SERP consideration.
4. Use secondary keywords.
Don’t hesitate to use the help of the secondary keywords, synonyms, and long-tail variations in your content. When you use such words, it gives search engines additional context that provides more evidence for a web page’s main topic.
Long-tail keywords provide more context and can also let search engines know if your content contains answers to important questions. In addition, using synonymous keywords helps the search engine make sure it’s relevant, and as a result, it can rank your site content higher in search results. The synonyms confirm that you are writing high-quality, relevant content for humans, not machines.
5. Add the target keyword to page elements.
Try to include the target keyword in appropriate places in page elements, such as the page title, meta description, meta title, start and end of text, subheadings, and an alt tag for images. And adding the target keyword to the body of the content and in all metadata fields can lead to the page ranking for the correct target search term in the SERPs.
So make sure you remove keyword overuse and avoid penalties. Take the time to do proper keyword research and focus on creating quality content for your audience. With the tips given, we understand why this, as tempting as it may be, is not the way to go and that there are much better ways to reach a larger audience.
If you need help developing a smarter digital marketing strategy,