What's keyword stuffing and why is it bad?

What's keyword stuffing and why is it bad?

Keyword stuffing, or the practice of shoving numerous SEO keywords onto a page which has long been the bane of SEO white hats everywhere.

There was a time when the technique of stuffing worked. Back in the early years of search engines, you could manipulate a page's ranking on Google's SERP with keyword stuffing.

Websites might rank on a range of keywords by cluttering a page with them. Even if the keywords were unrelated and the website was lacking any genuine content.

You may be rather sophisticated how you go about it by concealing the keywords by matching their text colour to the background colour, or you may just be blatantly obnoxious about it.

User Experience

Naturally, this has resulted in poor user experience, people aren’t staying on sites that they think match their search criteria when they discover that the site doesn’t provide quality information/content, just the same words repeated hundreds of times.  You got them there under false pretences. Shame on you!

Google and other search engines are a lot smarter than you and they wised up and began filtering out sites that were found to be guilty of the technique and had keyword-stuffed pages, they weren’t good results for Google users so they didn’t appear in the search results. Google has power!

The Dangers of Keyword Stuffing and Over-Optimising

Keyword stuffing is now deemed to be a strictly black-hat tactic.

Does keyword stuffing work? That depends upon who you ask. It does tend to have some favourable short-term impact; however, it's playing with fire and seldom works in the long run. Google will penalise your website if they catch you stuffing the keyword turkey. Your page may be demoted in rankings for a period of time or worst-case scenario, permanently.

Google dislikes black hat tactics like SEO keyword stuffing due to the fact that those techniques attempt to beat the Google algorithm rather than focus on providing a quality and relevant user experience.

There is no point stuffing keywords so that you rank higher in Google to win traffic with the goal of getting visitors to your site where they will automatically buy.  They won’t.  Content is still king and if your content is not designed to provide your visitors with relevant, quality information and a Call to Action they are looking for, they will bounce right off your site and return to the search results.  This, in the end will damage your search engine ranking.  Think of it as a black mark against your URL each time this happens. Check your Bounce Rate in your Google Analytics stats and see the results of your method. Don’t count visits and feel rather good about yourself. It’s the bounce rate that counts.

Keyword Stuffing vs. Responsible Keyword Optimisation

Using keywords throughout your pages is fine, just don’t overdo it.  Use your keyword for that page in the Title, URL, Meta Description, Alt Tag and about 4 times in the content.  That’s it!

How to Insert Keywords Safely: Walking the Fine Line

So how do you use keyword responsibly?

There’s no magic number officially, however most SEO content writers aim for 2-5% keyword density.  Use a range of keywords and long-tail keywords to provide a bit of variation to your material to help you hit the sweet spot.

And because Google is getting pretty clever, try using synonyms.

Google knows that if a website} is discussing "clubs" and "bats," they are most likely discussing sports equipment and not flying mammals.

Due to the fact that synonyms assist Google to stay relevant, they tend to reward websites that use them. Having a variety of associated words indicates you’re your website is likely to have been designed to be written for humans rather than rambling on with the same words being used repeatedly for the sake of the site crawler.

If you need advice on SEO Keywords/Long Tail Keywords or content written for you, contact Manage My Marketing.

Follow on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn to connect.