Keyword stuffing is an old-school SEO tactic that was used to get high rankings for a target keyword. These days, it’s pretty much just a sure way to get your website penalized by search engines—and if you’re going for organic traffic then that’s the last thing you want to do. When searching and asking around for tips to optimize your site for SEO, it’s good to be aware of the “bad advice”.
What is Keyword Stuffing?
Keyword stuffing is when you place a keyword in your content too many times. It’s an old black-hat SEO tactic that doesn’t work and will only harm your rep. The idea was that this would help search engines know what your content is about. The downside is that it was also seen as kind of annoying and spammy by users. Keyword stuffing can hurt your website’s rankings and reputation so it’s not a good idea to use this outdated SEO tactic.
Have you ever read a page or article and noticed the same phrase was used over and over again? Trust me, if you noticed it, other people notice it too. Not only does it look unprofessional to try to force a keyword into a sentence, but it also makes your content look like spam to search engines.
Why you shouldn’t try keyword stuffing
Modern search engines aren’t likely to rank keyword-stuffed pages. In fact, keyword stuffing can be detected by search engines, which may penalize your site or prevent it from ranking well.
This means that if you stuff a page with keywords hoping to generate traffic and visitors through organic search results, you’re probably going to be disappointed. Search engines have advanced over the years and are now much better at evaluating the quality of a website’s content. If your site is full of spammy content that isn’t doing anything for users or providing them with any value (and especially if it’s not even readable), then chances are people won’t visit and it won’t rank well in natural results either.
How to avoid keyword stuffing
Focus on your users and content quality. When you’re writing content that focuses on your users, the keywords become less important. You won’t need to worry about keyword stuffing or other SEO tactics in order to rank well in Google search results.
By focusing on user problems, the solutions become obvious and the content naturally flows together with those solutions–so it’s easy for you (the writer) to write about them and for your readers to understand what you’re saying. Use a tool like AnswerThePublic to discover what questions people interested in your industry are asking, and write content to answer those questions.
Focus on helpful, valuable content
Instead of trying to squeeze in keywords, focus on creating valuable content that helps your users and builds up your reputation as an authority in the industry. You can do this by making sure that most of your content is focused on ways to solve user problems, or on other useful information that they want to consume.
- User problems are questions about how something works, or what it does. If you know how a particular tool works, you are likely able to answer other people’s questions about it (and thus help them).
- Useful information could be anything from “how-to” guides, lists of tips & tricks related to a topic, explanations about a service, etc.
How often should you use a keyword?
Use your target keyword 2-3 times, depending on the length of your post. If you have a short post (500 words or less), use the keyword 1-2 times. If you have a longer post (between 500 and 1000 words), use it 2-3 times. For even longer posts (1000+ words), 3-4 times is recommended for good keyword density. You can use a plugin such as Yoast SEO to help determine your keyphrase density.
While keyword stuffing is an outdated practice that will likely hurt your SEO rankings, there are still plenty of ways to get the attention of search engines. The best way is to create content that’s valuable for users and builds up your reputation as an authority in your industry.
To recap: What is keyword stuffing and how to avoid it?
- Keyword stuffing is an old SEO tactic of overusing a keyword in a post or page
- Avoid using the same words and similar phrases multiple times on a single page in most cases
- Make sure your content makes sense when read without any specific search terms in mind (i.e., don’t include words or phrases just because they have high search volume)
- Keep content quality in mind
- Write content that focuses on solving people’s problems and pain points
- Write content that answers top-asked questions by people interested in your business or service
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