If you think you can gain more traffic through indulging in keyword stuffing, then you should rethink your strategy. The driving force of your website, blogs, and articles is your readers or customers, and keyword stuffing is a cheap tactic to try and get ahead.
No doubt, keywords have always been a powerful force in digital marketing, but they should be used properly and carefully. This is because search engines like Google have a smart algorithm that allows them to track any misuse of keywords in your blogs and content, which can lead to “keyword stuffing”.
What is Keyword stuffing?
According to Google’s guidelines, keyword stuffing, in simple terms, is an unhealthy practice of excessively filling 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 boost a web page’s visibility.
However, search engines became smarter with time, and as a result, they started issuing keyword stuffing penalties for misuse. Google has the power to penalize your website by demoting the ranking, or even by simply deleting it from its index.
Keyword stuffing examples
Keyword stuffing is best avoided altogether. However, clearly, it is still necessary to place your targeted keywords within website content, but be smart about it. Many website owners fail to keep a balance and end up becoming penalized by Google. Let’s take a look at the following keyword stuffing example:
Predictably, both readers and Google won’t be satisfied with this type of keyword-stuffed content. Here’s how to identify and avoid some of the biggest red flags…
Types of visible keyword stuffing:
- Unnecessarily repeating words or phrases in the content
- Adding words that are out of context and irrelevant
- Inserting blocks of the same keyword everywhere
- Using keywords that are irrelevant to the topic of the page
What’s more, some websites try to outsmart the system by stuffing keywords where they’re not visible. For example, they camouflage keywords by making them the same color as the website’s background or place keywords within the page’s code so that it’s not visible to the web visitor. Regardless of these tricks, the search engines can detect them.
So, how do you avoid keyword stuffing and use your keywords effectively? Here’s a list of five ways how you can avoid keyword stuffing altogether, with more detail below:
- Assign a primary keyword to your website
- Keep up with the keyword density
- Create longer but relevant content
- Use secondary keywords, keywords 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 all about, so it’s time to define the main intent and assign a single target keyword that best represents the main topic of the webpage, along with several closely-related search terms.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t devote any two of your web pages to a single issue, a single search intent. So, it’s better to go for new, unique search intent, and, therefore, a new, unique target search term. When you do this, it will prevent your pages from battling for a single spot in the SERPs (known as keyword cannibalization) and will help search engines get a clear picture of the page’s main topic.
2. Keep up with the keyword density
The best recipe to create brilliant content is to try sprinkling the text with the target keyword, but do not go overboard and stuff it. Try your best to insert the keyword only where and when it feels relevant and natural to the general flow of the text.
Now, you might be thinking, how many keywords are too many in a single piece of content? Although the guidelines are flexible on this issue, best SEO practices suggest you maintain an optimal keyword density of around 2% to keep up with a healthy target keyword to the total number of keywords ratio.
If you’re using WordPress as your CMS, don’t forget to use the Yoast SEO plugin to keep tabs on your keyword density rate.
3. Create longer but relevant content
If your content covers the topic in detail, it is more likely to get attention from search engines. And if it doesn’t have a lot of text, that can be difficult to get traffic. Go by this rule – the longer a piece of content is, the more space there is to place with various relevant keywords and the fewer room to stuff it full with keywords. Expert SEO practitioners try to write at least 300 words in their content to get Google to notice it and give it proper SERP consideration.
4. Use secondary keywords
Don’t hesitate to take 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 offers more proof on the main topic of a web page.
Long-tail keywords deliver more context and they can also let search engines know if your content contains any answers to important questions. Besides, the use of synonym keywords helps the search engine be sure that it’s relevant, and as a result, it can rank your site content higher in search. The synonyms confirm that you are writing relevant and high-quality content for people, not machines.
5. Add the target keyword to page elements
Try adding the target keyword to all the right places across page elements, such as page title, meta description, meta title, beginning and ending of the text, subheadings, and an image alt tag. And if you add the target keyword in the main body of the content as well as in all of the metadata fields, this can result in the page getting ranked for the right target search term in the SERPs.
So, make sure you get rid of keyword stuffing and avoid penalties. Take your time to do proper keyword research and focus on creating quality content for your audience. We the tips provided will help you understand why, as tempting as it is, this isn’t the way to go and there are far better ways to reach a wider audience.
If you need any help developing a smarter digital marketing strategy, please get in touch and we will be happy to assist.