Everything You Need to Know About Keyword Stuffing
For many years, those aware of the correlation between keywords, content and search engines could mercilessly exploit the connection for their own gain. As search engines evolved and gave more concern to browsing experience and user intent, the nature of search changed in many ways. Among them, the ability for bloggers, businesses and brands to exploit search results with an endless stuffing of keywords and phrases in order to rank prominently disappeared.
For years since, the act of keyword stuffing has been a net-negative for brands wishing to optimize their search visibility and relevance. But what exactly constitutes keyword stuffing and what should you know about it before developing a comprehensive content strategy?
We’ll dive into the details and explain what you should avoid to prevent your pages from suffering the wrath of search engines.
What Is Keyword Stuffing?
To put it simply, keyword stuffing involves cramming in one or more words or phrases into content that appears forced, out of context or otherwise is too densely-packed within the content itself.
We’ve all seen examples of keyword stuffing before, whether it be keywords for products stuffed into the body of content or an array of random keywords listed at the bottom of a page. People do this because pinging search engines with keywords is one of the prime methods through which they determine where and how content should be ranked.
How Search Engines View Keyword Stuffing
As mentioned, search engines use keywords to assess where content belongs in results. However, more isn’t always better: search engine algorithms have become especially adept at identifying the use of keyword stuffing, based on keyword density, phrasing and even context itself.
Search engines will not hesitate to apply search penalties to your website, drastically reducing the chances that it appears in relevant search results for users. As such, trying to game the system can actually result in you losing visitors rather than gaining them.
How Users View Keyword Stuffing
It shouldn’t be surprising that users don’t take much more kindly to obvious keyword stuffing than search engines. Even in situations where keyword stuffing might not be so blatant as to cause penalties, poorly-written content where keywords are jammed in over and over can leave the reader wanting better content.
The end result? Higher bounce rates and fewer returning visitors. While this might not be a technical issue like what keyword stuffing can cause with regard to search engine penalties, it is nevertheless another damaging effect of the practice.
How to Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Generally speaking, there are a couple of simple tips you can use to ensure you’re not purposefully or accidentally pinging search engines with keyword-stuffed content.
First, write longer content. The longer your content is, the less each primary and/or secondary keyword will comprise of the text. Search engines look at keyword density, so this is important.
Choose a primary keyword for each page or piece of content, and use that as your anchor. Use long-tail keywords here (the less competition, the better) and only use a specific keyword for a single page. You’ll be able to optimize plenty of pages and content offerings for a broader niche while targeting an array of related keywords.
Last but not least, be sure to use variations in your writing style. In conjunction with secondary keywords and various phrasing differences, you can make sure your content isn’t stuffed with keywords and also doesn’t read like a monotonous script.
Everything you need to know about keyword stuffing can be boiled down to the above information. Keyword stuffing is easy to avoid, simple to understand and dangerous to brands that use it. By employing the above advice, you’ll be able to avoid falling into this all-too-common SEO trap!