What Happens When Keyword Stuffing Goes Too Far?
Reaching every possible person in your target audience is one of the most universally-shared goals for brands, businesses and blogs alike. In order to do so, there are numerous methods: search engines, email and social media are just a few examples of the available strategies. For most, search engines remain a pivotal component of both paid and organic content marketing strategies.
SEO in particular has encouraged countless brands to reach for new heights, and for many years, the use of keywords has been at the center of most SEO strategies. While identifying and utilizing keywords to target select niches is ideal, the practice can be detrimental. Search engines look out for what is known as “keyword stuffing” more than ever – what happens if you take things too far?
Keep reading to find out the consequences of keyword stuffing.
Subpar Content Outcomes
While it may not be the first concern that pops into the minds of content creators, an excessive amount of keyword usage can actually repel audiences. If your content is crammed full of keywords to the point that it feels like every few words is a pitch to search engines, this ultimately makes your content less readable and engaging.
Nobody wants to read a mash-up of words designed to be pinging search engines for better SEO outcomes. The flow of your content inevitably will seem robotic, off-topic, excessive or even nonsensical.
For this reason, occasional keyword usage coupled with a broader strategy of writing for people is your best bet. Search engine algorithms have evolved immensely over the past few years and can usually detect relevant keywords you’re targeting without the need for stuffing them into every sentence. Furthermore, search engines also evaluate how (and if) readers are engaging with your content – so if you’re writing compelling content, you can achieve the desired outcomes without trying to cheat.
Search Engine Penalties
In the old days, it was easy enough to cram a senseless number of keywords onto each page and quickly rank for a variety of search engine results pages. For those who used the internet many years ago, it’s easy to remember all of the websites that had reams of related keywords stuffed in obvious fashion at the bottom of each page. Well, those days have long since passed – and the bar for keyword usage in general has been raised substantially.
Search engines like Google actively analyze content in search of abusers, which analyzes a plethora of elements. However, keyword stuffing in general is something that search engines have become very effective at identifying: if you’re just cramming in one keyword and phrase after another (or even just overusing one or two phrases), it’ll stick out like a sore thumb.
The end result? Your pages can be penalized, quickly falling into the doldrums of search rankings. With repeated abuse, your pages may be removed from search results altogether. It will take a substantial amount of work and time to recover from such penalties if they occur, so pinging search engines with excessive keyword usage is just not worth it.
When keyword stuffing goes too far, you not only risk ruining your reputation among readers, but you could completely devastate your SEO efforts as well. Be relevant and conservative with keyword usage, follow best practices, and resist the temptation to over-emphasize your search targets in each piece of content you create.