What is keyword stuffing and why must I avoid it?

DSM Digital school of marketing - keyword stuffing

The term’ keyword stuffing’ refers to the practice of including a considerable number of keywords in the content on your website. In addition, keyword stuffing also consists of the stuffing of meta tags on the site. This is done to try and artificially increase a page’s ranking in search results in addition to driving more traffic to the site.

Why keyword stuffing is not good

What is a ‘keyword’?

A keyword is an important term that is relevant to the content of the website in question.

The purpose of search engines is to connect an audience with the content that will answer their search queries. This means that they use algorithms that do their very best to favour high-quality, informative content.

When content is not well written for a human audience but is instead structured to try and give the algorithm what is thought that it wants, the result is usually a spammy and artificial read. This text doesn’t serve a site visitor’s needs and (almost always) doesn’t deserve their attention.

Consequently, keyword stuffing is considered to be a black hat technique that goes against SEO best practices.

What is ‘black hat SEO’?

‘Black hat SEO’ happens when aggressive SEO strategies, techniques and tactics are used which concentrate on search engines and not a human audience. These types of methods are usually not in line with the guidelines set down by search engines.

Black hat SEO techniques include the following:

  • Keyword stuffing,
  • Text that is invisible, and
  • Doorway pages,

Examples of keyword stuffing

The search engine giant, Google, gives these examples of keyword stuffing. These are:

  • Lists of phone numbers without any added value that is substantial
  • Blocks of text which list cities and states that a webpage is attempting to rank for
  • Repeating the same words or phrases so frequently that it sounds unnatural. An example, which was first found on Yola, is:

We sell custom cigar humidors. Our custom cigar humidors are handmade. If you’re thinking of buying a custom cigar humidor, please contact our custom cigar humidor specialists at custom.cigar.humidors@example.com.

Keyword stuffing looks unsightly. Moreover, it gives the user a poor experience. This is because out-of-context content seems unnatural to any web visitor.

Keyword stuffing is often hidden

This is another example of a black hat SEO technique.  This practice makes keyword stuffing less evident to those who visit a website. For example, websites may use white text on a white background to hide the copy. Alternatively, they may conceal text by using CSS styling or positioning.

The keywords which are hidden are still visible to search engines. However, this hidden data is likely to penalise sites which make use of these methods. Search engines take a dim view of the practice. As such, they are expected to give a lower, not higher, search ranking scores.

How to Keep Keyword Density Natural

Useful Keyword Research

The primary step is the most vital. Find the right keywords to incorporate into the content before you even think about stuffing it! Without the right keywords, you won’t get close to having a successful website.

Dodge Inaccurate Phrases

You may end up adding incorrect phrases and sentences to your articles and website content. For example, ‘I am driving car’ is not correct. You need to add ‘a’ before car to make the sentence grammatically correct.

Even if you maintain the keyword density at an acceptable level, using incorrect phrases makes it difficult for you to get the results you are looking for from the content posted.

Up the Word Count

The best way to avoid keyword stuffing is by increasing the word count of your content.

If you pen 800 words instead of 500, it is possible to add more keywords in the extra 300 words. In this way, you don’t have to force a keyword in every 20 words or so.

At the same time, ensure that you aren’t only adding fluff to the content in an attempt to add words. Research beforehand so that the article or blog post remains informative and provides value to the readers.

Get in touch with the Digital School of Marketing

Want to learn more about copywriting in a digital age? The Digital School of Marketing’s Digital Copywriting and Content Marketing Course is just the way for you to achieve this. For more information about this and our other digital marketing courses, please visit our website.

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