It is no secret that keywords are a powerful force in the SEO writing world.
However, as it has often been said that, “too much of anything is poisonous”, and that saying applies to keywords too.
Too many websites do not understand how essential it is to regulate keywords in their articles and hence end up being victims of keyword stuffing.
Nevertheless, all milk is not spilled because through this article, I will be discussing all important details on keyword stuffing such as what it is, why it’s harmful to websites, and lastly how to avoid it.
So, having said that, let’s get the ball rolling,
What is Keyword Stuffing
This is the practice of excessively filling content with keywords.
It’s considered a “black hat” SEO practice by Google and what this means is, it violates Google’s terms of service because you fill in unnecessary words in your work just so you can be ranked highly.
There are many types of keyword stuffing which include;
• Using many keywords that are unrelated to the topic of discussion
• Repeating certain phrases or words unnecessarily just for them to appear a lot in your content
• Adding sections of the same keyword throughout your article.
• Invisibly including a keyword by for example by disguising your text by giving it the same color as the background of the web page
All of these come to one thing, and that is, they should be avoided at all costs because they are indeed detrimental both to the quality of an article and to the website itself.
In the past, Google was lenient with its guidelines on keyword use. And because of this, it was easier for websites to take advantage of that by using keywords excessively and hence increasing their chances to rank well on the search result pages.
However, as time went on and as Google sought to provide the best content experience to its users, its algorithms were updated to ensure that keywords are not misused.
In February 2011, the Panda algorithm update was released which aimed to reduce the negative content practices such as spamming, using duplicate content, plagiarism, and keyword stuffing.
They came up with penalties for people that affected people doing these bad practices and the effect of this update was felt even more in 2016 when the update got into full gear.
The penalties are still in place now.
Why Keyword Stuffing is Bad For Your Website
• Provides poor quality content to your audience
The main reason for providing content to people is to give them the best content that answers their questions and solves the issues that they need help with.
So when you fill your content with keywords just to get rankings, you deny your audience the privilege of having good quality as well as the opportunity to benefit from your content.
• It may result in you being ranked very poorly on search engines
This is one of the penalties that were set in place for those websites that keep using negative practices.
Google systems are getting more intelligent by the day and are now able to detect when you flood your content with keywords with the aim of getting it to the top positions.
If certain words are appearing repeatedly then the search engine automatically reduces the value of that article and as such ranks it poorly.
• Increases audience bounce rate
The bounce rate of a website is the rate at which website visitors click out of a website after clicking in to read.
If the visitors leave your website a few seconds after getting in, it shows Google that your content was not valuable to them.
And if this happens with a huge number of your visitors, then it shows your content is not a good match for the readers, which will reduce the rankings of the content and more valuable content will be put in that high ranks for it to meet the needs of the readers.
• Could attract other painful penalties by search engines
Search engines like Google have strictly prohibited keyword stuffing and hence penalize websites that bend those rules.
Other than being ranked among the last pages of Google, you can get another penalty that could get your content removed from the results completely!
This is how serious search engines are with keyword stuffing.
How to Avoid Keyword Stuffing
To avoid getting these penalties, it is important to become well versed with good keyword and content practices to help you get good ratings from the search engines and also get your website visitors to love the content you put out and stay longer on your website.
Here are some of the best practices to work with:
1. Do good keyword research
This is the very first aspect that you should consider because if you choose the best keyword then you won’t have a problem trying to deliver on it.
Good keyword research also helps you find keywords that you can use to rank your content fairly easily with, without having to stuff keywords in it.
This way, when you write naturally helpful content and promote it in the right ways, ranking it well should not be a problem for you.
If you don’t know how to do good keyword research, you can learn more about that here.
2. Write long content
When you invest yourself in creating content on different topics as thoroughly as you can, you end up with long useful content that has well-distributed keywords.
Long content will allow you to be able to touch on different angles of the topic you are discussing and therefore mention many keywords naturally and in a smooth way that will reward you.
When you write thin content and you want to place many keywords in there, you will find yourself forcing certain sentences of your article to accommodate those keywords and it will make the content sound unnatural and commercial based.
When people read it, they will know that you are not trying to help them. You are just doing it for the money.
3. Use long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are those keyword phrases that are made up of many words. They are usually used by people when they want to find something specific about a given topic.
Supposing you want to know how you can improve your keyword game so that your website gets a good SEO score.
If you went to any search engine, you would have to specify that so that you can get more accurate results.
And some of the phrases you would use to search for that topic include “best keyword practices for good SEO score” or “Best keyword tips for improving SEO for a website”.
As you can see, these are long phrases but they are helpful for getting specific information fast.
Now, as a website owner, if you target these types of keywords on your content and create high-quality content around them, you will be able to rank easily with them since they usually have low competition and you won’t need to have to result to bad practices to get good rankings.
4. Use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing keywords and these are keywords that mean the same thing as your main keyword but they are phrased differently.
Say your main keyword is “how to become a better content writer”. Instead of repeating this keyword numerous times in your article, you can use other variations of the keyword like “top tips for creating high-quality content” or “How to improve your content writing skills”.
These keywords help you to avoid repeating the same keyword, which results in keyword stuffing. Also, they help you rank for other related keywords that can easily add traffic to your content.
To discover great LSI keywords for your article, you can check Google related searches after you have searched for your main keyword or you can also use keyword tools in the same way.
5. Place your keywords appropriately
There is also a way that you should place your target keywords in your article well so that search engines can find them fast and know what topics to rank the article for as well as help your readers have a smooth experience with interacting with your article and feel satisfied with it.
While you aim to add LSI keywords in the article, you should first make sure that the main keyword has been well-placed in these key areas of your content:
~ Meta description
~ Page title
~ Title tag
But you should note that you don’t have to make sure you add your keyword in every one of these sections. Try to add in two or three sections and add the keyword variations in the other sections.
The first place you want to make sure the keyword appears in the first few paragraphs of your article.
6. Go through your work and check on your keyword density
It is very easy to get absorbed in writing to the point you don’t realize that you are making a lot of mistakes. This is why you must go over your work severally to check on how you have used keywords and phrases.
Straighten out any sections of your work where you have wrongly placed your keywords and reword areas where you have repeatedly used the same phrases or words.
And that is all you need to know about keyword stuffing.
I hope you have learned one or two things that you can incorporate in your work and most importantly, pay attention to how you can avoid keyword stuffing.
I wish you the best as you work with reliable and rewarding keyword practices and if you have any questions on this topic, feel free to ask for help in the comments section and I will be more glad to help you out. 🙂