Effective SEO involves more than following the latest best practices. It also involves avoiding critical mistakes. It is particularly true when you consider that some of the formerly popular SEO practices have been proven to reduce your ranking in searches.
A typical keyword-stuffing tactic in the past could be used to trick search engines and increase traffic. However, search engines have changed since then, and websites that utilize such practices are now penalized.
What is keyword stuffing? What's an example?
It is important to remember that keywords still play an essential role in SEO. Although they aren’t the only component of an effective SEO strategy, in general, you should identify the search terms your audience is most likely to use and integrate them naturally into your content.
The most important word here is “naturally.” When used in content for legitimate reasons, keywords in SEO are most effective.
The point also reveals the difference between intelligent keyword usage and keyword stuffing.
Identifying search terms you expect your audience to use and stuffing pages with them even when they don’t make sense is keyword stuffing. Marketers also overuse keywords that don’t have much to do with a page’s content.
Let’s take an example of keyword stuffing to better understand it. Perhaps you’re promoting a dental practice. Maybe a regular part of your strategy is providing dental care advice in a blog.
The audience you’re trying to reach may be searching for dentists in your locality, so you may wish to include “dentists near [your location]” in one of your keywords. There may also be cases in which this makes sense to use in your content.
However, putting it in too many places will make the text unnatural and forced. For example, perhaps you’re writing a post that offers readers advice on which toothpaste to use. Although it’s essential to brush your teeth with the right toothpaste, regular dental care is necessary. That said, there are few other instances in which you should use “dentist in [your location]” in the content of a blog entry focused on this topic. Including it, too many times would therefore be considered keyword stuffing.
Why is keyword stuffing bad?
Knowing what keyword stuffing doesn’t mean, you’ll understand why using keywords frequently doesn’t help you rank higher.
Today’s algorithms consider the content of a page and how guests interact and engage with the content. Therefore, every page ranking should account for the social signals guests send to search engines to ensure users find the content they’re looking for when they perform relevant searches.
Keyword stuffing can cause your visitors to quit reading or close the page (high bounce rate) earlier than they otherwise would. The language sounds unnatural when the keywords are squeezed in wherever possible.
We probably don’t have to tell you why readers don’t find such content appealing.
Users that quickly realize the content isn’t relevant to their needs, and leave the page, also signals Google’s algorithm that the page’s quality is lacking. If the quality of the content was strong, customers would spend more time engaging with it.
Matt Cut notes that Google’s teams are also familiar with cheap SEO tricks to trick search engines into favoring pages. The search giant has responded to this by adjusting its algorithms to detect and potentially penalize pages that utilize these cheap SEO methods.
The Best Way to Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Its popularity is only attributed to the fact that it was effective when search engines were not as strong as they are now.
The best way to avoid keyword stuffing is to research search engine best practices, which are constantly changing, to figure out what experts believe is an appropriate keyword density for a page at the present time.
You might also have a general keyword strategy that results in positive results consistently. There is no need to repeat a keyword in an introduction, conclusion, and header or subheading.
Use keywords when it makes sense to do so in your content, though. As search engine algorithms keep improving, they increasingly reward pages that deliver what users are looking for. If you focus on publishing strong content while using keywords when it makes sense, your SEO will likely improve even more.