Why You Should Stop Keyword Stuffing in SEO Now
Keyword stuffing is one of those things left over from the earliest days of digital marketing that refuses to go away.
You have already seen in it in action if you have come across blogs full of phrases like “best seafood near me” or “women dress store Atlanta.”
It is awkward, unnatural, and still one of the go-to techniques for many content creators. Why?
Why Keyword Stuffing Became So Popular
As digital marketing and search engines evolved, it became clear that people tended to use specific phrases when doing an Internet search. Marketers figured out that they could get high rankings for their clients by filling content with these phrases. That led to lots of ads and other content filled with popular search phrases.
As the practice spread, so did the number of keywords crammed into the content. It got to the point where popular keyword phrases were making their way into landing pages and blogs, even if they didn’t fulfill the user’s intent. That meant lots of annoyed users who didn’t end up finding “red sandals Dallas” when they clicked on an ad or link.
How Keyword Stuffing Hurts You Today
Connecting audiences to their desired result is the primary goal of search engines. Having tons of users annoyed by low-quality results does not allow them to do that. Search engines now reward content written for actual human consumption, not to game their algorithms in pursuit of higher search rankings. Spammy content that does not satisfy user intent now gets driven down in SERPs.
One of the things search engines judge when determining whether the content is useful is the keyword density throughout a piece of content. You may be using keywords that tie into your client’s product, but the sheer volume used could have it penalized.
That also applies to your hidden web content. Some content creators attempt to circumvent search engine penalties by stuffing multiple keywords into the alt tags in images or the meta tags in their HTML. Search engines are aware of these tactics, and will penalize your pages in response.
Better SEO Techniques for Your Keywords
Keywords still help improve page rankings, when used correctly. Working the following techniques into your content will earn better rankings by Google and other search engines.
One thing you can let go of is the idea that you must use common search phrases in a specific order.
Let’s go back to our “red shoes Dallas” example from before. You could easily rewrite the phrase to read, “We have many red high-heeled shoes in stock at our Dallas location.” and get the desired result.
Google, for example, understands how to match that directly to the keyword phrase in question and pull back the proper result. The content itself is richer and much more comfortable for a visitor to consume. Using keywords this way also helps when users issue voice searches through IoT or mobile devices.
Lower Keyword Density
Make sure the body of your blogs and articles contain at least 300 words. The longer and more useful you make them, the easier it will be to naturally work in keyword phrases, while maintaining a keyword density of around 2 percent.
You should also use secondary keywords and other long-tailed keywords that tie back to your content. Search engines will continue to give you better rankings, if you maintain a proper balance.
Summing It All Up
Keyword stuffing is an outdated methodology that unfortunately still gets widely used. Search engines penalize pages that use keyword stuffing techniques.
Instead of unnaturally adding keywords to your pages, use natural phrasing and long-tailed variations in rich content to help content rank better in SERPs. Ultimately, letting go of outdated keyword stuffing benefits content creators, search engines and, most importantly, your prospective customers.
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Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on Forbes.com, Inc.com, MSN.com, and many other major business media outlets.
Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.