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What Is Keyword Stuffing and How Do I Avoid It?

Keywords are snippets of data that a search engine uses to decide whether your web page has relevant content based on what is being searched for. Selecting the right keywords can lead to improved search engine rankings and website visitor traffic. To learn more about keywords and why they are important click here.

When you think of what your company has to offer you may think of many services you provide. Each service can have several keywords associated with it. You might think that since you offer all these services you should have numerous keywords for each web page, however you should refrain from using more than one keyword (or keyword phrase) on a particular page, as this is referred to as “keyword stuffing.” This is a big, red flag for search engines.

What is Keyword Stuffing?

Google defines keyword stuffing as “the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site's ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose)”.

Keyword stuffing can include lists of phone numbers with no substantial value, blocks of text used to increase search rankings for a certain field or location, and repeating the same words throughout a web page too often (which appears unnatural). Another example is trying to hide text within a page by using the same color text as the background so users cannot see it, but a search engine can read it.

The Dangers of Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing can be detrimental to your website traffic due to potential penalties. Here are some potential penalties for keyword stuffing (or other nefarious behavior):

  1. Bumped down in the search rankings.

  2. Increase in website’s bounce rate.

  3. Decrease in engagement.

  4. Decrease in returning visitors.

  5. Could be given a search penalty which will remove a website from the search engine results pages (SERPs).

How Do I Avoid Keyword Stuffing?

These three strategies will help you to increase your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) while avoiding keyword stuffing penalties.

  1. Select a Primary Keyword: First and foremost, it is important to have only one primary keyword assigned to each web page. This keyword should be relevant to the web page’s content and related to the overall theme of the website. To learn more about selecting a primary keyword check out our article on keyword mapping.

  2. Create Enough Content: Next, be sure the web page content is related to the primary keyword. At a minimum there should be 300 words per page. It is important to have enough content so the search engine can determine the main idea for each page. Don’t overwhelm the search engine (or reader!) with too much extraneous content. Try to keep your content relevant to the primary keyword and to the point.

  3. Implement Appropriate Keyword Optimization Tactics: When a web page is assigned a primary keyword, make it easy for a search engine to understand the purpose of the page. There are several key optimization techniques that go beyond just content. On the front-end of the web page include the primary keyword in the heading 1 (H1) tag. On the back-end of the website put the primary keyword as the title tag and also include it in the meta description, the URL, the image alt tag, and the meta tags.

Above all, don’t try to manipulate or play games with search engines or your SEO settings. If you follow this rule, you shouldn’t have to worry about keyword stuffing or any other potential penalties from search engines.

Not sure if you are keyword stuffing? Contact us or book a meeting and we will take a look at your website to see if you are keyword stuffing and what we can do to improve your search engine optimization.


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