Keyword stuffing – what’s the theory and what’s the actual practice of this procedure? Is it better to avoid it, use it moderately, or maybe strike a balance? What do the search engine guidelines say about it? Read more on PiotrPolok.pl
Table of contents
Definition of keyword stuffing
Keyword stuffing involves unnatural insertion of phrases into the text. We are talking about the repeated use of the same keyword in the title, introduction, headings and paragraphs, and even within subsections formatted as lists.
Not allowed, but it works
Visiting Google’s official developer guidelines, it becomes clear that keyword stuffing is not allowed. As detailed under the section ‘Irrelevant Keywords,’ the guidelines state:
Stuffing pages with keywords or numbers reduces the user experience of such pages, and may also lower the ranking of such a site. Create sites rich in useful content, where keywords appear in the right places and in the right context.
Consider this example, often cited in the Internet marketing industry. Search for “shopping Sundays” on Google and review the content of the first ten results on the first page. You’ll find a news site article that uses this phrase 28 times, resulting in text that sounds mechanically generated, yet it achieved its purpose of attracting clicks and traffic for advertising revenue. From a business standpoint, this approach may be understandable, but it shows little regard for the reader’s experience.
Let go of keyword stuffing
About a decade ago, it was common in online marketing to saturate webpage text with a keyword or a group of keywords. The content often lacked value and came from the tools/mixers that generated it. Google has since taken measures to discourage such practices. In my opinion, keyword stuffing is no longer necessary today, and I refer here to a source discussing ‘Similar Keyword Variations’:
With similar keyword variations, you can reach users who are searching for your business with phrases that are similar to your chosen keywords, but are not the same. In this way, you take into account the slight differences in the search terms searched by different people. To reach them, you no longer have to create long lists with all possible keywords.
If you use tools to structure your text and select the right keywords, you might be prompted to increase the phrase count to achieve a certain text score, like 80/100. Pay attention to this and use common sense, because thoughtlessly adding or even stuffing keywords leads to over-optimizing the content with phrases. As a result, the text may not be visible in search results.
Other tools, such as popular SEO plugins for WordPress, might indicate an excessive use of keywords in paragraphs and headings and suggest reducing them. Remember, these tools are guidelines, not definitive solutions. They are meant to assist, but not replace, skilled writing and optimization. Consult a copywriter or SEO specialist to ensure both the structure and content are suitable for publishing. If you need further assistance, consider visiting the marketing consultation section.
How do you find the golden mean?
If you want to create content and include keywords while keeping it natural, apply the following tips:
- Take care of the proportion, e.g. insert a keyword 4-5 times in a text of 3000-4000 characters with spaces (these are my guidelines, not the official ones, but it’s advisable to pay attention to them).
- Use variations and synonyms – as I mentioned above – Google can handle them properly.
- Use keywords (phrases) that relate to the text. For example, when writing about the ranking of dishwashers, avoid words like “cheap socks”.
- Write for the user and keep search engine robots in mind, but never the other way around.
- Be sure to include industry and colloquial phrases.
- Think about how you can incorporate the incorrect keywords into the text. You can learn more from the text “Misspelled keywords. Is it worth using them in marketing”.
What is the keyword stuffing?
Setting aside the potential visibility issues and penalties from Google search, the use of keyword stuffing can adversely affect your brand’s image. There’s a significant difference between simply reaching users and convincing them to engage with your offer or purchase your product. Consider whether a text that prioritizes keywords over the actual benefits, usage examples, ordering process, etc., would be truly persuasive.
Indeed, there are certain industries where the content’s depth is less crucial, and the primary goal is to prompt immediate action, such as clicking a phone number from search results. This can be true for services needed urgently, like roadside assistance or tire services. However, for service websites or online stores, where users typically spend more time considering their options, eliminating keyword stuffing is advisable. In these contexts, the quality of the text can be a decisive factor in the user’s decision-making process.