Learn how to write quality content by avoiding the most ancient mistake in SEO - Keyword stuffing. Once you understand what this is and how to prevent it, you will understand how to write better content that your users and search engines will approve of.
What Is Keyword Stuffing?
Keyword stuffing is when you fill up a page with as many instances of your target keyword as possible, despite how it might affect the quality of your content. Often, these keywords will appear out of context or unnaturally.
When you read text that is stuffing as many keywords as possible into it, it jumps off of the page/screen as odd. This is something you never want to do for many reasons. For one, your users will instantly lose trust in your content, but for two, it will hurt your ranking potential.
Why Is Keyword Stuffing Bad For SEO?
Keyword stuffing is horrible for SEO because search engines have been trained to recognize it, and they will penalize you if they determine you are keyword stuffing. The reason you will be penalized for stuffed keywords is that search engines see it as a form of manipulation. The best, most trustworthy websites don't need to manipulate their way to the top. They simply float to the top naturally because their content attracts and hooks a consistent audience.
Why Should You Avoid Keyword Stuffing?
You should never keyword stuff because search engines and users alike will view your content as poor quality. In addition, you will be penalized for stuffing random keywords unnecessarily throughout your content. If getting organic traffic and growing your website in a healthy way is your goal, making simple mistakes like stuffing keywords is a quick way to ruin your chances.
Keyword Stuffing Is A Ranking Factor
Keyword stuffing is not a positive ranking factor because if you stuff keywords unnaturally in your content, you will not rank. In fact, not only will you not rank, you'll actually be penalized.
The goal of a search engine is to provide the most relevant, quality, authoritative resource in response to a user's query. Content that is typically seen that way is normally comprehensive, uses a logical structure, and is worded very naturally.
What Google Says About Keyword Stuffing
Google has been very clear about its stance on keyword stuffing; it is against its Search Essentials (formerly Webmaster Guidelines), and content found breaking these guidelines will be suppressed in the rankings. Google views webpages/websites that stuff keywords as manipulative, and they will prevent users from seeing content guilty of this practice.
Understanding Keyword Density
Historically, SEOs would use a percentage to guide how often they could squeeze their primary keywords into their content. This percentage ranged from 3-8%, and in the past if you went over that percentage, you were said to be stuffing keywords. But, Google has since debunked this percentage, and this can be proven by just researching into your competitors.
According to Google, keyword density doesn't matter at all. What truly matters is that your content isn't trying to squeeze keywords in where they don't belong. As long as you write quality content that reads naturally and smoothly, you can use your keywords as often as you want. Just make sure that you fit them in naturally.
If you understand keywords well enough, you can easily create a list of keywords and keyword phrases that can be used interchangeably with your primary keyword.
An Example Of Keyword Stuffing
Google itself provides an example of keyword stuffing:
"Unlimited app store credit. There are so many sites that claim to offer app store credit for $0 but they're all fake and always mess up with users looking for unlimited app store credits. You can get limitless credits for app store right here on this website. Visit our unlimited app store credit page and get it today!"
If you had to read an entire book written like the text above, it would be almost impossible. Text written for search engines will never gain a following of dedicated users because it provides nothing of value to users.
4 Tips On How To Avoid Keyword Stuffing
These four tips aren't all of the ways to avoid keyword stuffing, but they are a great start to learn to write quality content.
Never use the same version of your primary keyword. It's best to use different variations, synonyms, and even abbreviations of your main keyword throughout your content to avoid keyword stuffing.
Your goal should be to write the most interesting, informative, and quality content possible, and that cannot be done by unnaturally using the same word hundreds of times per article.
Competitive and comparative analysis is good for helping you develop proper document structure for your headings. Once you have proper heading structure, you can easily write content to fill out your page. In the process, you'll naturally be able to fit your keywords in as often as needed.
Don't Chase Low Hanging Fruit
The only time you should have issues squeezing your primary keyword in your content is if you're targeting keywords just to get traffic. Ideally, you should take the longer, more difficult route that entails writing large topic clusters to flesh out your coverage of your niche. Doing this will take much longer to achieve topical authority, but you will never have an issue with making your keywords fill out the page naturally. You won't even have to try because they will be completely relevant and necessary to your entire page.
Write Quality & Helpful Content
The most important way you'll avoid keyword stuffing is to create content that is truly captivating, helpful and unique. Writing content like this will enable you to get away with your keyword appearing more often than ordinarily would be acceptable. Not that you should be keyword stuffing, but quality content will naturally be much less likely to be penalized than low-quality content. As long as you aren't just using keywords to achieve a specific "keyword density".
How Can You Fix A Keyword Stuffing Penalty
Once you know you have been penalized for keyword spamming, the first thing you need to do, is to address your content. If you know your content is stuffing keywords, it all needs to be rewritten. There is no way around that.
The best thing you can do is to head over to our comprehensive resource on how to write optimized content and start improving your webpages.