Keyword Stuffing Can Kill Your SEO: Here’s How to Avoid it


Your website depends on SEO, especially when trying to have your website rank for specific keywords. It can be tempting to try and speed up the process, using keyword stuffing to push it higher on the results page. This black hat tactic was common a few years ago but remains a potential crutch for a few businesses. Unfortunately, it’s not helpful long-term and can end up killing your SEO efforts overall.

How does SEO work?

SEO (search engine optimization) is specific words or phrases used within a website to attract readers. As someone enters in a search term on Google (or another search engine), results containing similar words, phrases, or topics, will appear within the results. Search engines use crawlers to scan all web pages online to determine the best websites for the subject. Crawlers will continuously update websites and pages to reflect any new or relevant sites.

What is Keyword Stuffing?

The term keyword stuffing refers to any company that fills a webpage with a specific term repeatedly. This often includes unnatural repetition of the phrase or keyword throughout the text, additional words that are out of context, and adding any comments that don’t seem relevant to the page. Repeating the phrase will often push your keyword density beyond the normal average, which can flag the site with Google as a black hat website. For example, a keyword targeting sugar daddy London would include the phrase unnaturally throughout the copy. It would be placed in ways that don’t make sense to the reader or continuously repeat the word.

Keyword stuffing isn’t only the text visible to viewers; it can include any text hidden from readers but still displayed to search engines. This includes text that is the same color as the background, repetitive text throughout the meta or title tags, or including repeated keywords in the alt attributes on the page.

Understanding Keyword Density

Keyword density refers to how often a keyword or phrase is included in any page of text. To calculate the percentage, simply divide the number of times you’ve used the words by the total number of words on the page. Then, multiply the number by 100. Although Google continues to change the algorithm, it’s best to keep the percentage within 2% on any given page.

Any keywords included on a webpage should be natural and cohesive. The audience of a website is the reader, not the crawler. Pages should always be written for the reader, keeping content concise, relevant, and factual.

The Negative Impact of Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing creates a terrible experience for users; the focus shifts from the reader to the crawler, making it impossible to continue reading. When the reader struggles to read the content, they’ll simply leave the page. Your website traffic will suffer, with bounce rates (when a viewer clicks off the website quickly) climbing. The higher your bounce rate continues to rise, the less likely your website will appear in search results.

As keyword stuffing is considered a blackhat method of SEO, there’s also a chance that search engines may bring a search penalty. Search penalties can prevent your page from showing in search results permanently. That’s a massive risk for a small business trying to get ahead.

How to Use Keywords Properly in Your Content

Establish your primary keyword for each page

When starting the SEO for a page, you need to establish the primary keyword. This phrase should be relevant or closely connected to the content, preferably a popular term that’s low competition. Try to have one keyword per page, having each page different than the others. Choosing the same keyword repeatedly throughout your site will have content competing against each other.

Incorporate Secondary Keywords into the Copy

Google wants to know that the pages you’re creating will help visitors learn something. Although your page should only have one primary keyword, incorporating other keyword versions can increase your search results. Consider using synonyms, long-tail keywords, and secondary phrases that support your content. When creating their results pages, crawlers look for similar terms, meaning you can improve your search ranking simply by expanding your vocabulary.

Longer Content Ranks Higher Than Short Content

Search engines want to provide users with relevant and informational content. As such, they’ll rank your pages higher if the content is longer than 300 hundred words. Offering in-depth material that’s written organically will pull much better results than trying to write several short pieces. Whenever possible, try to include as many details about your subject as possible. You’ll want to backlink to a reputable source whenever possible, which helps build your brand authority.

Never Follow Blackhat SEO Tactics

When it comes to SEO methods, there are blackhat SEO methods (which are against the rules) and whitelist methods (which can improve your search results). Proper SEO methods may not produce results quickly, but they will slowly build over time. Don’t be tempted to push your methods into blackhat techniques. The penalties attached to these methods can be severe and permanent. These can include removing pages from the index, barring pages from results, or completely removing a domain from the search results.