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How to Watch out for Keyword Stuffing

December 2018

When planning a content strategy for your website, you might assume that including more keywords—and using the keywords you do have more times—is always better. In reality, keywords are sometimes most effective when used sparingly. Not only does limiting keyword repetitions improve the quality and readability of your content, but it also helps to avoid issues with keyword stuffing.

Related: Ways to Rank Higher on Google

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.” Google believes, rightly, that keyword stuffing has a negative effect on overall user experience. As a result, the search engine penalizes sites that do use keyword stuffing. In other words, stuffing your site with keywords is actually going to hurt your Google ranking, not help it.

So, what does keyword stuffing actually resemble on the page? Are you guilty of it if you’ve used the same keyword a certain number of times on a single page?

In most cases, you must make a deliberate attempt to keyword stuff a page. Including a list of keywords without any context or explanation, for instance, is keyword stuffing. Similarly, block of text listing cities, towns, suburbs, or neighborhoods you are trying to rank for also qualifies as keyword stuffing. In general, if you include keywords in groups, blocks, or lists, you are probably keyword stuffing.

However, you can also be guilty of keyword stuffing if you cross above a certain threshold of keyword density. In general, keyword density that lands between 1-3% is plenty. If you start getting up to the 5-10% range, that means a very substantial portion of your content is just the keyword repeated over and over again. The vast majority of your content should be devoted to bringing value to the reader, not to trying to ping a search engine.

How to Avoid Keyword Stuffing
So how can you avoid keyword stuffing? Here are a few strategies:
Watch keyword density: There are a few tools online that you can use for this purpose. Running your content through one of these tools can help you make sure you aren’t overusing a specific keyword.

Target multiple keywords: You can use various keywords in the same piece of content. Alternating between four or five different keywords or keyword phrases makes it harder to overuse one of them and expands the potential reach of your content.

Read your content before you post it: When you read through your content, ask yourself how it flows. Do the keyword mentions fit naturally, or will it be evident to anyone reading which keywords you are trying to target? Are your keywords used in context in a way that adds meaning, value, and knowledge, or are they just floating off on their own? Asking these two questions will help you refine your content into something that will provide a positive user experience.

As you get the hang of content writing and SEO, incorporating keywords and making sure not to overuse them will become second nature. Early on, though, these things can be tough. If you need help finding the perfect keyword balance within your content, Inherent can help. Contact us today to get started.