Keyword stuffing, also called over-optimization of keywords, is a Black Hat SEO which tries to give relevance to a term by using it excessively inside a text.
Many years ago, keyword stuffing was effective because Google bots were not able to identify content quality too sharply, so the number of keywords used was actually a relevance criteria.
Why is Keyword Stuffing a bad practice?
These days, however, Google algorithm is sophisticated enough as to identify when a word is naturally inserted in a text or, quite on the contrary, when it is forcedly “stuffed” into the text in order to be repeated once and again even if it is not really necessary or relevant.
When Google finds out that a website is doing this keyword stuffing, it applies a penalty, which means the site gets demoted to a lower ranking on the list of results. Why? Well, just because keyword stuffing may lead to irritating texts, difficult to read for users.
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How to identify Keyword Stuffing
There are no parameters stating a given number of times that a keyword should get repeated to be considered keyword stuffing.
It is usually accepted that keyword density shouldn’t be more than 4% of the text, but it is also true that a word or its different versions and synonyms can be used repeatedly with freedom as long as they are necessary and actually contribute to the text.
On the contrary, even if repetitions are not that much, if Google identify them as arbitrary, they will be considered over-optimized content and will probably be applied a penalty.
How to avoid Keyword Stuffing
The copy of websites is usually written taking into consideration the use of keywords beyond the aim of the text. However, the proper thing to do is writing the text bearing in mind the reader’s needs more than the keywords for the search engine. Once the text fulfills its purpose with its audience, it can be optimized by adding keywords in some strategic parts.
We have to bear in mind that the search engine makes no differentiation between singular or plural of keywords, so “petshop” or “petshops”, for instance, will be viewed as the same keyword.
Likewise, some other compound terms, sharing the same root, will be considered the same keyword, like “send flowers” or “sending flowers”.
On the other hand, synonyms such as “buying a car” or “purchasing a car” will be taken as different keywords, though.
This article may be helpful: UX Writing, the power of words in the User Experience
To learn more about Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing can impact quite strongly and negatively on a site ranking, so it is very useful to know in detail what it is and how to avoid it. You can find out more about it with this list of resources we’ve selected for you:
- What Is Keyword Stuffing And How To Avoid It | 3 Tips You Should Follow – by Twin Word
- How to Keep Keyword Density Natural and Avoid Keyword Stuffing – by SEMrush
- How Many Keywords Are Too Many Keywords? – by Ring Partner
- SEO Tactics: Black Hats, White Hats, Gray Hats & ‘Asshats’ – by Search Engine Journal
- The Dangers of SEO Keyword Stuffing – From Word Stream
- Don’t Let Keyword Stuffing Kill Your SEO. Here’s How to Avoid It – From Alexa