Keywords are a fundamental part of SEO and online marketing. These are the terms and phrases that your target audience is actively looking for on the search engines. So building your content around these words can help boost engagement, increase traffic and ultimately lead to more sales.
However, there are instances in which marketers go too far with the keywords they use. Instead of using them naturally and in a conversational tone, they use as many as they can and as often as they can. They assume that the more they use, the more visibility they will achieve.
Unfortunately for these marketers, this is the furthest things from the truth. Instead of gaining visibility, they are participating in a practice called black hat SEO. Not only are black hat tricks unethical, they can also lead to penalisation. Let’s talk about the ins and outs of keyword stuffing and why you should do everything within your power to avoid it.
What is Keyword Stuffing?
Keyword stuffing occurs when a marketer or brand stuffs or fills a webpage with the same phrase or word in attempts to rank for the term. Essentially, it involves an attempt to manipulate the search engines into assuming that the page is more relevant to the keyword due to the number of times it has mentioned it. Though keyword stuffing is not as popular as it once was years ago, it’s still a problem today.
Types of Keyword Stuffing
There are several ways in which a brand or marketer can stuff their website with keywords. One technique involves hiding them. For instance, the website owner may place the words at the very bottom of the page. They may place them off to the far left or right of the page. They may also make them the same colour as the background so that visitors cannot see them, but the search engines can.
Another type of keyword stuffing is working the words into the content. For example, they may include the words or phrase in every other sentence. This is often done to the point where the words have little to no meaning or context. While these tactics used to work, Google eventually caught on and found a way to discourage them.
Keyword Stuffing Leads to Penalties
If you’re keyword stuffing, then there is always a chance that you could rank highly in the search engines. However, there is just as much of a chance that you could completely ruin your current rankings. Google has made it a point to stress the fact that it values quality over quantity.
They have even worked to make their search engine more intuitive and intelligent so that it can provide users with the ultimate experience. This is why Google and other search engines are against practices like keyword stuffing. It is perceived as spam that can ruin the user experience. If your keyword density is over 5% then you could be in danger of being penalised.
Keyword Stuffing Makes Visitors Leave
One of the best ways to annoy your visitors or tell them that your site is of low quality is to keyword stuff. People aren’t willing to read more than a paragraph of keyword-stuffed text. Not only do they become aggravated, but they will quickly push the back button. This means that they don’t read your text, but more importantly, they don’t convert.
Keyword Stuffing Does Away With Your Authority
Everyone wants to be thought of as an expert in their industry. And the best way to earn this reputation is to research your topic well and product content that is well-written and valuable. The more knowledgeable and helpful you are, the more people will trust you and the easier it is to convert them. Also, you will create a loyal following. Keyword stuffing actually results in the exact opposite scenario. You won’t gain any respect or credibility by repeating the same words and phrases.
How to Optimise Your Content Without Keyword Stuffing
While keyword stuffing may seem tempting, it can lead to significant penalties. So it’s a good idea to avoid it altogether. However, this does not mean that there aren’t other white hat digital marketing alternatives that you can use in order to secure a higher ranking.
Step 1: Assign a Primary Keyword
First, try assigning one primary keyword to each webpage. Make sure that the phrase you choose is relevant to the topic and ties in seamlessly with the rest of your content. Ideally, this term or phrase should be popular and there should be low-competition for the keywords. In this way, you will get a better shot at ranking.
Also, it’s important that you don’t assign this keyword to any other page on your website. Each page should ideally have its own target phrase. This ensures that none of your pages will compete against each other in the search engines. It also clearly communicates to the search engines what your page is all about.
Step 2: Add Synonyms
You need to make sure that you copy contains synonyms and long-tail keyword variations. This is a great way to tell the search engine that your page is relevant. These secondary words will help to give the content a little more context and will help the search engine crawlers rank your page.
Step 3: Use Keywords In the Correct Page Elements
When crafting your copy, you need to be very strategic about where you place your keywords. For instance, you need to include the keyword in your page title. It should be included in at least one subheading. You should place it in your title tag and meta description. Include the keyword in at least one of your image alt tag. Also, make sure to place your keyword in the first paragraph and then in the conclusion of your post. Unlike keyword stuffing, these types of optimisation techniques will actually send positive signals to the search engines and you have a better chance of ranking for the word you want.
To many Singapore business owners, keyword stuffing seems like the ideal SEO strategy. However, the seasoned professional can tell you that this black hat practice can do more harm than good. Google will view it as spam and will lower your ranking. It will cause your visitors to hit the back button. It will also ruin your chances of becoming a trusted authority in your niche.
If you notice that you have a high keyword density, then work to lower it. If you want to increase your rankings, then you need to speak naturally to your visitors. Assign a primary keyword to each page. Use synonyms and long-tail variations of the keyword. Also, make sure that you place your keywords in your tags, descriptions, and are key points in your content. Above all else, keep the user experience in mind.