Keyword Stuffing: Will I Get Penalised?

Singapore business owners should focus less on keyword stuffing and more on value.

The topic of keyword stuffing has been an issue for quite some time now. This practice has long been associated with penalisation and in some cases has resulted in websites being removed from the search engines altogether. That’s why Singapore website owners are acutely aware of the need to make sure that they don’t go overboard with the use of their most relevant terms.


However, it has recently been revealed that keyword stuffing may not have as big of an effect as was once assumed. Let’s discuss this revelation and what it means for your SEO strategy. But first, let’s define the term ‘keyword stuffing.’


What is Keyword Stuffing?


The term’ keyword stuffing’ refers to the practice of loading your pages with keywords in an attempt to manipulate your website’s ranking in the search results. In many cases, these keywords will appear in a group or list. While you should definitely include the most relevant keywords in your copy, if done too often the copy comes across as unnatural and can be taken completely out of context. This is why many search engines decided to make a change in their algorithm.


In fact, Google is widely known for its Panda and Hummingbird updates. This search engine giant wanted to be able to recognise when website owners were trying to spam the search results. More specifically, they wanted to weed out and penalise those websites that were using unethical practices and hiding their keywords, also known as black hat tricks.


However, not all keyword stuffing is black hat. There are some cases in which the website owner has no desire to manipulate the search engine. Rather, their use of keyword stuffing is meant to ensure that search engines understand what the page is all about.


Can You Get Away With It?


So how can you ensure that Google understands that your keyword stuffing is not an attempt to manipulate the search engines? More importantly, how can you avoid being penalised? Well, this may not be as big of a concern as you think. John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst for Google, recently revealed that Google’s algorithm does not punish keyword stuffing as harshly as most people would assume. In fact, if your content shows evidence of being valuable to the searchers, keyword stuffing could be ignored entirely.

Mueller was recently asked about keyword stuffing on Twitter. The user wanted to know how certain pages were able to rank so well despite the amount of keyword repetition that was on their website. He informed the user that instead of focusing on the volume of keyword repetition on other websites, they should instead pay close attention to the quality of the content that they offer. He further went on to reassure the user that with over 200 ranking factors, websites are not expected to execute all of them perfectly.

Muller goes on to further assert that not all keyword stuffing is created equally–that “boring keyword stuffing” may be ignored completely. And in his opinion, this type of keyword stuffing will not result in your website being deindexed.

What Does This Mean for Your Content Marketing Strategy?


There are several things that you can conclude from Mueller’s suggestion.  First, you can conclude that your time would be best spent improving your content. There are a lot of Singapore business owners who tend to compare their website to others in their niche. While this can be great to the purpose of reverse engineering a digital marketing strategy, it’s not a good idea to focus on how they are getting away with certain strategies that would not be considered best practice. They should instead invest this time in how they could enhance the best practices on their own websites.


You can conclude that excessive keyword stuffing will not necessarily result in your page being removed from the search engines. Many Singapore business owners assume that keyword stuffing will always result in their page being deindexed. According to Mueller, this is not the case.


You can conclude that Google will sometimes overlook keyword stuffing if the content is actually valuable. Google’s main priority is to deliver quality content to its users. And the websites that deliver this quality are the websites that they will promote the most. This means that if users indicate that they find value in your content, then Google will ignore any keyword stuffing.


You may also conclude that the use of keywords is just one of Google’s 200 ranking factors. Sure, there are certain factors that carry more weight than others such as the speed of your page and backlinks. However, in the grand scheme of things, keyword stuffing is not Google’s main focus. Luckily, Google understands that there are many elements involved in creating the ultimate user experience and that no website is going to be able to hit every mark perfectly.


The Takeaway


When it comes to search engine optimisation, keyword stuffing is somewhat of a buzzword. Website owners understand that if they want to be treated favourably by Google then they need to make sure that they don’t use too many relevant keywords and in one place. However, not all keyword stuffing is created equally.


Sure, the search engines have changed their algorithms to filter out websites that are attempting to manipulate their rankings, but this does not mean that it views all keyword stuffing as black hat. There are certain instances in which the website is simply trying to make it easier for search engines to classify the page.


This is why Mueller makes a point of encouraging website owners to focus primarily on the content that they deliver. He further enforces the idea that Google is concerned with the overall user experience above all else. And if this means that it needs to overlook keyword stuffing in certain instances, then it will.


This isn’t to say that you should consider keyword stuffing to be an SEO copywriting best practices. You should still consider the importance of how your content is delivered to the audience. It’s just to say that keyword repetition will not be the death of your page, nor will it necessarily hurt your rankings. Just put most of your focus towards creating useful content and you won’t have to worry about the rest.


About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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