Thanksgiving is upon us. (Happy Thanksgiving, if you’re reading this!) While everyone else is dreaming about a succulent turkey with all of the traditional fixings, perhaps you’re dreaming about better SEO rankings. Okay, maybe you’re thinking about the turkey a little more.
No Content Stuffing, It’s Simply Not Allowed!
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we felt it was time to talk about stuffing. But we’re not talking about Grandma’s famous stuffing – we’re talking about keywords and how stuffing won’t be as satisfying as your Thanksgiving meal.
Keywords Are Like Cranberry Sauce
We all know cranberry sauce. It’s tart, sweet and just the right amount on the plate amplifies your Thanksgiving dinner to the maximum. Now, add too much cranberry sauce and your plate is overwhelmed and all you taste is that tart, bitterness that too many cranberries can give. It ruins your dinner.
Keywords are like cranberry sauce. Stuff too much into your content and it comes off bitter not only to your readers, but search engines as well. Today’s Google looks at keywords like that red, iconic condiment of Thanksgiving: just the right amount to finish off your content is perfect.
So what is keyword stuffing? If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it refers to a practice of loading blogs and web pages with keywords in high volume as an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings. Often, these keywords are awkward, placed randomly and really don’t improve the content — sometimes they are not even relevant to the content, according to Google Webmaster Tools. Filling pages with rapid fire keywords won’t do you much good and will certainly give your readers a reason to move on to a different site.
An example of keyword stuffing:
“SEO, SEO services, SEO Los Angeles.” Notice how there’s no sentence structure? Just a bundle of keywords? This is an extreme example, but hopefully you get the point.
Here, read another, we dare ya!
“Here at SEO Experts in Los Angeles, we sell the best SEO services in Los Angeles. So if you’re looking for SEO experts in Los Angeles, be sure to check out our SEO services. We’re the best SEO experts in Los Angeles.”
It’s awful and quite painful to even read, right? Trust me, your readers will think the same, if that’s what they’re greeted with on your website.
So Keyword Stuffing Doesn’t Work Then?
Nope, not anymore. Google and other search engines have smartened up. Keyword stuffing no longer works because Google’s algorithms are trained to look over a site and determine if keywords are used improperly or in an unreasonable number. If you have an ultra-high density of a particular keyword, Google will drop your rank rather than increase it. If you’re a repeat offender you might notice your site is removed from the search engine index altogether.
What Happens If I Keyword Stuff?
Okay, so let’s say you add too many keywords to your content. Just like the cranberry sauce example, you’re likely to get:
- Less engagement and sharing on your site. No one’s going to rave about your turkey (content) when it’s smothered in cranberry sauce.
- You’ll be penalized by the search engines for keyword stuffing and recovery isn’t fun.
- Your conversion rate will drastically drop (or disappear altogether).
- No one will bother reading your content — would you?
So How Do I Avoid Keyword Stuffing?
It’s easier said than done. First and foremost, quit fretting about your keyword density — this isn’t as important as you think. Focus on long-tail keywords, as the Content Marketing Institute suggests. These are phrases with three or more words that offer a high volume of searches and are more relevant to your content — and also less likely to accidentally stuff.
Review your keyword density before you publish. Less is always more with keywords so add a keyword or key phrase when it makes sense, but don’t focus on a density at a specific number. There is no magic number, but some say two to five percent is probably the safer goal to reach.
No matter what you do, don’t load your pages with irrelevant keywords. According to a recent article by WebProNews.com, using keywords that aren’t relevant to your content or brand marketing can be detrimental to your rank.
Some Tips for Success
- Create a 12-month content strategy that has topics, titles and keywords that you will use (naturally) within the content.
- Write to offer your readers value — don’t write for the search engines.
- Create content that is practical and helpful. Be unique and show off your expertise — that’s why people are visiting your site in the first place.
- Use title tags and descriptions for optimization.
- Make sure your content is never duplicated.
- Use spellcheck and grammar check — no one likes misspelled words.