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What is keyword stuffing? Basically, it means that instead of relying on useful, information-rich content to draw people in, the website designer instead crams pages full of keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate the site’s ranking in Google search results. These keywords often appear in a list or group, and generally appear out of context to the reader. Not only does this practice result in a negative user experience, but it can actually harm your site’s ranking!
Examples of keyword stuffing include:
- Lists of phone numbers without substantial added value
- Blocks of text listing cities and states a webpage is trying to rank for
- Repeating the same words or phrases so often that it sounds unnatural, for example:
We sell custom cigar humidors. Our custom cigar humidors are handmade. If you’re thinking of buying a custom cigar humidor, please contact our custom cigar humidor specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Optimization Without Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing was a common practice in the early days of the internet—let’s say around the mid-to-late 90’s and on into the early 2000’s. Because these keywords were not visible on the website, it was an easily exploitable way to manipulate your page rank on popular web search sites. Instead of being visibly displayed on the site, keywords were hidden in what’s called a meta tag. A meta tag is a special HTML tag that provides information about a web page, and stuffing your meta tag full of likely keywords was a pretty common practice. The thing is, back in 2009 Google said that they no longer want to use the keywords even as a ranking signal. There are over 200 factors to consider when optimizing your page rank, but the designers at Google realized that they had been abused for so long that they were basically irrelevant, and that’s where we stand today. In short, keyword stuffing is a waste of time, and may even negatively impact your page ranking. Don’t risk it.
Keywords are still a thing, however, so don’t discount them right away. After all, whenever you do a search on Google, you are asking them to find websites that employ the keywords that you have typed into the search bar. There are many things you can do to optimize your website, and using keywords properly can go a long way. Instead of dumping all your possible keywords into a hidden meta tag, you should put them right out in the open. Employing keywords in your original, informative, and quality content is the way to go here. Here’s a handy list of places to optimize for your chosen keywords:
- Headings and Content
- Image file names
The trick here is to use your keywords without making the content seem too spammy. First of all, it never pays to hide keywords on your page, whether you’re sneaking them in by making the text the same color as the background, or off to the side using CSS, doing this is not only ineffective but can result in actual penalties. Also, never force your keywords where they don’t belong. If you have to force a keyword in, and the result reads unnaturally, then that might be a good indicator that your content and keywords are misaligned. Quality content will read naturally, and contain many keywords that will lead people to your site. The bonus of using this content-based approach is that once people arrive at your website, they’ll have something good to read. Well-written content can keep your present and future clients engaged, leading to more business for you down the road.
We Can Help
If you don’t have the time or patience to handle your own website’s SEO, or maybe this stuff is just too far outside your comfort zone—that’s okay too! 33 Mile Radius offers a variety of optimization services that can improve the quality and content of your website, increasing traffic and generating solid leads for your business. If you visit our website, we also have a great FAQ section, as well as blog posts and marketing tips that work! Feel free to fill out our free website analysis form, and we’ll do a free website analysis and have a phone call with you to see if there’s anything we can do to educate or help you.
|Today, we’re going to start taking about keyword stuffing and how it relates to Search Engine Optimization. Keyword stuffing is a practice that was used by search engine marketers a long time ago back in probably the middle late ’90s, early 2000. Basically, keywords were not visible to the actual visitor to the website. They’re stuffed into what’s called a meta tag. The easiest way to show you is just to actually pull this screen here now just to give you a good example any second.|
|I found a local pizza place that there’s keyword stuffing. Again, you won’t see it here just by looking at the webpage. But if you right-click and you view the page source, you’ll see what’s called meta tag information. You’ll see something that’s a title, and then you’ll see what’s called a meta description, and then meta keywords. Meta keywords back in 2009, Google pretty much flat-out said … Not even pretty much, they flat-out said that they don’t want to use the keywords even as a ranking signal. There’s over 200 ranking you got to factor within Search Engine Optimization, SEO. Google just said, “These have been abused for so long. We’re not even going to really factor these in anymore.”|
|In this example, you can see here the “Catering Ohio,” “Catering Ohio,” “Caterer Ohio,” “Caterers Ohio,” goes on and on and on and on. Historically, when you would put in some keywords, your keywords would be unique to that specific page. There would be maybe 2, 3, 4, or 5 different keywords that you’re just signalling Google that this page it is about. That was just one signal on that page. People would abuse it. They would just put in, pizza, pizza, pizza, pizza. It got to the point where, again, it was just getting abused so much.|
|Now, while Google doesn’t use it in their algorithm and wouldn’t write off the factor or, in my opinion, I believe that if you do practice keyword stuffing, I believe that it’s actually a negative ranking factor. There’s no benefit but there’s probably harm that could be done, and it’s just a waste of time. Somebody had to sit there and type all of that. Not worth your time. Not worth your energy. Avoid the penalty for keyword stuffing.|