Google, along with every other search engine, is very complex. With algorithms that leave us scratching our heads or bowing to the “Google gods”, no one other than the creators of it have the algorithm completely down to a “T”.
Algorithms can change on a whim, and whilst this can be frustrating – it actually makes SEO invigorating. Think of it like this:
SEO is a really intense guessing game. Mixed with tried and true tactics, of course.
There are ethical ways to go about your SEO strategy, as well as unethical practices – one of which is keyword stuffing. I know, keyword stuffing doesn’t sound all that scary, but it creates a much larger negative impact than you might think.
WHAT IS A KEYWORD?
Whether you deal with search engines daily or are a copywriter, I’m sure you’ve heard this term before. A keyword is either a single word or multi-word phrase that carries a vast amount of importance for search engine optimization purposes.
If you find yourself wondering what a good keyword for a website or piece of content may be, try placing yourself in the mind of the person that you’d want to find your work.
What are they searching for?
Taking the words straight from your ideal user’s mouth is a great way to find phrases to rank for. However, keep this in mind: writing with keywords is great. Over-optimizing, though, could harm you more than it helps.
THE DENSER, THE BETTER… RIGHT?
In short, nope.
Keywords are really great. They act as flags waving down search engine crawlers, attracting them to your content. In order to attract their attention, a piece of written work has a certain keyword it focuses on – and typically it appears more frequently than others.
This repetition, also called keyword density, is necessary – but opens the door for unethical, or “black-hat SEO” practices.
Keyword density becomes keyword stuffing, which I can promise is no where near as good as the stuffing you’re accustomed to with a turkey dinner.
KEYWORD STUFFING MAY BE THE REASON YOU DON’T RANK
I’ve mentioned keyword stuffing a bit here – but what exactly is it? Here is the best comparison I have:
Try listening to a toddler tell a story. They don’t have a large vocabulary, so they tend to repeat certain words. A lot. Soon, all of the sugars and toys become a constant, and you begin to tune them out…right?
Unintentional keyword stuffing at its finest.
Although, whilst a toddler doesn’t mean to – many SEO specialists and copywriters alike have been dabbling in this practice for years. It’s not a new concept. But often what happens is that copy begins to feel very choppy and becomes difficult to read.
No longer is there a flow to the writing. Keyword stuffing makes sure of that. Copywriters, especially those writing in the digital niche, should shy away from this – it makes your writing look as though it’s of lesser quality, and it can hurt your client.
Not physically, of course – but in the eyes of search engines, yes.
LET’S TAKE OFF THE BLACK HAT
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Keyword stuffing is a no-go.
Whilst Google and other search engines want you to use keywords in your content – they don’t like keyword stuffing. It’s a form of spam, and can cause your page to significantly decrease in rank. Which as a copywriter or an SEO specialist, you don’t want for this to happen. Especially not for a client.
What can you do to combat keyword stuffing?
Evenly distribute and don’t over-optimize. If you were explaining a topic to a friend or a colleague, write how you would speak – and you’ll find yourself (and your content) in the green with search engines.
No spam required.
Feeling stuck with your SEO strategy? Whether you find keeping SEO terms straight to be difficult or perhaps need a few starting points, I’d love to help you in any way I can.