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What Is Keyword Stuffing, Actually?


Search engine optimization best practices can get confusing if you don’t understand the terms, or if you do understand and you employ incorrectly. Of course, it can be confusing even if you do everything right.

Let’s take a look at keyword stuffing, for instance. It seems like a pretty straightforward concept and in many ways it is. But a webmaster can get confused trying to figure out just how their content ended up with too many keywords even though they tried their best to avoid that happening.

Unfortunately, the discussion around keyword stuffing is often mixed in with discussion on keyword density. But it doesn’t have to be.

Keyword density if often described as the proper amounts of keyword compared to the amount of text on your web page. If you have 100 words of text and one instance of your keyword then your keyword density is 1%. If you go back and add five more instances of your keyword then your keyword density becomes 5%.

SEO gurus used to teach that a keyword density of 2%-5% was ideal. Some still do. But the problem with that is it means content producers must spent their time counting keywords. But if you look at how web pages are ranked you’ll see that titles and URL carry a lot of weight. There are other factors weighed heavily by search engines as well. But the number of keywords per 100 words of text is a bit of an olf-fashioned way of measuring keyword effectiveness.

Keyword stuffing happens whenever a webmaster takes a page with mediocre ranking and adds keywords to it for the purpose of ranking it higher in the search engines. But such a practice has a relatively low level of return. You are often better off optimizing a new page on your website using a particular keyword phrase and just doing a better job of managing your keywords.

It is often believed that keyword stuffing is black hat or that it is on shaky ethical grounds. Not true. Just because you added keywords to your text doesn’t mean you are stuffing. But it doesn’t mean you’ll be successful either. Keyword stuffing is best described as the process of adding keywords to text (often where unnecessary) for the purpose of getting a page to rank better in the search engines. Webmasters do this because they believe that numbers - that is, keyword density - count.

You should really only go back and add keywords to your web pages to make them more readable and not worry about ranking higher. If you follow Google’s guidelines you shouldn’t have too many problems ranking your web pages.

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