Word cloud for Keyword stuffing (© intheskies / Fotolia.com)
Word cloud for Keyword stuffing (© intheskies / Fotolia.com)

If there’s one thing any business that markets on the internet should avoid like the plague, it is keyword stuffing. Though it was once a popular and highly effective practice, today, it will get a website kicked off of the search engines and can literally cause a business to crumble.

What is keyword stuffing and why is it bad? Keep on reading to find out. Keyword stuffing refers to a “black hat” strategy of search engine optimization. It involves incorporating targeted keywords multiple times on a page, and the keyword offers little to no value to the content that it is featured in. It’s quite literally “stuffing” content with keywords for the sole purpose of getting recognized by search engines like Google.

While keyword stuffing was very effective for internet businesses when search engine optimization first hit the scene, today, Google and search engines harshly penalize websites that keyword stuff their content. The penalties can include having your page dramatically lowered in the search engine results, or having your website completely kicked off the search engine. As such, keyword stuffing is no longer viewed as an effective way to boost search engine rankings.

The History of Keyword Stuffing

Back in the 1990s and early 2000s when search engine optimization was in its infantile stages, keyword stuffing was a strategy ecommerce businesses used to get their content noticed by the search engines and increase their rankings. Back then, search engines like Google and Yahoo relied on exact keyword matches to rank pages.

Some of the most commonly used keyword stuffing techniques included:

  • Repeating keywords over and over again in a piece of content, even if they offered no value to the content and seemed totally out of place.
  • Using block paragraphs, which were basically lists of various search terms. Often, these blocks of text made no sense and were virtually unreadable. The only purpose they served was to pack as many keywords onto a page as possible in order to increase the amount of hits a page received.
  • Hiding keywords within the text by using a font color that was the same color as the background of the page. For example, if the background of the page was blue, keywords would be written in blue font to disguise them from readers.

Though these tactics worked for a while, their efficacy waned when Google updated its search algorithm in order to fight against and penalize these black hat search engine optimization strategies.

Statistic: Preferred methods of mobile internet search among internet users as of January 2013 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Why Keyword Stuffing is a Bad Idea

If you try to employ keyword stuffing into any of your content, you’re going to do more harm than good for your business. Google is constantly tracking websites and pages that are stuffed with keywords are caught and harshly penalized.

One of the biggest negative side effects of keyword stuffing is having your Google ranking pushed down. If that happens, you are going to see a direct effect on your business, and in a negative way. Websites that have low search engine rankings are less visible to potential customers. This means that there is less of a chance that someone who is looking for the products or services that your business offers will actually be able to find you. Most people rely on the Internet to find local businesses, so having your ranking bumped down will translate to a monumental loss.

Stuffing your content with keywords can do more harm for your website than having it pushed down in the search engine results; it can actually get your website kicked right off the search engine. Google and other search engines want to offer their users the best and most valuable results. If your content is continuously laden with keywords and it offers no value, the search engines will deem your site as offering no value and will bump it off completely.

OpenPR-Tip:  Keyword stuffing can also increase the bounce rate of your website, which means you will lose even more potential customers. If people see that your website is spammy and full of keywords and there’s no engaging, informative, valuable or readable content, they are going to be much less inclined to look around your site or visit it again. Keyword stuffing also reduces engagement with your targeted audience. Bland keyword stuffed content is boring and non-useful, so your audience definitely won’t engage with it. Moreover, potential customers will see your business as being non-credible. You’ll appear to be nothing more than a spammer, and nobody wants to deal with a spammer.

Effective Keyword Strategies

There are ways that you can increase the ranking of your website without stuffing your content with keywords. How? Here are some “white hat” search engine optimization strategies that will make the search engines – and your potential customers – happy, and boost the success of your business.

Use Keywords Wisely. Keywords are still relevant, you just have to make sure that you are using them the right way. Instead of using keywords carelessly, be conscious of how you are using them. Include them in your content in a meaningful way. Make sure that your content is readable and that your keywords add value to the content. They should appear natural within the text, not thrown in at random for the sake of including them.

Write killer content. In addition to including keywords in your content, you want to make sure that your content is really stellar. Make sure that it valuable, insightful and attention-grabbing. This will make your content more engaging, which will, in turn, boost your search engine rankings.

Update Content Regularly. Make sure that you are consistently adding new content to your website. Websites that add new content on a regular basis are seen as active and valuable to the search engines. This will, in turn, increase your ranking on Google, Yahoo, Bing and all of the other search engines.

In the world of search engine optimization, keyword stuffing is a big no-no. If you want your business to succeed, you are going to want to avoid stuffing your content with keywords at all costs.


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