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Keyword Stuffing and why it's bad.

October 14, 2020
by Jeff Brigman

Meta Keywords used to be one of the most popular (and still is for some web design companies) ways to boost SEO. It's a bad practice and you need to check your website for it.

Black Hat SEO

The problem is that folks stuffed keywords everywhere (in the code, on page, and so on) that companies such as Google decided to eliminate it's usage for SEO. In fact it continued to be abused so much that Google started penalizing websites for it. In the industry it's consider/called Black Hat SEO. Black hat SEO refers to a set of practices that are used to increase a sites or page's rank in search engines through means that violate the search engines' terms of service. Guess what happens when your site gets caught for a violation? Your site gets buried in the returns.

How do I Check for Keyword Stuffing?

Two ways to easily check for keyword stuffing is to check both the front end (what visitors see) and the back end (what you see logged in as an admin and the sourcecode).

On the front end, you can check your pages and/or posts. Do they read normal or do they read like gibberish? If your pages/posts include keywords, that's fine as long as it reads normal. If your pages/posts read like gibberish, like a child is piecing sentences together, odds are either whoever did the text didn't bother proof reading (which can also cause SEO issues), or they are trying to keyword stuff. Here's an example from Google.

Google Keyword Stuffing Example

Back end keyword stuffing isn't always easy to find. However one quick way is to right click on a page on your website, then click on View Source Code. Then press Ctrl F or Cmd F for the finder and type in keyword. You're specifically looking for meta name="keywords" in the code. It should be near the very top. Here's an example of one Knoxville Web Design company that's still doing keyword stuffing. The highlighted area shows an example of meta keyword stuffing in the code.

Keyword Stuffing By A Knoxville Web Designer

Another way some folks are keyword stuffing is by adding normal text on their site, and then adding CSS (display:none) so that website visitors don't see it. However folks like Google when they crawl/scan your site are able to see the text. This method is even worse than adding it by a meta tag.

So how do I add keywords correctly?

Knowing when, where, and how to use keywords correctly can make all the difference. Here's 5 ways to use them appropriately:

  1. Title

    A page or post title describes the main subject of your page and shows up as the first line of a search results entry to let both Google and searchers know exactly what the page is about.

    Placing all or part of the keyword here is important.

  2. Meta Descriptions

    The description is the second most important area, and shows up underneath the page or post title in search returns.

    Though the meta description is no longer a direct ranking factor, it can help Google determine how relevant your content is to what people are searching for.

  3. Subheadings

    Subheadings help make your content scannable by giving your readers’ eyes somewhere to pause. They may help visitors decide about the relevance of content to their needs. Additionally, subheading may also appear as part of a featured snippet or answer box in search returns.

  4. Content

    One of the most important places to optimize the use of SEO keywords is in your content. That’s because content is one of the top SEO ranking factors. It’s essential to get it right, poor keyword usage can actually hurt your search ranking.

    For example, it’s crucial to avoid keyword stuffing. If you’ve got keywords in every other sentence the chances are your content will incur Google penalties. See the Google example shown above again if you need reminding of keyword stuffing.

    An SEO best practice is to include latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords in place of the exact keyword every time. Just remember this if nothing else, it's important to always write for people first, and to make the content readable and understandable.

    Another important part of good content and SEO is Images.

  5. Images

    Here's a few tips to remember in regards to using images and making sure they help your SEO, especially Keyword inclusion:

    1. Relevant Images - Make sure the images you're using are relevant to the topic.
    2. Filename - Use keywords and LSI in the file name.
    3. Title - Again use keywords and LSI in the title, just be sure it accurately reflects the image.
    4. Alt Text - Add an accurate description with the Keywords and LSI in it. Don't stuff.

    Another great way to achieve this is through SEO software or plugin. Many will auto add the Title and Alt Text based on the File name. So just be sure to use a good and accurate file name that uses your keywords in it.

Conclusion

Google announced in 2009, yes 2009, they would no longer use the meta tag keywords for ranking. Want to know more, check out Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

Many folks still use keyword stuffing at the cost of getting penalized in ranking. They honestly believe that black hat SEO will help them achieve lasting and legitimate results. They won't. Don't fall victim to a shady web design company that uses these sorts of techniques.

Use the contact form below, and let us provide SEO that works and follows best practice standards.

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