Keyword stuffing

Fernando Maciá

Written by Fernando Maciá

What is keyword stuffing?

Keyword stuffing is a nowadays obsolete SEO technique that consists in the excessive use of a keyword within the same web page in order to improve the positioning and relevance of the same for a certain term.

Why has this SEO technique become obsolete? Because while it was a widespread practice many years ago, search engines have taken steps to curb it and began to focus more on other aspects of websites to determine how relevant and informative their content was to the user, rather than the number of times a keyword with high search potential appeared in the content of a page.

Keyword stuffing
Example of keyword stuffing in a 2006 capture.

Keyword stuffing does not only refer to the abusive use of a keyword within the content, but also extends to the links and their anchor text, the source code, SEO fields such as the title or the description… When meta keywords were still relevant for positioning, it was very common to find cases of keyword stuffing there as well. Ditto for any other element – visible or not – where it would be appropriate to include the positioning target term such as alternative texts ( alt attribute) of images or content within noscript tags.

The dangers of keyword stuffing

Today, this practice has not been eradicated, but it is true that the “optimizers” have been appeased with the indiscriminate use of keywords. This is especially true when the entire optimization effort is focused on increasing keyword density within a single piece of content, or on getting as many links as possible with anchor texts focused on a very small number of keywords.

Not only are these practices ineffective, but they can also lead to penalization by Google and its Panda algorithm, if it considers that our use of the same term is excessive.

How to avoid it

Although there are tools with which we can measure keyword density, when writing the content it is important that, above all, it sounds natural, is coherent and is correctly structured, in order to make it easy and pleasant to read. We must bet on the richness of vocabulary, so opting for the use of synonyms, rephrasing, analogous expressions… is the way to go to avoid falling into keyword stuffing.

However, we should not become obsessed with the number of times we include a keyword in a text. If the wording asks for it, and we find it necessary to mention the same concept again, we don’t have to hold back and rack our brains trying to find a different way of saying something. It is important to remember that the writing has to be fluid, so finding the perfect point of being eloquent and informative without being repetitive is key.

In the case of anchor text optimization – another major victim of keyword stuffing –the ideal is to opt for other types of expressions and more neutral combinations. For example, instead of linking to our very interesting article on Blockchain technology from the anchor text “blockchain”, why not do it as follows:

If you want to learn more about Blockchain technology, we invite you to read this article

Where “this article” would be the text chosen to include the link.

Additional references:

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Fernando Maciá
Fernando Maciá
Founder and CEO of Human Level. Expert SEO consultant with more than 20 years of experience. He has been a professor at numerous universities and business schools, and director of the Master in Professional SEO and SEM and the Advanced SEO Course at KSchool. Author of a dozen books on SEO and digital marketing.

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