What exactly is keyword stuffing?
Keyword stuffing involves stuffing both the metadata and the source code of the web page with one or more keywords. Stuffing is the overloading of your content with one or more keywords that match the search queries of the search engine user. This increases the keyword density, but it is often more about quantity than quality. The focus is only on attracting the user to the page and providing traffic. In most cases, the texts are hardly readable for the user. This leads to an increased bounce rate, as there is often no useful information behind the content. This procedure is now strictly punished by Google. Your text looks unnatural if your keyword density is too high. The Googlebot can recognize this and your website loses its good ranking.
Exclusion from the index – why Google and Co. take action
Keyword stuffing has been the order of the day for a very long time when it comes to optimizing pages for search engines and improving rankings. Although Google has limited itself for a very long time to discourage the method of keyword stuffing, they are now actively intervening. With the Panda update, Google has created an algorithm that recognizes keyword stuffing in content. It can lead to a devaluation of your page in relevance and thus in ranking. In the worst case Google even reserves the right to delete your page from the index. Thus, you would no longer be findable via Google. To avoid this, a keyword density of about 2.5% is recommended. However, it is not (yet) known when the Googlebot will recognize and penalize keyword stuffing.
Why you should avoid keyword stuffing
Keyword stuffing can have a negative impact not only on the ranking of your website, but also on your users. A stuffed text can be perceived as spam in the eyes of the reader and nobody wants to read such texts. One consequence could be that potential (new) customers are deterred from your content by keyword stuffing. Visitors of your website have a clear goal. They want to get information about your service, your company structure or a certain topic. If instead you present them with an unreadable, automated block of text, it will have a negative impact on your success. In the worst case, it means they won’t buy your service or product. The conversion from prospect to customer will not happen, which means that your conversion rate will not increase.
A negative example of keyword density – how NOT to do it!
You are looking for a fancy birthday cake for your mother. The confectionery lists on its website the keywords “confectionery Würzburg”, “fancy cakes for birthday” and “buy birthday cake now”.
You click on the website and read the following text:
“Marta Mustermann is a pastry chef in Würzburg. Your confectioner from Würzburg makes fancy birthday cakes. If you buy your birthday cake now from Marta Mustermann, your confectioner from Würzburg, the fancy birthday cake will be the highlight of your birthday. The confectioner in Würzburg for your birthday cake.”
Surely you have just noticed that this text does not pick you up emotionally, the repetitions are rather boring and you cannot really imagine much under the service of Marta Mustermann.
The entire text block is completely meaningless and would be evaluated negatively by Google. As a result, our confectioner Marta Mustermann loses relevance and rankings and is less visible for her customers.
Your site has keyword stuffing? You can do it!
If your site has a very high keyword density, you should become active promptly. Even if you have to invest some time, the effort is worth it. Get rid of your old texts and produce new content for your page with an appropriate number of keywords. This will not only save your site, but also increase its relevance in Google. If Google classifies your page as relevant, it will rise in the ranking and you will be “rehabilitated”.
What are the SEO alternatives to keyword stuffing?
You want your site to rank well for a certain keyword? Then pay attention to a natural occurrence of your keyword in your content. You may use the keyword in the title of your text, in the text itself or in a product description, but you should not overdo it. Your text should still be natural for the user of your website to read. Offer them added value, for example, by providing bulleted lists, infographics or internal links to suitable, more in-depth topics. This way you increase the dwell time on your page, which has a positive effect on the relevance of your page and thus on the ranking.