All businesses should be doing everything they can to optimize their website for search engines. However, in some cases, website owners try to take shortcuts to do so. It can be tempting to take shortcuts. After all, who wouldn’t want to reap the benefits of a fully optimized website without putting in the work? Unfortunately, many of these shortcuts might actually hurt you.
One such shortcut is keyword stuffing. You should always do the appropriate keyword research to determine what terms to target, but too many websites fall into the trap of keyword stuffing. In recent years, Google has released updates (such as their Panda Update) that penalize webpages that blatantly keyword stuff.
Fortunately, there are still plenty of ways to optimize your content for SEO without stuffing your content. Doing so will allow you to not only perform better on search engines but will also help you write far more engaging content.
As a premier DFW digital advertising agency, ARYU Advertising keeps up with all major Google updates, ensuring that we adapt our marketing practices to avoid any pitfalls and penalties. Today, we will be providing you with some useful tips to avoid keyword stuffing your content.
What is Keyword Stuffing?
While the phrase is self-explanatory, we should take a moment to explain what keyword stuffing is. Keyword stuffing occurs when a website purposefully fills (or “stuffs”) the content on their webpage with the same target term (or keyword) with the goal of ranking higher for that specific term on search engines.
In years past, this practice was wildly popular among websites across the internet. Some websites would even change the font color of keywords to match the background color of the page to hide them (which is considered a black hat SEO practice).
However, in some cases, website owners don’t realize that they are doing this. But the opposite is also true, and people purposefully fill their content with the same term.
In these cases, the term appears more than the suggested amount to match SEO best practices for keyword density. Keyword density is the percentage of times a keyword appears in the copy.
- Keyword Density = Number of words in the copy / Number of times the keywords appears in the copy
While there is no set percentage to shoot for, it’s best to stick to a 2% keyword density.
Google considers this content irrelevant or spam and will penalize your webpage. These sites will not receive higher rankings, meaning it did the opposite of what you hoped it would. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to avoid keyword stuffing.
1.) Write for Your Target Audience
We are not telling you to ignore Google’s ranking factors. However, you should always write your content with your target audience in mind. After all, they are the ones who are going to read it, and they are the ones you want to convert in leads, not Google.
When writing content, think about what your target audience wants. What problems are they trying to solve? What questions do they want answered? Think about what your audience is looking for and provide that for them.
Google has also made updates that back this technique. Google released its BERT update that relies on natural language processing. This update aims to improve its language understanding to interpret more natural-sounding or conversational queries. Essentially, BERT allows Google to understand the context of searches, even if they don’t include a particular keyword.
This update means that Google will reward webpages with engaging and well-written content.
2.) Assign a Primary Keyword to Each Page
When creating a webpage, choose one specific keyword to target. The primary keyword should be relevant to the topic on the page. Furthermore, look for a keyword that is popular but has low competition to improve your chances of ranking higher.
Once you assign a target keyword to one webpage, do not use that same term for any other pages on your site. You want each page of your site to rank well on its own. Doing so will ensure your own webpages aren’t competing against one another.
3.) Include Secondary Keywords, Synonyms, and Long-Tail Keywords
Search engines have web crawlers that visit webpages to gather context about their content to help rank them. By including secondary keywords, you show search engines that your content is relevant to the primary keyword.
If you use the same term or phrase in the same sentence or paragraph, Google will quickly pick up on keyword stuffing. You don’t have to do this on purpose for it to impact you. To prevent keyword stuffing, rely on synonyms and long-tail keywords (related terms with three or more words).
Using synonyms and long-tail keywords reinforce what the content on your page is about without stuffing your primary keyword. It also helps crawlers rank your page.
There are tools online that can help you find synonyms or long-tail keywords of your primary keyword. Also, tools like Grammarly catch repetitive words and phrases, highlighting them for reviewing and offering alternatives.
4.) Strategically Place Your Keywords
You shouldn’t just focus on where you put your keyword in the main content. Search engines also look for how you use your keyword in other places on a page. Placing your keyword in other areas helps optimize your page.
Use your keyword in the following places:
- Page title
- Meta description
- Title tag
- At least one subheading
- In the alt tag of one image
- In the first paragraph
- Near the end of the post
These placements send positive messages to search engines, attracting their attention to rank your page higher.
5.) Be More Informative
Far too many businesses fail to provide enough content for their readers, often keeping their content too short. For instance, you can avoid having a high keyword density if you increase your word count. However, don’t just increase your word count for the sake of it.
Make your content more informative. However, don’t make your content boring, either. You have to walk a fine line. You can make your content informative yet still engaging by:
- Adding Variety: Use bullet points and lists to break up your content and draw the attention of a reader. Large blocks of content appear overwhelming and might scare a reader away.
- Speaking to the Reader: By this point, you know who your target audience is. Speak to them. Use “you” throughout your content to engage them. Make the content feel informative yet conversational.
- Using questions: Include questions in the content. It gives the reader a moment to think to themselves before you answer the question for them. It’s a more engaging way to provide content than just writing it out.
- Keeping It Short: While you should up your word count, you don’t want to make things overly long. Keep sentences and paragraphs short and to the point. Doing so helps you avoid added fluff and keyword stuffing.
Keyword stuffing is an issue far too many websites face. In many cases, site owners don’t notice they are doing it, but others intentionally do it. Google will penalize those that use this practice, which prevents them from ranking on search engines. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to avoid keyword stuffing.
ARYU Advertising has been assisting businesses across a host of industries rank on search engines for years. We keep an eye on any upcoming updates that might affect your SEO ranking and will help you create engaging and SEO-optimized content. Give ARYU Advertising a call today to learn how we can help you.