A very long time ago, before Google became as evolved as it is today, there were “tricks” uncovered by black hat marketers that helped them get their websites ranked quite high. One of those tricks was doing what was known as keyword stuffing.
However, for anyone still thinking about using this type of method, consider this article a warning against it, because I will show you just why it doesn’t work anymore, unless you want to destroy your website rankings…
I’m going to explain exactly what keyword stuffing is:
The main purpose of this technique is to basically “Stuff” one or more keywords you’re trying to rank high on your page/s. The idea back when it was popular was that the more you used this, the more Google would view this as a positive ranking factor and thus get you ranked higher.
In other words: mentioning the target keyword as much as possible equaled getting ranked higher, aka stuffing it as much as possible, or let’s call it what it really is: spamming.
The 3 most common ways people used keyword stuffing:
Some ways are very straight forward and others are very “hidden” but either way, all of them are bad for ranking today. So don’t do any of the following forms of keyword stuffing:
1) Writing your target keyword and using it as often as possible in the content.
Here is an example:
Notice how often the main term is used in just ONE sentence. And honestly, even though I used my own example, the number of times I repeated this term is actually on a conservative level vs the nonsense you would have seen back in the day from people who tried this.
Imagine this type of sentence, but spanned to 100’s or words or more with this type of writing being seen over and over again. Google also has a great article on this.
Back when this was still “allowed”, you could have had an article with say 500 words that had the same keyword used way over 10%, so 50 words in this case would be the same targeted term.
And as you can see, this type of sentence doesn’t really sound that good and it’s going to be an important, central reason for why ultimately this approach fails in SEO later on.
Also another thing to note was that around this time, article spinners were becoming popular and they were really used a lot by people. People could just use these programs to make automatic content without having to do it themselves and the content spinner would do all the work of stuffing the keywords where ever you wanted and it would basically crank out the type of sentences I just described above, but in masses.
2) Using the keyword in the code of your website template.
At the time of this technique being popular, HTML websites were really the main if not the only approach to making websites (here’s the much better way of making your own website today) and you could do a lot with just a little coding knowledge.
In the case of using this dirty technique, people would actually put the keywords inside the HTML code and/or the template and write out their site naturally so when Google spiders would visit it, what would happen was they would read the code, all those terms in the code and thus rank you better for it, whereas people who would visit the site, would not see it because it was invisible to them and thus it would “satisfy” both the visitor and Google.
3) Blatantly “stuffing” all the keywords you want to rank for in a box on the website.
This example would end up being the laziest one to use.
Basically people would have sites with their content and somewhere in the article, you would often see a box with randomized keywords inside them. In addition this box would sometimes even have more terms than the actual article written up!
Again the whole point was, the more terms you’d spam in that box, the more you’d get ranked. People who used this really took it to some crazy levels by going as far as using terms in addition to many different areas they wanted it to get ranked for.
So say someone who was looking to rank an article promoting a book on making pizzas would use that box and add terms of as many different cities/areas where people would look for pizzas, all for the purpose of getting as much exposure about that.
And that was just in the relevant cases, you’d also often find people using this strategy to put in terms that had absolutely no relevancy to the content of the article. So for example, if they were writing about pizzas, the box with the terms may have something as irrelevant as fishing terms put in it.
Why this dirty form of ranking just doesn’t work…
I’m fairly sure you’ve already figured it out on your own but let me explain it anyway:
As I said in the start of this article, Google has evolved…A LOT. That type of strategy (black hat) is now seen by them as being associated with very low quality content because people who do this typically don’t focus on writing high quality content. They instead just focus their energy on these little tricks to rank.
Imagine yourself visiting a website where the content is written out in one or more of the ways I explained above. Let me ask you, how long would you stay and read such low quality stuff? Probably not long.
Well Google understands that.
They see that if people come to websites and don’t stay long, that bounce rates are high, that it usually means that the content they read, wasn’t that good and that helps them better rank the article and generally speaking, content written the awful way I described above cannot be good as a general rule.
When you write something and repeat the same term over and over again, the reader will become frustrated and bored and that’s only if they were patient enough to read that far into the article, otherwise, they’re gone.
In any case, the way a visitor browses your site is something that helps Google rank it. That’s 1.
Next, if the content does not match the term/s you are “stuffing”, then visitors will also not understand it and will also hate it. If you come to my page reading about horse races, but I end up talking a bit much about fishing, that’s not good.
Now don’t get me wrong, writing content that uses different terms that are often irrelevant to one another is not exactly illegal and it CAN work, but when you start writing about it TOO often, that’s when you can get into trouble.
If I’m writing about horse racing and somehow manage to provide an analogy to fishing which the reader finds useful, that’s good.
Now if I start writing in a way where the user just doesn’t understand how this is all related, then guess what? You’re writing bad content.
My final thoughts:
I have seen a ton of black hat produced websites and let me tell you, they generally all suck. They are horrible on the type of content they make and it’s all done to appease Google (it doesn’t).
But if the content isn’t written to appease actual readers, then trust me, Google won’t be appeased by it either. The whole point of SEO is really to help the readers…
My advice is this: Never, ever keyword stuff. Write naturally and use the targeted term whenever it makes sense. Read this article again and see how many times I repeated the same term, you’ll see it wasn’t much, my focus was the content, not re-mentioning the term too much.