Keyword stuffing: What it is and how to avoid it (5 ideas)

Why launch a blog? One reason is to avoid keyword stuffing. So what is keyword stuffing and how is it damaging to your brand?

Keyword stuffing is the practice of packing in as many keywords as possible into a site. This is done in an attempt to outsmart search engine algorithms so that you can rank higher search engine results pages (SERPS). It’s frowned upon by most marketers and is viewed as a surefire, unethical way to shoot your brand in the foot.

Why keyword stuffing is damaging

Keywords are terrible for search engine optimization (SEO). Using it as part of your SEO strategy can result in a Google penalty, which can cause you to rank lower or even be removed entirely.  

Keyword stuffing can hurt your reputation and your digital marketing efforts. If a searcher realizes that you’re using keyword stuffing to con them into clicking, they will leave and never come back. Search terms must be accompanied by relevant content (something that keyword stuffing ignores).

Keyword stuffing can hurt your bounce rate. If people visit your site and realize you can’t help them answer their search query, they will “bounce” without clicking anything. Not only does this create a bad user experience, it will likely lower your search ranking. 

Examples of keyword stuffing

So what does keyword stuffing look like? Let’s look at two examples, starting with a story from my own experience. Years ago, I worked briefly for a super-shady man who wanted me to add keywords and keyword phrases to his school’s site, like “education,” “best school,” etc. 

He wanted me to do this by including the keywords at the bottom of the page in a tiny, light gray font that was barely legible. This, my friends, is an example of keyword stuffing. 

Fortunately, I didn’t work for him for long.

Now for the hypothetical example. Let’s say you build tables, and you want people to find you when they search for the long-tail keyword, “quality wooden table.” 

You’d be keyword stuffing if you just repeated “quality wooden tables” multiple times on the bottom of a page with zero context. But you wouldn’t be keyword stuffing if you used, “We make quality wooden tables,” as your slogan. That actually communicates something of value.

So how do you rank high in Google while avoiding keyword stuffing? Here are 5 ideas, starting with launching a blog.

1. Use keywords in a blog

Blogs allow you to add specific keywords without keyword stuffing. If you don’t have a blog, I recommend getting one ASAP. Nearly every business has some advice  they can dish out regarding their industry and a blog can be a great way to do this.  

If you’re not much of a writer, there are folks (like me) who do that sort of thing.

Make sure your blog has great readability and uses primary and secondary keywords throughout, especially in your headings and subheadings. 

For reference, primary keywords closely describe your business and secondary keywords are the primary’s related keywords. 

2. Repurpose your blog content into a massive post

Longer content tends to rank higher. But what if, like me, you prefer writing in smaller chunks? In that case, I suggest  writing multiple shorter posts around a single topic. Then repurpose that content into a giant post, such as a guide. 

Be sure to add new content so that it flows as one piece. Perhaps even include some advice that the smaller posts didn’t. 

3. Use alt tags in your blog 

Alt tags apply to your blog’s images. Since they’re written in HTML, you’ll have to access a page’s code to use them. Essentially, they tag the image for keyword engines. 

Back to the wooden table example, you could have a picture of a table and in the alt tag, put in “quality wooden table.” This will help search engine crawlers identify your site as one that provides a relevant result in a Google search for this keyword phrase. 

Alt tags can really help keep keyword density to a minimum, which is considered a best content marketing practice. 

Keyword density refers to the number of times your specific keyword phrase or target keyword appears on a page. 

Note that this doesn’t mean you don’t include a lot of keywords throughout a page, you just don’t want to space out your use of the same keyword phrases or keywords in your content.

4. Put keywords in your blog’s meta description

Meta descriptions are used by SEO experts to describe a webpage’s content to searchers and search engines. In other words, it’s the text you see under the heading of a search result that describes the page you’re about to click on. 

5. Put keyword phrases in your blog’s call to action (CTA)

Most blog posts should include a CTA to encourage readers to take a specific action. Here’s an example I created for this post in which I’ve put every keyword and keyword phrase in bold

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