SEO Basics: What Is Keyword Stuffing and How Does It Affect Your Ranking?

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Keyword Stuffing is generally defined as the excessive use of keywords on a page, with the aim of improving the ranking of the page for that keyword. This technique use to work in the past, and it was often common practice to place keywords as “hidden text” on the page — so keywords were implemented in white colour on a white background. These were not visible to the user, but were visible to a crawler. Nowadays, keyword stuffing is a method in black-hat SEO that is no longer promising.

Also the massive insertion of keywords in a continuous text, is called keyword stuffing. However, because keyword stuffing often results in a website no longer making a meaningful statement, the content used is obsolete and the added value of the page is zero, recognized keyword stuffing is punished by search engines. Because according to the description of search engines, they want to offer results with added value.

When do search engines start to recognize keyword stuffing?

This is where the search engine primarily looks at the frequency of certain word phrases. It also depends on the volume of the entire content. The total amount of content is considered in relation to the frequency of the keyword. The so-called keyword density is evaluated here. Nowadays, the so-called WDF/IDF factor is much more important than this evaluation. This factor not only considers how often this keyword is present in this content, but also how this value relates to other keywords that deal with the same topic. In addition, this formula compares how often this keyword occurs within potential other pages. Again, if the keyword occurs too often, it will be penalized by Google.

What does keyword stuffing mean for SEO? Why is it harmful to ranking?

If keyword stuffing is detected by a search engine such as Google, this primarily means loss of ranking and therefore visibility — therefore, content punished in this way is no longer found by users online.

Moreover, information presented in this way also sends negative signals to the search engines in other ways. Website visitors who are presented with such text/ content with keyword stuffing will quickly terminate their visit. Scroll depth, bounce rate and length of stay will, therefore, be correspondingly negative.

Which measures help against keyword stuffing?

For the creation of web page content, there are now tools for checking WDF*IDF values and other quality factors for the recognition and evaluation of content. If you use these tools to detect your WDF*IDF value, remove keywords or content if necessary in order to obtain an appropriate positive rating. Make sure that the keywords are also read by the crawlers in meta tags, headlines, image descriptions and alt tags.

Check whether they can include other useful content. Check how often the keyword is present and whether further keywords and terms can be usefully integrated into your content.

What are the SEO alternatives to keyword stuffing?

If you want your site to rank well on a certain keyword, you should pay attention to a natural occurrence of the keywords in the texts. Thus, it is quite normal to use a certain keyword often in the title, in alt attributes, on the start page or in product descriptions. However, you should not overdo it. As long as the text is “natural” — i.e. if the keyword does not impair the reading flow — it is not called keyword stuffing.

Make sure you create natural content. Enrich your pages with enumerations, infographics and further links. In this way you offer the visitor a real added value and meet his information needs. An alternative are holistic pages on suitable topics. These offer more opportunities to place keywords due to their size. However, this type of website must also be oriented to the information needs of the user.

In addition, they should refrain from any kind of keyword stuffing in the form of meaningless text in the color of the background. Other black hat methods as these are also punished by search engines.

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