Sit down; we need to talk.
As your friend, I feel I have to talk to you about this. You’re only hurting yourself. Your head, your body — you’ve crammed them full of junk that’s just bringing you down and damaging your reputation. It’s time for an intervention.
You need to stop keyword stuffing.
A Brief History of the Black-Hat Keyword
As far back as the late ‘90s, unscrupulous webmasters recognized that search engines could be easily gamed to highly rank a page with thousands of instances of a certain relevant string on it. (And we all remember how close we were to swearing off the internet entirely when we landed on one of those pages.) While such pages have thankfully gone the way of the dodo, the content farms still operating today continue their dubious legacy of trying to rank pages with subpar content. These are absolutely not sites you want to emulate.
Content companies like Demand Media, which pioneered the content farm business model, have seen their fortunes hammered in recent years with major changes in Google’s page-ranking algorithms. If the search engine giant determines your page is keyword stuffed, it can be penalized or removed altogether (albeit in the most non-evil way possible).
The Keys to Success
By sticking to a few best practices, you can ensure your keywords are used just enough to help you rank for the terms you want without damaging the content quality:
- Don’t target every keyword with every page. Opinions vary, but the general consensus is to identify one or two primary keywords and use them no more than two or three times each.
- Vary the text of your links. If more than half of your links are worded exactly the same, you risk Google’s “over-optimized” stamp of disapproval.
- Use title tags, headers, and meta descriptions to discreetly incorporate keywords.
- Prioritize overall quality over keywords, period!