Over the years, Google’s search algorithm has undergone some significant changes. As a result, the way people write to get their content ranking has changed (which we think is for the better!). There’s been a shift from old SEO techniques like keyword stuffing to creating higher quality content serving audience needs first — not Google’s algorithm.
If you haven’t heard of these updates, read on to find out why outdated techniques such as keyword stuffing could be doing you more harm than good.
What is keyword stuffing?
Keyword stuffing is basically what it sounds like – stuffing too many keywords into a short amount of copy. It’s often considered a black hat SEO practice, as it gets pages to rank highly, but only for a short amount of time.
Keyword stuffing is defined as an overuse of keywords in comparison to the rest of the content. Not only is there an excess of keywords, but they disrupt the flow of your content, making it sound forced and unnatural.
Why is keyword stuffing bad?
Keyword stuffing is bad because it creates a poor user experience — your content becomes harder to read. Key information gets drowned out by too many attempts to insert keywords for the sake of SEO.
But apart from lowering the quality of your content from a user’s perspective, Google can actually penalise sites for keyword stuffing. So while it may seem like a quick fix in the short term, using keyword stuffing will hurt your rankings in the long run.
Not only is this bad for your website rankings, it’s bad for business. People aren’t going to stay on your page if your content is littered with too many keywords and they can’t find the answers they’re looking for.
There’s no point to your customers being able to find you in search if they don’t want to stay on your page.
How can you create SEO friendly content without keyword stuffing?
There are a number of alternative strategies you can use that’ll not only benefit your SEO, but improve user experience as well.
Choose a primary keyword
A primary keyword is the main keyword you’ll use throughout your content. For example, if you’re writing a page about compression leggings, your primary keyword would probably be ‘compression leggings’. This is usually chosen from looking at the most popular search terms for similar items and picking the one with the highest number of searches or high growth.
Select some secondary keywords
Secondary keywords are options that maybe didn’t receive as many searches as your primary keyword, but still ranked quite highly in search popularity. They might be terms that are commonly searched as an alternative to your primary keyword. For our example of the compression leggings, some secondary keywords may be ‘compression tights’ or ‘compression pants’, or even ‘workout leggings’.
Google’s algorithm has evolved and is better at recognising users’ search intent. This means it can recognise semantic search terms i.e. the overall meaning of a search term, rather than the exact keywords used. These terms can be used like secondary keywords, helping you express the same idea in a different way.
Use keyword tools
There are a number of keyword tools you can use to help you find the best keywords to target in your content. Some of these include SEMrush’s Keyword Magic tool, Google’s Keyword Planner, or Alexa’s Keyword Difficulty tool. These tools can show you everything from keyword volume to cost per click, how your chosen keyword is trending, its competitive density, and more.
Make use of page elements
Page elements include the page title, meta description, meta title, subheadings, and image alt tag. You should also pay attention to your page’s URL slug. The slug is the part of the URL that describes the content of the page. Take a look at this page’s URL — the slug is a clear description of this blog post.
Check your keyword density
Keyword density is the number of keywords per overall wordcount of your content. The ideal keyword density is no more than 2%. This means you should have around 2 keywords per every 100 words of content. Any more than this and you risk falling into keyword stuffing territory.
To learn more, check out our blog post on how great content can improve your SEO, or contact us to find out how our team can help optimise your content today.