(image credit: Flickr Darwin Bell)
One of the most common problems I encounter is that of keyword stuffing, before explaining what keyword stuff is I need to define keywords. Technopedia define keyword as
A keyword, in the context of search engine optimization, is a particular word or phrase that describes the contents of a Web page. Keywords are intended to act as shortcuts that sum up an entire page. Keywords form part of a Web page’s metadata and help search engines match a page to with an appropriate search query.(source:techopedia.com)
I’ll define keyword as the phrases people use when they are using search engines such as Google, it’s a slightly misleading label keyword phrases would be more accurate way to describe them as its rare to search with one word its usually a combination of words which people use when searching i.e. pizza shop Morecambe would be a keyword.
What is keyword stuffing?
Where a website owner has attempted to cram an excessive amount of keywords into a page element be it bodytext , heading or title tag(more on that later) Yola.com define Keyword stuffing as
The term “keyword stuffing” has been around since the early days of SEO. It’s used to describe a shady technique website owners adopt in order to manipulate their site’s search ranking for a particular keyword, or set of keywords. If you have been to a website that displays a list of words or phrases that have little or no relevance to the content on the website, then it is likely that website is keyword stuffing.(source:Yola.com)
Webopedia’s definition is as follows ‘A SEO technique used by Web designers to overload keywords onto a Web page so that search engines will read the page as being relevant in a Web search.’(source: webopedia.com)
My encounters with keyword stuffing generally lie between these two definitions common features are as follows:
• Developers overload a page or text with keywords
• Cramming keywords into a page where there is little or no content which is relevant to said keyword
From an SEO perspective page titles are extremely important they are used to describe the contents of a webpage, best practice here advises using no more than 2 keywords separated with a pipe character | if necessary, titles are limited to 70 characters (including spaces) as they will ignore extra characters
| | company name is the best practice solution for page titles suggested by moz.com
This approach is like a kid in a sweet shop, the website owner has identified a list of keywords (probably using guesswork rather than genuine keyword research) then decided they’d like their site to rank for these keywords, the problem is its basically ineffective and will alienate users for little or no reward. If you wish to rank for a keyword there has to be genuine content relevant to that keyword present in the website.
Keyword stuff is a waste of time, a page completely stuffed with keywords will have minimal chance of ranking for those keywords, its an easy way to make your website look poor quality and spammy, Google’s webmaster guidelines actually advise against loading a page with irrelevant keywords