“Keyword stuffing” is the act of putting your chosen keywords into your copy and content more often than your content or copy calls for. A lot of people who are new to business management and Internet marketing fall into the trap of keyword stuffing because they believe the more often their keywords are mentioned, the higher their sites will rise within the search engine ranks. It is not, however, something that you should ever do, and here are just five reasons why.
1. It Alienates Your Audience
Content and copy that has been stuffed with keywords is awkward and monotonous. It is hard to read and is more likely to be clicked away from than to be taken seriously. Your audience’s time and attention is precious. You want them to be entertained by your content, not feel browbeaten by your keyword choices.
An alienated audience does not keep its opinions to itself. In addition to their annoyance with you to win over their desire to buy your products, your audience members are likely to tell everybody they know exactly why they didn’t buy from you and why they won’t go back to your site.
2. It Alienates the Search Engines
Once upon a time, the search engine algorithm for determining a site’s ranking was fairly simple. Then keyword stuffing got invented and the people who design the algorithm got hip to the game the stuffers were playing. Today the bots that crawl a website are more likely to dock a website that engages in keyword stuffing than they are to reward it. If the stuffing is particularly egregious, the site could even be de-indexed.
3. It Could Violate Your Webmaster TOS—Seriously!
The forcing of keywords into “readable” content is only one form of keyword stuffing. There are other (black-hat) methods that include things like typing the keywords at the end of a post but making those words the same color as the background of the post itself so people can’t see them or hiding them behind images.
Most web hosting providers now have explicit rules against this type of keyword stuffing for the people who publish on their servers. When they find a site that engages in this type of stuffing, they yank the site down faster than you can say “ick.”
This is problematic because once you violate your TOS with your webhost, you are forced to find a new webhost. This means you are going to have to build your site all over again. Do you have that kind of time?
4. You Sound Less Intelligent
The contortions you have to do with your content to accommodate keyword stuffing are often awkward. More often than not, you sound more like someone who is playing around with an article spinner (another thing you should rethink doing, but that’s another topic for another time) than someone who is trying to entertain and educate.
If you don’t sound like you know what you’re talking about, why should a reader trust you or what you’re trying to sell to her?
5. People Are Likely to Confuse You with a Spam Site
Your intentions might be admirable, but when you stuff keywords in where they don’t belong, you look like a site spammer, not an honest and reliable business owner. The last thing you want or need is to find out that people are calling you a spammer when they talk about you. Nothing ruins a reputation faster than that!
It’s an understandable temptation, but at the end of the day, things are pretty clear: Keyword stuffing hurts far more than it helps. Don’t do it!
Erin Steiner is a freelance writer from Portland, Oregon, who covers a variety of topics and really, really hates keyword stuffing so her article on this subject might not be entirely unbiased. She writes for a wide variety of companies and website such as Reputation.com.