Q and A: What is Keyword Stuffing?

Question

Dear Kalena,

Is keyword stuffing a bunch of the same keywords or is it a bunch of unrelated keywords?

Willie

Hi Willie,

The term “Keyword Stuffing” describes the practice of  repeating a particular phrase (often many times) within the text on a single page.  Typically this would be done with the same or closely related keyword phrases – with the aim  of trying to raise the profile of that particular web page for search queries on that keyword.

Usually a few mentions of a particular keyword phrase (or related phrases) would be acceptable (and normal), but it quickly becomes very obvious to users if a particular phrase is repeated over and over again within the content of a single page.  This type of “unnatural” repetition of keywords can be very annoying from a users perspective and may actually incur search ranking penalties. If a search engine considers the page to be “over optimised” it is unlikely to achieve good rankings.

Whilst mentioning your target keyword a few times within the content of your page is sensible, overdoing it can be detrimental.  In most cases when you are writing content, you should be trying to write it for the benefit of  the user rather than the search engines.

If you are concerned that some of your pages might be “keyword stuffed” an easy test is to simply read them through.  If the pages read well, are informative and feel “natural” then you are probably OK.  If the content is awkward and there are obvious repetitions of particular keywords, I’d suggest that you consider re-writing the page.

A handy online tool that I often use to get a feel for what a page is about is Tag Crowd.  This tool allows you to specify a URL, or paste in text, and it will create a Tag Cloud of the content provided.  If one or two keywords jump out at you from the tag cloud it generates, it is possible that your page may be over-optimised.

Andy Henderson
WebConsulting SEO (Brisbane)

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