I am super excited to have Scott Wyden as a guest writer on the Get Found With Fuse Blog discussing an important topic:KEYWORD STUFFING.
I received an email from Feuza asking if I would be interested in sharing my very honest feedback related to a topic she shared with me.
Feuza mentioned that she noticed a company (hired by photographers) that are keyword stuffing for them like it is a secret weapon for ranking well on search engines. Guess what… what they are doing is wrong!
I’m about to burst a heck of a lot of bubbles and for a good reason. Like Feuza, I am often educating photographers about SEO. I do it through the Photographer’s SEO Community, and I cannot stand by and watch a company hurt the websites of photographers.
Before getting into the nitty gritty, you must understand what keyword stuffing is.
What Is Keyword Stuffing?
Keyword stuffing is when a person uses the same keyword way too often on a single page. It is usually measured in percentages like 1%, 2% and so on. The more times that the keyword is used on the page, the higher than percentage gets. This percentage is known as the density.
There is no one single answer to what the best keyword density is. However, I try to recommend for people to stay around 1% because the keywords are not used too often or too little.
Use Keywords The Correct Way
To use keywords the correct way, it is important to still write for people. Search engines know when the text content is written for their robots versus your readers. They are using a method of language tracking called the Flesch Reading Ease test. If you are writing too much for robots, the score gets worse and your SEO quality drops.
So stop trying too hard and just write naturally (as I am here). Use your keywords where they would organically come out of your mouth don’t push them too hard.
My favorite tool for optimizing a page or post within WordPress is the plugin, WordPress SEO by Yoast. When used, users have the ability to see how well their doing and how high or low their keyword density is.
As you can see from the screenshot above, the density score for this article (currently) is 1.36% and the analysis says that’s good. Right around the 1% which I mentioned. If I use the keyword I’m using more often, and/or continue writing more content then the percentage will change. Rumor has it that 7% is the cap at of keyword density before Google beings to take a closer look at the website. That change could be worse or better.
When I am done reading this article, I am going to check my analysis once more and share the final keyword density.
But Wait There’s More
There is more to then what I have already mentioned. When the plugin is analyzing the page, it only checks the page title, image alt tags and page content for the keyword. Once the page or post has been published, search engines are using the overall site (including sidebar widgets, footer widgets and so on).
That means depending on what your keyword is, and how your website is designed that your density can change once published.
One of the WordPress widgets that many photographers are using, can actually hurt your density. The widget is called the Tag Cloud. It’s a really nice feature, but when so many keywords are bundled in one place on a website, and tracked by search engines, it doesn’t always look positive. There is a high chance that search engines may interpret Tag Clouds as keyword stuffing. Here is what Matt Cutts from Google had to say on the topic.
If you are not using WordPress and want to see how well you’re doing with keyword stuffing, density and so on, here are some useful tools.
Keyword Stuffing No More
To close up my
rant article, I will leave you with some more advice from Matt Cutts and a sentence you’re welcome to quote me on.
I’m not alone in this argument either. Joe Bergevin, of SEO.com says in an article following an experiment, “Bottom line: despite the vagueness of the limits on keyword density vs. keyword stuffing, I think it’s safe to say it’s always a matter of good practice. As long as your article or page flows naturally and is readable to the human eye, you’ll make friends with your readers as well as Google.”
Nathan, also of SEO.com, says “Don’t give in to the temptation to stuff your website full of keywords in an attempt to improve your rankings. The result will be the exact opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. You’re better off writing good, relevant content that humans and search engines will love.”
Keyword stuffing makes you look bad to search engines and to your customers. If a potential customer visits your website and gets a headache from trying to read your robotic about page or blog article, they will not hire you. Write for them, not for Google. Robots are not your customer (unless you are reading this way in the future then you never know).
Scott Wyden Kivowitz
PS. My keyword density finished at 1.0%.