What is keyword stuffing?
Keyword stuffing is the artificial increase of keyword density and relevance, which Google considers to be a spam measure and can result in devaluations up to the exclusion of such websites from the index. Stuffing link texts, metadata and textual content with keywords is therefore an illegal SEO technique.
- Has very negative SEO effects
- Can affect the user experience
- Can be avoided by using tools
Keyword stuffing – unethical and ineffective
In the early days of search engines, the main purpose was to crawl websites for keywords and their variants. Thus, websites that contained the search term as often as possible were ahead of the competition. This of course opened the door to simple spam techniques. Today, on the other hand, it is important that keywords appear appropriately often and that the user experience is not disturbed. Keyword stuffing involves inserting a very large number of keywords into web content and meta tags in order to artificially increase a pages ranking in search results and attract more visitors to the website. A keyword is an important term that is relevant to the content in question. Keyword stuffing is considered an unethical SEO technique at best and an aggressive “attack technique” at worst. Indeed, this approach is often used to direct traffic to fraudulent or malicious websites. Excessive filling of content with keywords is sometimes referred to as “spamdexing”. Keywords can be hidden in content by a number of questionable methods, such as adjusting the font colour to the background, setting the font size to zero, or placing it behind an image. Words and phrases that are used are usually only really relevant if they are visible to the reader. However, if keywords are hidden, its often just a list of common search phrases, such as sexual terms and celebrity names. According to Google, keyword stuffing is not only unethical, but also ineffective. Meta tags are hardly used for ranking websites anymore, so keywords placed in this field are basically ignored. Black Hat SEOs were also happy to work in the source code and fill this invisible part of the page with the appropriate keywords so that search engine bots are given the necessary feed. However, these and other tricks are now quite reliably exposed. Increasingly sophisticated algorithms are helping Google to detect not only when terms are irrelevant, but also when they are out of context or overused. If hidden text in the content is detected, Google may remove a site from its index so that it does not appear in search results at all.
More harm than good through keyword stuffing
So it is a seemingly intuitive but misguided logic that misleads webmasters when they try to optimize website content in this way for SEO. Since search engines are designed to accept keywords as input and display search results that are most relevant to those terms, one might have the following thought: “Why not put those keywords as far as possible in my content? Because it does much more harm than good! This approach to keyword stuffing used to be quite successful – until search engines tuned in and started punishing sites that did this. Today, if you stuff a keyword too many times in your content, it can cause your search rankings to disappear or your content to be removed completely from search lists. Search engines have made it their business to provide audiences with content that matches their search intentions. This means that they use algorithms that do their best to give preference to high-quality, informative content. If content is not written for a human audience, but is structured to manipulate an algorithm, the result is usually a spamy and artificial reading that does not meet the needs of a website visitor and consequently deserves little attention. Thus, keyword stuffing is rightly considered a black hat technique that violates SEO best practices.