Have you ever come across a blog or website that seems to repeat the same words over and over? For example, if you're trying to find a great Italian restaurant to visit during your next trip to Pittsburgh you might land upon a website or blog that has the same phrase used in every article on the page, "fine Italian dining in Pittsburgh, PA" for example. A sample paragraph from this website might look like the following:
When searching for fine Italian dining in Pittsburgh, PA it's important to keep in mind that there are many different establishments offering fine Italian dining in Pittsburgh, PA. To ensure that you have the tastiest fine Italian dining in Pittsburgh, PA during your next trip, be sure to review our guide of authentic dishes perfect for fine Italian dining in Pittsburgh, PA!
This is known as keyword stuffing. It's annoying not just to developers like myself or people who create quality content, but more-importantly it's annoying to your readers and prospect customers! So what's this all about?
Why People Stuff Keywords
Knowing your keywords is an important part of optimizing your website for online searches. It makes sense that a website that offers restaurant reviews would want to rank well when someone searches "fine Italian dining in Pittsburgh, PA" in Google (although that's a fairly broad keyword, it at least makes sense that someone would want to rank well for that in the list of search results). In the past, keyword stuffing was used to give a website maximum visibility for a certain keyword or phrase to the point that Google has modified their search algorithm to ignore sites that use the keyword stuffing technique.
Essentially, keyword stuffing is an outdated and unethical search engine optimization technique. If you're interested in starting a new web project with a developer it's always important to ask them about their SEO strategy. How do they go about, or recommend going about creating content? Do they know how to effectively place keywords as to not annoy visitors while effectively driving traffic? Most importantly, do they use ethical and current strategies to boost your search visibility? Remember, Google and search engines like it are most people's window to the internet - if you've been blacklisted for keyword stuffing (or any other nefarious SEO strategy) your website might as well be trapped inside lockbox with no key!
Content is King
The phrase above has been around for quite a while, but it's worth repeating: Content is King. Ultimately, even if outdated and shady tactics like keyword stuffing worked at driving traffic, do you think your visitors are going to stick around to initiate contact or buy a product once they see a paragraph like the one at the top of this post? Almost certainly not. Keyword stuffing is a technique meant to please the robots that crawl websites, not the people that read them. If your content isn't engaging or useful to the visitor they'll move on to someone else's website or blog which could mean a lost lead to your competition!