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Keyword Stuffing As A Google Ranking Factor


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Keyword Stuffing

Many people are convinced that when it comes to keywords, the more the merrier. After all, if only a few keywords dramatically improve performance, then certainly additional keywords will only help the cause.

Google refers to “keyword stuffing” as being “the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results.” Google states that keywords will appear in a list or group, or out of context. 

It says that filling pages with keywords or numbers results in a negative user experience, and ultimately harms a website’s ranking. People are instead encouraged to focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.

Google once ranked web content using a basic set of signals before there really was SEO, and keywords were one of the original signals. In turn, more keywords used led to a better page rank, especially in the earliest days of search engines.

So keyword stuffing was a widely used technique because it got real results. Needless to say, this is no longer the case.

Exact match keywords were once a signal that carried a lot of weight. If a keyword appeared on a page exactly as the user typed it, the page would have a high chance of ranking.

When people discovered they could rank their websites for more queries by repeating different variations of keywords on a page, it led to the technique known as keyword stuffing. People could get away with a lot of keyword stuffing that ranged from overuse of keywords in on-page copy to entire paragraphs that were just keywords separated by commas.

A more egregious form of keyword stuffing involved hiding paragraphs of keywords by making the text the same color as the page’s background. Google would see hidden keywords when crawling the pages, but users would not notice anything.

Keyword stuffing was not limited to on-page copy. Page titles and meta descriptions were packed full of keywords in an effort to manipulate search rankings.

So there was a time when keyword stuffing not only avoided penalties but actually reaped rewards. All of this finally changed in 2003 when Google rolled out the Florida update, which is regarded as Google’s first major algorithm update.

The Florida update primarily targeted link spam, but websites engaging in other spammy-like techniques felt an impact as well. Florida reduced the ranking impact of keyword stuffing to a certain extent, but it still offered some rewards in Google’s algorithms.

The big change came in 2011 when Google launched the Panda update that targeted low-quality websites and thin content with little or no added value. This invariably led to keyword-stuffed pages getting demoted in search results, as those pages tended to add less value to the web compared to pages that were not written to game search engines.

It was after Panda that Google strictly advised against doing any keyword stuffing. Next came Google’s introduction of the Hummingbird update in 2013.

Hummingbird brought the conversational search to Google, which meant users could type queries using natural language and Google’s algorithm would understand what they were looking for. Approaches to content writing changed after this update, particularly as it relates to the unnatural use of keywords. It might be fair to say Hummingbird sparked the shift away from writing content for search engines to writing content for people.

Keyword stuffing was done purely to manipulate rankings and did not offer anything of value to searchers. The technique is now virtually obsolete because Google’s search algorithm is more adept at recognizing quality content.

If you want to see just how little keyword stuffing works nowadays, just look at Google’s search results. Modern SERPs have page titles that read naturally, meta descriptions that contain paragraphs of actual copy, and articles that are not filled with unnecessary uses of exact-match phrases.

Such evidence is rather anecdotal. The hard evidence is Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, which websites have to follow in order to remain indexed in search.

Keyword stuffing is acknowledged in the chapter called “irrelevant keywords” linked to earlier. The Webmaster Guidelines effectively tell you Google demotes pages filled with an unnecessary amount of keywords.

In the end, keyword stuffing is now a confirmed negative ranking factor. Attempting to manipulate search rankings with repeated uses of words or phrases will only cause a site to rank lower in Google’s search results.

Get SEO Help in Houston, TX

SERP Matrix can help you with your SEO and local SEO concerns, including keyword issues. We have helped scores of clients across various industries establish their presence on the internet, and we also provide an SEO services guarantee which means that you will be refunded a portion of fees for which service was not performed. 

The content writing team at SERP Matrix can provide you with winning meta descriptions in addition to actual website content. Our team understands the most compelling descriptions of web pages that will be most likely to lead to clicks and then conversions.

We will be able to offer detailed keyword analysis that can help target your customers. When we deliver content to you, you will also get suggested meta descriptions that you can count on to accurately summarize your web page in a search engine and also encourage more website visitors.

We also handle link building that can incorporate meta descriptions in some cases. Our team will earn you links from only the highest-quality sources, such as educational websites, government websites, video websites, news or journalism-related websites, web directories, RSS directories, blogs, forums, publishers, social media, and membership organizations.

A complete audit can be used to discover any HTTP 404 Not Found Errors users encounter when webpages can not be found on the server. Our meta descriptions will lead to additional link possibilities.

We can make sure keywords and locations are incorporated into virtually every element of your website content, including the title tag, header tag, ALT tag (the ALT attribute within the HTML IMG tag), website, or landing page URL, and the actual page content. Our efforts can work together seamlessly to ensure that your meta descriptions are accurately conveying the information on your web page.

You can also count on us to help you with search engine submission when you are concerned about the display of your meta descriptions. SERP Matrix handles meta descriptions in major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo as well as other popular search engines such as Alexa, AOL, Ask, Baidu, Bing, Dogpile, DuckDuckGo, Internet Archive, Quora, StartPage, WolframAlpha, and Yandex.

SERP Matrix offers web design and development services that include work on static websites, dynamic websites, e-commerce websites, corporate websites, small business websites, mobile applications and websites, responsive websites, content management system (CMS) websites, personal websites, government websites, and non-profit organization websites. We know how to make sure that every single page on your website has an accurate and compelling meta description so there is never an issue with search engines incorrectly describing web pages.

You can also count on social media marketing and video marketing services from SERP Matrix. Our website has reviews from our customers that you can read as well as information about all of the many other digital services we offer.

Find an SEO Company in Houston | SERP Matrix

If you are seeking SEO help in the greater Houston area, you should not wait to contact SERP Matrix. We will work closely with you and do all of the work that is required to make you a powerful voice online.

For a free consultation, simply call (713) 287-1134, or contact us online. Our office will contact you as soon as possible to arrange for you to discuss the information about your project with an experienced Project Manager. 

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