Keyword Stuffing: Is It as Bad as Painted?

Keyword stuffing bad?

I’ve been wondering for some times now that keyword stuffing is not as bad as the SEO and content marketing industry has painted it.

There seems to be a missing link that I was eventually able to find within my ten years of writing and pushing content online. I thought differently after establishing three successful blogs with each commanding awesome ranking in its niche.

I’ve lost count of websites whose owners are guilty of this “criminal activity” the industry calls "keyword stuffing" and still striving to date.

It’s easy to conclude that, those who are guilty of this offense, will soon be caught by the algorithms which we've learned was the police, that Google is releasing periodically to sanitize the net for inadequacies in content publication.

What if I said you could be wrong?

This post is a narration of my practical experiences with keyword stuffing and why I think it may not be as dangerous as you may be thinking for your ranking and SEO.

Keyword Stuffing and Matters Arising

What’s keyword stuffing?

Google has defined “Keyword stuffing" as the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site's ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose).

Filling up your content with your targeted queries a hundred times had been painted red to the extent that 5 out of 6 posts you read on content publication will warn you against it.

As a result, several suggestions had been made to save you from being penalized by Google. Experts recommend using synonyms instead of the main phrases and terms. Some warn you to forget the keywords and focus on your audience.

In fact, I once came across a post that suggested, "after reading what you’d written and found it’s stuffed, throw it away and start over". Lol!

Should you believe and take all the suggestions hook, line, and sinker? 

Answers in the rest of this post!

3 References to Keyword Stuffing that Still Guarantee Ranking and SEO Success

Below is a list of evidence that you don’t have to worry about keyword stuffing if you take a few things into consideration.

1. Longer Content Still Ranks If Stuffed

Yes, your longer content (pillar posts) ranks not only on the first page but also as number one if its keyword density is notwithstanding high.

Perhaps I should be careful not to confuse you here. Yet, you have to be made to understand that all well-ranked posts out there are guilty of keyword stuffing one way or the other.

Let’s see the number of times a particular keyword, phrases or terms can show up before being flagged “stuffing”. What percentage of a post will a keyword dominate before it’s penalized?

One of my mentors said a post of about 300 words will be guilty of the act if the targeted word(s) appear about 10 times. That’s 3%!

Also, there seems to be a consensus that a targeted keyword is better repeated 1 or 2 times in every 100 words. That’s 1-2%!

Following the consensus, if you write a 1000-word article, repeating keywords 10 to 20 times will be acceptable.

Looking deeper into this position, if you’re a good writer, you’re not likely going to keep repeating a phrase this much in a short article – if at all, you’re still writing short ones.

As a result, we can all agree that the longer your content and more your repetition, the less likely stuffing is an issue. Read: Long-Form Content: How to Easily Write Many Topics.

2. Readers Rank Your Content Even Though Stuffed

I’d mentioned it a couple of times in the past that, it didn’t matter what search engines and SEO experts think. What matters, in this content-driven world, is what our audience thinks.

It took me several months of hard work before my blog in the education niche started seeing some success. Why?

Publishers before me enjoyed keyword stuffing which I didn’t use. I’d learned about the harms this could do upfront. Then, I took it into consideration each time I typed.

Even though there are a few other reasons the established publishers could be ranking higher than I (as detailed in my post, “4 Untold Reasons Blog and Posts Are Not Ranking On Page 1”); they didn’t, to me, deserve those positions, for they were stuffing keywords.

I wrote better and didn’t stuff my pages with repetitions.

I waited several months for Google to sanction and drop them down the search results. Yet, they stood there still – to date (in most cases). So, why?

Readers are favoring their posts still!

In this part of the world, readers are yet to be well informed. It’s still difficult for them to know poor writers, who copy and paste or who write better. Once they can find answers to their questions, whether well presented or not, they fall in love with them, subscribe to their newsletters, share their posts and return the next days.

Don't forget, all those activities send great feedback to Google for better ranking!

If by any means or algorithms updates, Google is able to catch them in the act of keyword stuffing, readers will force the search engine to succumb. Or how can Google take away your traffic if visitors just key-in your URL in the browser? No way! Read: How to Dominate the Internet Without Google or Ranking.

Once the search engine understands how much people love your domain name, it dances to their tune. After all, search engines serve users – not themselves.

3. Keyword Stuffing Doesn't Matter If Naturality Flows

If you’re in the matured world, where the audience can spot your inefficiency in writing and keyword stuffing at a glance through your titles and introductions, they may follow suit by bouncing back immediately. The result is Google throwing your content off the result pages. Yes! This is well detailed in "How Google Truly Ranks Posts Up to No. 1 Position".

However, I’ve noticed that keyword stuffing is not, particularly the problem, if sentences and paragraphs (as guided in, “Rank No. 1 on Google With These Sentences and Paragraphs Styles”) flow naturally.

Very many of your readers don’t own Majors in English. Not all who need your posts understand how you ought to have written them without repeating the same words a thousand times.

They will fall for you if the stuffed-keywords still follow. Don’t slow them down unnecessarily. Don't "cartoonize" your repetition. Engage them to the end. With these at work, you should be ok.

Going by the definition of keyword stuffing given by Google itself (check above), it doesn't seem as if the search engine cares ordinarily if you keep repeating keywords. It got them mad if those repetitions don't flow. 

This and a few other tactics were covered in my post, "How to Repeat Keywords WITHOUT Stuffing".  The post emphasized further how stuffing can be friendly for SEO and ranking and how experts are manipulating things in order not to be caught or punished for keyword stuffing.

Conclusion

This post is not advocating keyword stuffing. I have a clear understanding that it affects overall users’ experience if it's excessive.

However, I’ve got it from experience, as well, that it’s not as deadly as this SEO world wants you to believe. We’re all guilty!

If you’re still in doubt, how does this very post rank to the first page, for you to see today? Mind you,  the phrase “keyword stuffing” is repeated, in this article, about 21 times plus other variations of the same term.

Hence, this post is meant to clear your fear that without a degree or diploma in creative writing, you may not stand a chance to write and rank especially if you’re guilty of keyword stuffing.

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