Dos and Don’ts of Keyword Use: Keyword Stuffing

Budding writers sometimes assume that keyword stuffing is the best tactic to achieve SEO. Ah, there was a time (can you say “1997”?) that stuffing your copy with keywords did achieve a goal of high search engine rankings. Alas, those days are but a fond memory. All major search engines now penalize a creative writer for exorbitant keyword density. As experienced writers understand, excessive keyword use can also devastate an otherwise wonderful article.

Example of Dos and Don’ts

Do: Primary Keyword: small business financing

Entrepreneurs seeking small business financing typically look to their favorite bank or friends, family, or “angels” for investment dollars. In most cases, their bank or credit union will compel SBA small business financing, particularly if the company is a startup or newly established entity.

Keyword density: 4.8 percent.

Good keyword density for SEO is 3 to 7 percent. This paragraph is a “do.”

Don’t: Primary Keyword: small business financing

Small business financing for entrepreneurs takes various forms. Banks and credit unions offer small business financing through SBA. Small business financing is also available from investors. Family and friends may offer small business financing, along with “angels,” those who offer small business financing for small businesses as a hobby or small business financing business.

Keyword density: 9.3 percent.

This level is close to the dreaded 10 percent “kill zone.” Quality search engines, like Google and Yahoo, will discount this paragraph as a keyword stuffer piece, moving it down their results pages—or even dropping it from their search results.

Temptation

Content writer jobs foster the temptation to “load up” keywords. Resist the lure to stuff your copy with keywords AT ALL COSTS.

Unless you’re writing pure advertising copy, clients will soon understand that keyword stuffing is hurting—not helping—their businesses. As they move down (not up) the search engine result lists, your clients will quickly lose their initial fondness of your repetitious use of their keywords.

Keyword Stuffing Also Leads to Poor Writing

For a moment, go back (in your mind, only) to your humble beginnings as a developing, revenue-generating writer. Do you remember the challenging task of integrating keywords into your copy, while making your prose worthy of a Hemingway novel?

While most of us (who survived) can remember those early assignments, it remains difficult to admit we were lost, with a wry smile. Most top SEO writers are made, not born. It took hours of practice, rewrites, and sentence construction changes, to write copy for which you felt pride.

As you know, writing for the ‘Net places high premiums on every word. The web is not friendly to writing another A Tale of Two Cities. Dickens would face serious challenges to get his masterpiece published today as an e-book. Two-page convoluted sentences simply don’t work for web copy.

Keyword stuffing often induces the same unwanted results. Writing becomes stilted and confusing. Of course, the major search engines will probably bury this copy so far down their results lists that few will ever read it. (Look for even the most modest positives?)

Use keywords wisely. Target a keyword density of 3 to 7 percent. Do not increase your density to 10 percent or more. Your writing quality will improve. Your clients will be happier with the SEO results.  If you still have trouble eluding keyword repetition, use an online keyword density tool to help create consistent, winning SEO copy.

William P is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments. WriterAccess is powered by ideaLaunch.


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