Even if you’re new to the SEO industry you’re aware of the importance of keywords. They drive almost every part of an SEO strategy and our businesses wouldn’t survive long without them.

Keywords are what the best search engine optimization companies use to tell search engines what websites are all about. Based on the words we use, Google, Yahoo, Bing, and countless other search engines know how to match our websites with the queries of users all around the globe.

It’s pretty heavy stuff.

Just as keywords are a vital part of our work, it is also important to see them as something we need to use in moderation.

Keyword misuse is a real thing, and it’s been running rampant in the SEO industry for far too long. Keyword misuse is different than keyword stuffing, though stuffing them everywhere you can is certainly on way to misuse your keywords!

You can avoid keyword misuse by:

  • Not overloading your title tag – This is so common it’s painful. In the recent past it was completely acceptable to load your title tag down with keywords, sometimes as many as five or six different instances! This resulted in some insanely long (and often irrelevant) title tags that though one keyword might apply to one page, the rest weren’t relevant and often caused pages to be returned as results for queries that they weren’t relevant to. Ouch. Instead of handling things like that, you should select one or two keywords for your title tag, and use each one only once – a popular way to arrange title tags is “keyword here – Business name here”
  • Writing content with human readers in mind – For a long time it was standard practice to write content that was thin, generic, or just outright jibberish with a few keywords and a link tossed in there somewhere. Of course there were people who were focused on content that was meaningful to their human readers (as opposed to search spiders) but this wasn’t an overwhelmingly common thing. Though it took a major Google algorithm update and a lot of frantic scrambling, the trend towards fresh, interesting, high-quality content has risen up and is still going strong. Of course you should still think of your content as a marketing tool, but instead of focusing on keywords alone, think of different ways you can include your calls to action, bring new ideas to your readers, and above all make them feel welcome and valued!
  • Being a master of varied anchor text – While it’s not as influential as it used to be, the keywords you use as anchors for your backlinks do still matter. The trouble is that you can’t have every link back to your site be one of the same group of keywords. You’ve got to get creative and find a variety of (relevant) words and phrases to use thanks to another infamous Google update. To help you avoid keyword misuse in your anchor text, think of the kinds of things your readers might use to link back to you. Would they use your business name? Your website URL? This is where keyword and traffic research and analysis can come in handy!


What are other ways you’ve seen keywords be misused? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below!

Read more: Keywords Told Me What My Friends Wouldn’t