Last week was a terrible week for me particularly because of a small project with a foreign client. This new client, who has gone from one SEO company to another, has a working website that targets more than ten keywords in their niche.
No, it wasn’t his poor command of the English language that stung me, nor was his off-beat humor, or his persistent emails. I personally want to have clear, consistent communication going on between me and my clients. But what I hate the most is how he pretends to know everything about SEO just because he’s had experiences with numerous agencies that ran his website in the past. And among everything else that irritates me is his laughable notion about keyword stuffing.
Let me tell you what happened so you know what I mean.
I did initial keyword research for this new client and gave him over twenty-five keywords to choose for his site. As a protocol, I did initial mapping to know what keywords they are already ranking for. Results are perfect and after some time, he agreed with a final set of keywords.
So, time for keyword mapping. During keyword mapping, our aim is to determine if the site has an existing page which we could use as the main “landing page” for our keywords. I finished the data and sent him the file.
The morning after:
Client: “On what basis are you proposing these landing pages to me?”
Me: “Three reasons: because those are already indexed, they already rank for the keyword we are targeting, and lastly because their contents are relevant to the keywords we want to target.”
Client: But there are too many keywords for one page. That is keyword stuffing!
Me: I’m sorry? Where’s keyword stuffing? I didn’t suggest we do that.
Client: Targeting too many keywords on a single page. That’s keyword stuffing.
Me: Oh really? :/
If you’re like this client, who thinks keyword stuffing is targeting too many keywords on a single landing page, please READ THROUGH.
The Real Keyword Stuffing
Targeting many keywords on a single landing page is not keyword stuffing, especially if your keywords are semantically the same with one another. A great example of this would be my client, Servcorp Manila.
We are using their landing page for several keywords such as virtual office Makati, Makati virtual office, serviced office Makati, serviced office manila, service office Philippines, Philippines virtual office, virtual office manila, etc.
You will notice that despite being treated as different keywords, these phrases really mean the same thing and are semantically equivalent with one another. This is not keyword stuffing and Google wouldn’t ban my client. You know why?
Number one, because all those keywords are relevant to the content found within our landing page. Second, because our keyword density is at a safe level. Take a look at Servcorp manila’s page content.
And number 3, we didn’t try to put all those keywords in our Meta tags, Header tags and Alt image tags. What we did was incorporate those keywords to our page structure intelligently.
Keyword stuffing only occurs when you excessively put in or distribute your keywords on your landing page. On one of her posts at Wordstream, Megan Marrs gave a sneak peek about keyword stuffing. She wrote:
Keyword stuffing, or the practice of shoving as many seo keywords onto a page as physical possible, has long been the bane of SEO white hats everywhere… a large variety of keywords by simply cluttering them onto a page, even if the keywords were unrelated and the site was absent of any real content.(italic, mine)
Keyword stuffing involves manipulating the page’s keyword density (through excessive repetition or careless distribution) to make it appear relevant to a specific topic. In the same post, Megan used this sample to show what “excessive repetition” means.
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Other black hat tactics usually associated and confused with keyword stuffing are invisible text or white text (also called cloaking), irrelevant keywords, and hidden texts or links.
The Bottom Line
I have been in SEO for x number of months, and have lived through Google’s nth algorithm change. It’s just irritating to talk with someone who thinks they know everything when they really don’t.
The bottom line is that don’t try to pretend you know what SEO means just because you are familiar with terms like “panda”, “penguin”, or “black hat”. Please read first and don’t let yourself look stupid because SEO is not at all simple or easy.