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In a sea of content, standing out among the pack is most marketing writers’ ultimate goal. While you can achieve this by creating engaging, interesting, and shareable content that is relatable to many people, it’s also essential to make your content easier to find.
When web users search for content, they type in phrases or keywords that help direct them to the information that best fits their needs or solves their problems. To make sure your content ranks toward the top of visitors’ search results, you must make sure your content includes the keywords they are entering.
What Is Keyword Stuffing and Why Can It Hurt Your Content?
Image via Flickr by karlnorling
With companies pushing to get their sites to the top of search engine results, many resort to what is called keyword stuffing in their content. Keyword stuffing is the practice of identifying keywords that visitors will most likely search for when looking for specific content and inserting those into a piece as often as possible in hopes that content will rank highly in search results.
As search engines caught on to what content creators were doing, keyword stuffing began to be known as a black hat technique — working around the system’s goals to get your desired results.
You Might End Up With Lower Rankings
The truth is that these search engines do not like when users try to fool their algorithms. They have begun cracking down on companies that use keyword stuffing in an attempt to increase search rankings. If they catch a site using this practice, they lower its rankings or in some cases even remove that site from the search engine altogether. So while you might see a brief return after submitting content you’ve stuffed with keywords, it will most likely be short-lived and result in a long-term problem once discovered.
Your Content Will Suffer
Content that uses keyword stuffing might attract visitors initially due to its high ranking on the search engine, but might prevent those individuals from becoming return visitors. Content that is stuffed with keywords or uses odd keyword phrases simply because they are commonly searched can result in choppy, sometimes difficult-to-follow content. Remember that visitors are looking for content that is easy to read and provides value. Once they realize your content is neither, they are unlikely to return to your site or share it with fellow readers.
How to Implement Keywords Into Your Content Properly
Now that you know the dangers of keyword stuffing, the question is, “How do you properly implement keywords into your content to increase your search results?” Keywords are vital to optimizing your content and a great way to focus your content as well as attract the visitors you need to achieve your content goals. By following the tips below, you can help make your content more SEO-friendly without resorting to unnecessary keyword stuffing.
Research Your Keywords Properly
A little research can go a long way toward attracting your target audience. Take some time to find out what keywords your potential customers or visitors search or input most frequently. Once you have a list of these words, you can plan the topics for your content calendar, assigning those keywords to be used in specific types of content naturally.
Maintain a Reasonable Density
It is imperative to find a balance in keyword density so your content will rank high on search engines, but not begin to sound awkward or get flagged for attempting black hat methods to cheat the search engine algorithms. While there is debate over what’s the magic number when it comes to keyword density, most content writers like to stay between 2 percent and 5 percent to accomplish their goals without overdoing it.
Integrate Keywords Naturally
While keywords are important for enticing readers and visitors to read your content, the ultimate goal is to get those individuals to become repeat visitors, continually returning to your site and sharing your content. This means the content should be engaging and easy to read. Using too many keywords or awkward keyword phrasing that could trip up the reader and make the piece frustrating to follow can prevent people from reading a piece in its entirety or returning to your site. Remember that keywords are an essential part of the content and not an afterthought. If you have difficult keywords, try forming sentences that help them flow correctly and then integrating those sentences into the content.
Use Keywords in Meta Tags and Headers
To be most effective, don’t just place keywords in the body of your content; insert them in all aspects of a post or piece. Use keywords or keyword phrases in headers, meta description, and meta tags, but be cautious here, as well. You don’t want to overstuff or make the header or meta description read awkwardly. Remember that these pieces should supplement your content and its rank in search engines and can be just as important as the body text itself.
Consider Synonyms for Important Keywords
If you have established a keyword and would like to work it into your content more frequently without keyword stuffing, try using synonyms or alternative phrases. If visitors are searching for a specific keyword, they might also be searching for similar words. You can take advantage of this while still maintaining your content’s flow. This is also good practice when you have commonly used keywords that naturally occur often in the content and might unintentionally cause your keyword density to be higher than you would like. You can lower the density by simply using a synonym or an alternative keyword phrase.
Make your keywords work for your content instead of against it. Don’t let them cause your website to be flagged or removed from search engine results. Without ranking highly in search engines, you will miss out on attracting visitors and never reach your content marketing goals. Follow the tips above to prevent keyword stuffing while still getting the most mileage out of your keyword selections.