Keyword Stuffing


Because keywords are such an important part of the substance of your website content, they require extra special attention. You could even say that keyword usage is a “rite of passage” skill that takes time to acquire. For example, if your site sells church chairs, or knives, you might think that the word “knives” would be the best keyword to utilize. Well, you may or may not be right, but it’s a good bet that this site sells many different kinds of “knives.” Being able to select the right keywords requires a good understanding of your target audience and what they are looking for.

Some unethical SEOs choose to employ  renegade tactics such as keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is overloading the content or meta tags of the web page with every possible keyword or phrase that relates to the site in many different forms. For example, a bad meta description for our knife site would read as follows: “knife, knives, butterfly knives, switchblade, spring assisted knife, sharp, steel.” Notice that this example has only keywords and no sentence structure. There was no coherency and certainly no call to action inviting the browser to “do” anything.

A good meta description would read something like: “Find a wide variety of knives including switchblade, butterfly and spring-assisted knives at  Take a look at our selection of knives and order yours today!” This example is better because it’s not stuffed with keywords.  Another benefit to this meta description is that it doesn’t just target broad terms like “knife,” but employs other specific search keywords that are related to the site.

Keyword stuffing doesn’t work because when the search engine crawler examines your site, its algorithm can quickly determine if  keywords are used an  unreasonable number of times. If your site contains an unnaturally high density of one single keyword, your site will actually drop in the rankings rather than rise. In severe cases, your site could be removed from the search engine index completely.

Don’t give in to the temptation to stuff your website full of keywords in an attempt to improve your rankings. The result will be the exact opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. You’re better off writing good, relevant content that humans and search engines will love.

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  1. Chris Morin says

    Great article and explanation of what keyword stuffing is. I do have a question though. It seemed like your description above was long for what all of the sites call “Suggested Length” for a description tag. Is there a consistent size that SEO folks use that works?

  2. Dominic Anderton says

    I agree with your article. Search engines look at the relevance of the content. The LSI algorithm is used to decide the relevance of words in content.

  3. says

    Good eye, Chris. Nate’s example is 167 characters, and is probably a bit long for the sole reason that the last few words would get cut off in a Google search listing (Google limit is 160). The meta description is used to entice visitors to click rather than improve rankings, so even if your description is too long, it will just get cut off. We don’t normally stress too much about the length of the description. As long as you put the important stuff up front, it’s not usually a big deal if it gets chopped.

  4. Nelson Cintra says

    Thanks for the article. It’s unfortunate so many websites and even “seo firms” resort to such techniques as keyword stuffing.

  5. Gary says

    Hi Nathan,
    Thanks this has cleared up keyword stuffing a little for me.
    I try to get most of my sites to have a keyword density of 2-3%. I assume this is ok and is not stuffing in any way? The problem with trying to get this density is that occasionally it can start to look a little unnatural to use the keywords so often.
    Thanks again

  6. Paula says

    Thank you for your advice. I often write reviews of products and do end up using the same words over and over again to describe the product. It is what it is! I can’t call it something else!

    Will that get me dinged by the search engines? I’d like to keep my sponsors happy AND keep my slowly growing PR!

    Thanks for your advice!

  7. Maya Mendoza says

    Hi Nathan

    This is a well put together explanation of keyword stuffing. Re Gary’s question: Gary I would say it is safer to go up to a keyword density 2.5% but that 2% is more than adequate. Simply keep your content relevant and you will be fine.

    All the best ~ Maya

  8. Justin Palmer jr. says


    Good article, I understand that the description needs to be coherent and not stuffed with unnecessary keywords. What about the meta keyword as opposed to the description?

  9. Eryn says

    Good article- one question- what exactly am I looking for on the church chairs website? Is it simply a good example of keyword use?

  10. Haylee says

    Really useful stuff.Businesses may think keyword stuffing is the way to go since they could get ranked quickly, but as you mention moderation is usually the best policy. Especially since Google is often changing it’s algorithm, it’s probably best to always trying to be in the middle and use the best practices when it comes to local internet marketing.

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