Keyword Stuffing Hurts SEO

Stuff Turkeys, Not Sites: Keyword Stuffing’s Impact on SEO

It’s an American tradition to stuff a turkey for Thanksgiving. But this holiday, remember that stuffing is not always a good idea, particularly keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is used to obtain high search engine rankings by overloading content with searchable keywords. This dirty trick, labeled as webspam by Google, is still used by countless businesses to promote their website. Not only does it look bad to visitors, but it actually hurts a website’s search engine optimization (SEO). Put the turkey in the oven and let’s explore why.

How do real people search for information?

Internet users are searching more and more using real questions, especially with the help of voice technologies like iPhone’s Siri. Therefore, it is better to use content directed at these questions as oppose to keyword stuffing. This positions a website as an authoritative resource on specific topics. The result is higher quality traffic.

How do I know if my site is keyword stuffed?

Here is a simple litmus test to determine if your website is keyword stuffed: read your content – every paragraph. Would you ever speak that way to a customer? If the answer is no, then your content is keyword stuffed, your marketing message will fail and there will be fewer conversions. Search engines view keyword stuffed sites as poor resources and demote their rankings. In extreme cases of keyword stuffing, a website can be flagged as webspam and blocked by search engines.

Here is an example of well written content verses keyword stuffed content:

Good: This Thanksgiving, use our tricks for roasting the perfect stuffed turkey.

Bad: This Thanksgiving in Milwaukee Wisconsin, contact us for our best Thanksgiving recipes for roasted turkey, gravy, potatoes, cranberries, rolls, squash, bean casserole, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and wine that taste good in Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin.

Which website would you rather continue reading? Search engines care about this. Matt Cutts states on Google’s Webmaster Central Blog, “The goal of many of our ranking changes is to help searchers find sites that provide a great user experience and fulfill their information needs.”

I think my website is keyword stuffed. What do I do now?

If you think your website is keyword stuffed, you may want to reconsider your current SEO resource and methods. Keyword stuffing was a popular and effective technique in the past, but the advancement of search engine intelligence has made this tactic obsolete. Some SEO agencies still promote keyword stuffing because it requires more billable time, it doesn’t require good copywriters and it may result in an increase in site traffic (although, not an increase in high-quality traffic).

Because search engines are the most universal way people find answers on the Internet, it is best to focus on quality content that attracts interest. That is the type of website you can be proud serving to your audience this Thanksgiving and throughout the year.


After helping companies review their SEO strategy, I’ve witnessed many resources spent on efforts that provide little ROI. If you need assistance reviewing your approach to SEO, contact Richter Sterling, a consulting firm experienced in technology agendas to support strategic business plans.