There's no point in overdoing specific keywords. Google will either ignore you or apply penalties. Avoid trying to "work" the system.
Keyword stuffing is the practice of purposely inserting specific words and phrases in non-natural ways in an attempt to call more attention to a page's content in online searches. Over the years, Google has become very smart about detecting abnormal text and will either apply penalties to your site or simply ignore the page where the keyword stuffing appears.
Keyword stuffing usually refers to long strings of keywords that don't look like sentences at all. Or sentences that are awkwardly written to repeat certain key phrases. "Maya's Gold Jewelry offers gold jewelry at the best gold jewelry prices in today's competitive gold jewelry markets."
You might also have heard the phrase keyword density. This relates to an outdated practice used to determine the optimum amount of times that a keyword phrase should be used on a particular page. As Google has recently said, keyword density is "no longer a thing." In fact, Google states that after a particular phrase appears on a page a couple times, the effect on relevance might actually drop. Yes, that's right. The first couple times, you're doing the right thing by showing the search engine that your page really is about that topic. After that, Google starts losing interest. By overdoing it, you could be hurting yourself rather than helping.
Google consistently recommends that you write for people, not for search engines. Google's algorithm is designed specifically to find content that naturally delivers information of importance to the searcher, and is relevant to users based on the actual value it delivers, not solely on the keywords that appear on the page.
If you insert a good keyword phrase once, that's enough for Google to see it and use it. On a longer page, one or two other mentions can be helpful, assuming that they're integrated in a natural way. But be cautious about overusing keyword phrases to the point where you trigger a negative reaction.
Earlier this month, Google also made it clear that the algorithm can tell (don't ask me how) whether apparent keyword stuffing is the result of an active attempt to manipulate search results, or if it just reflects a spurt of enthusiasm on the part of the site owner. "We know that many websites aren't really trying to fool Google's system. It might just be a normal attempt to get across what the website is all about. Maybe they're just following bad advice they got somewhere. We want to rank a website based on the good things on it, rather than remove it for any small thing they do."
In general, Google's approach nowadays is to negate the effect of manipulative actions by simply ignoring them. Which means that, instead of having greater effect on results, these attempts to rig the system end up having no effect at all.
Will this information make it a little easier for you to write for your e-commerce website? Feel free to comment or ask a question. And check the blog for other tips on SEO, copywriting, social media and marketing.
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Cynthia Pepper-Jones, Gypsum Moon
Barbara Clavan provides copywriting, coaching and consulting services to high-growth businesses, high-profile individuals and creative entrepreneurs.
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