If you know anything about Amazon, Google, and other search engine algorithms, you know that keyword stuffing is a big no-no. While the short term benefits of keyword stuffing might be tempting, just like a buffet line in Las Vegas, the end result is often one of regret.
In addition to producing subpar, unreadable, unreliable, and useless webpages, most search engines have developed sophisticated algorithms to counter those who try to game the system.
Today, black hat SEO tactics—practices that go against search engines’ terms and conditions to increase rankings—can get you punished. Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines penalize keyword stuffing by significantly lowering your rank. If they find your keyword crimes truly atrocious, they might even remove your site from their index, which means you won’t rank at all.
So how can you avoid keyword stuffing and succeed with your SEO efforts? Research and use SEO tactics appropriately. Just be prepared that if you’re playing the long game, improving your ranking can take time, effort, and patience.
What is Keyword Stuffing?
Keyword stuffing is when you pack your webpage full of keywords in an effort to increase your ranking, regardless of relevance, usefulness, or readability.
In Google’s early stages, content and copywriters would use different types of keyword stuffing techniques to rank for hundreds of keywords. More often than not, these overstuffed webpages were empty and unusable. Because Google prides itself on its ability to rank user-friendly web pages that produce high-quality content, this was a major problem. Instead of just dealing with these obsolete webpages, Google improved it’s crawler to detect keyword-stuffed pages and punish them.
However, the impact of keyword stuffing isn’t just something that angers search engines. Perhaps even more significantly, cramming in countless keywords creates a negative experience for the people reading your website, Amazon listings, etc. So even if you manage to generate the traffic by overcrowding your pages with keywords, how will that impact your performance with your potential buyers?
When it comes to Amazon keyword optimization, many sellers still follow the outdated trend of stuffing as many keywords as possible into the front end of their listings. However, the A9 algorithm has an additional feature you should be weary of as an Amazon seller. Unlike Google, Amazon search is all about helping facilitate a sale as quickly as possible. For this reason, SEO on Amazon factors your product’s conversion rate into their rankings, adding an extra dimension that can penalize those who choose to keyword stuff on their platform.
Types of Keyword Stuffing
There are a variety of different tactics to pack keywords into pages like sardines. Some of them are obviously atrocious to users, and others are for the crawler’s eyes only. Whatever strategies are used, the end result is almost always worthless pages devoid of content or value.
1. Repeating Phrases or Words without Reason
This one might be the toughest to read. It’s when content writers cram the keyword into sentences instead of using pronouns.
Keyword Stuffing Example:
“Stay safe and have a blast with the best personal life jacket! Don’t leave the best personal life jacket at home because the best personal life jacket is the perfect playmate for any day at the lake, river, or ocean. Both kids and adults stay safe with the best personal life jacket around! Since the best personal life jacket keeps you afloat, you stay out of harm’s way no matter the tide. Keep your head up with the best personal life jacket!”
Tip for Amazon Sellers: There is no evidence to suggest that repeating phrases in your listing creates an additional impact on your indexing or ranking. While some repetition is necessary when describing your products and its benefits, overdoing it can create overly wordy listings that are off-putting to your potential customers.
2. Out of Context Keywords
This is when keywords pop up in the middle of a paragraph or sentence without any reason. Halloween costumes for dogs, small dogs costumes, funny gifts for dog lovers. This tactic can be jolting for the reader and makes reading content challenging.
Tip for Amazon Sellers: When you feel tempted to create a long, random string of types of gifts that your product is perfect for, remember the above example. Instead, if you’re looking to capture different holidays, consider updating your listing throughout the year with different seasonal Amazon search terms rather than shoving them all into your fifth bullet and hoping no one notices.
3. Irrelevant Keyword Usage
Imagine that you searched for barstools, but instead of a furniture company coming up first, a lawn service is the first organic search result. That’s a result of a site containing keywords that don’t pertain to the information on its pages, which makes users want to switch search engines.
Tip for Amazon Sellers: As you use your preferred Amazon keyword research tools, it can be easy to to start justifying how some particularly high volume terms sort of, kind of, ever so slightly relate to your product. Save your brain the effort of these mental acrobatics. If people are searching for something totally different than what your product provides, landing in their search results will rarely yield anything more than frustration (and that’s not an emotion to provoke in could-be customers).
4. Adding Keyword Blocks
Adding keyword blocks is when a web page lists the same keyword again and again. For example, you search “best chocolate chip cookie recipe” and click on the first link, only to find “best chocolate chip cookie recipe best chocolate chip cookie recipe best chocolate chip cookie recipe best chocolate chip cookie recipe” repeated a hundred times before you ever get to the recipe.
5. Hidden Keyword Stuffing
While this tactic can be the most sneaky, it can still lead to low quality or irrelevant keyword ranking. This includes hiding keywords in the background of a web page by changing their color to match the background. That way, crawlers still log the keywords, but users can’t see them. Another way to hide keywords is to cram them into metadata, alt tags, or comment tags.
How to Use Keywords Correctly
If all of this talk of keyword stuffing is making you want to go on a keyword-free diet, don’t worry. As long as you your keywords are relevant and you use them responsibly, they can be a great asset in helping you generate traffic and grow your business.
For websites, a good rule of thumb to use is to stick to about 2% keyword density. Take all of the words in your text, then divide it by the number of times your keyword comes up in your copy. If it’s a high number, you could be guilty of accidentally keyword stuffing, and your web page might be ranked lower than it should. If it’s less than 2%, try to increase it simply by adding in a few more keywords at a time.
SEOmark suggests choosing five keywords to incorporate in your text. Because 40% of searches are four words or more, choose long-tailed keywords over single word ones. Then, select your main keyword and ensure it’s in your webpage’s title, headline, title tags, meta descriptions and alt tags.
On Amazon, your keyword density will be higher. As you create Amazon listing text, don't worry about meeting a specific percentage. Instead, focus on writing clear, compelling copy seasoned with keywords. As long as you’re not committing the keyword crimes in the previous section, you should have nothing to worry about.
Tip for Amazon Sellers: Long tail keywords can be incredible golden nuggets when you’re selling on Amazon. Lower search volume may make them seem unattractive, but you may be passing up valuable opportunities. Long tail keywords typically have less competition, while higher specificity means greater relevance. The result: untapped conversion opportunities. Plus, shorter tail, higher volume search terms are oftentimes embedded within them, meaning they kill two birds with one stone.
It’s Not All About Keywords
Yes, keywords are important, but as you’ve seen there are other elements that influence how you rank. And these factors differ depending upon the search engine. What gets Google excited may not be the same thing that elevates your Amazon ranking.
Some other things to consider as you enhance your SEO are:
- Creating valuable content that gets people to spend more time on your site
- Improving your pages’ load speed
- Optimizing for mobile
Keywords and Compelling Copy: The Key to Covetable Conversion Rates
Writing about yourself, your products, and your business can be hard work. So let us make it easy for you! Whether you need Amazon conversion rate optimization or a killer about page for your website, join over 700 businesses that have grown their brands with the Marketing by Emma team. Contact us to get your conversion rates soaring!