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, it usually ends in regret.
In addition to producing subpar, unreadable, unreliable, and useless web pages, 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 be heavily penalized. Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines restrict 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 black-hat SEO keyword stuffing and optimize your Amazon SEO strategy and why is keyword stuffing bad? The best approach is to use and 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's Keyword Stuffing?
Keywords are a vital component of effective SEO marketing.
Keyword stuffing is when you pack your web page full of keywords in an effort to increase your ranking, regardless of relevance, usefulness, or readability.
In Google’s early stages, content creators and copywriters would use different types of keyword-stuffing techniques to rank for hundreds of keywords. More often than not, these overstuffed web pages 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 web pages, Google improved its 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 user experience for the people reading your website, Amazon listings, etc. So even if you manage to generate traffic by overcrowding your pages with keywords, how will that impact your performance with your potential buyers? You want to opt for highly relevant, impactful keywords so that the traffic you receive is more viable, i.e. shoppers who are inclined to click the coveted “Add to Cart” button.
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 wary of as an Amazon seller. Unlike Google, Amazon search is all about helping facilitate a sale as quickly as possible. For this reason, SEO in Amazon factors your product’s conversion rate into their rankings, adding an extra dimension of disadvantages for those who choose to keyword stuff on their platform. So as discussed above, it is important to prioritize your user's experience once they actually click on your listing or website.
Types of Keyword Stuffing
There are a variety of different black-hat keyword stuffing tactics to pack keywords into pages like sardines. Some of them are obviously atrocious to users, while 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. With this kind of repetition, 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 keywords on Amazon creates an additional impact on your indexing or ranking. While some repetition is necessary when describing your products and their benefits, overdoing it can create overly wordy listings that are off-putting to your potential customers.
2. Out-of-Context Keywords
With this tactic, 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 strategy 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 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 due to unhelpful Amazon keywords 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 might 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 in SEO
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.
6. Using AI Tools like ChatGPT
With the advent of AI copywriting tools, a new way to keyword stuff is having a bot do it for you. Many of these AI tools grab the keywords from your competitor listings and saturate your title, bullets, and product description with them until they are almost as unreadable as a wet, smudged piece of paper.
Tip for Amazon Sellers: AI copywriting tools can be a great way to brainstorm, but don’t rely on them as the end all be all when it comes to your Amazon SEO. They do not factor in emotions or the human experience and often leave you only with a smidge of copy swimming in irrelevant keywords.
How to Avoid Keyword Stuffing and Boost Sales
If all of this talk of keyword stuffing in SEO is making you want to go on a keyword-free diet, don’t worry. As long as your keywords are relevant and you use them responsibly, they can be a great asset in helping you generate traffic and grow your business.
First of all, perform thorough keyword research as well as extensive product research. Know your audience and what they are looking for, and consider how they would be searching for a product like yours. This goes for both Google and Amazon searches.
For websites, a good rule of thumb 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 by simply adding in a few more keywords at a time.
SEOmark suggests choosing five keywords to incorporate into your text. Because 40% of searches are four words or more, choose long-tailed keywords over single-word or root-word keywords. Then, select your main keyword and ensure it’s in your webpage’s title, headline, title tags, meta descriptions, and alt text 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-stuffing crimes mentioned in the previous section, you should have nothing to worry about when formulating your Amazon SEO strategy.
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 on 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 and learn how to avoid keyword stuffing in SEO are:
- Creating valuable content that gets people to spend more time on your site
- Utilizing the content available to you such as A+, brand story, and premium A+
- Grabbing shoppers’ attention with incredible images and infographics
- Making your pages accessible with alt text and image keywords
- 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 1500 businesses that have grown their brands with the Marketing by Emma team. Contact us to get your conversion rates soaring!