Answer Man #15: Keyword Stuffing

Answer Man #15: Keyword Stuffing


There are several shady SEO practices that sadly are still being used and shouldn’t be. Collectively these techniques are often referred to as Black Hat techniques vs. ethical and Google approved techniques which are commonly called …. Wait for it….White hat techniques.

What is Keyword Stuffing?

This refers to overusing your keywords in the misguided hope that it will prove to Google how relevant your site is for those keywords. Repeating the same words or phrases so often that it sounds unnatural, for example:

We sell custom cigar humidors. Our custom cigar humidors are handmade. If you’re thinking of buying a custom cigar humidor, please contact our custom cigar humidor specialists at [email protected].


Looking for a vintage guitar? Bob’s Vintage Guitar emporium is the place to find almost any vintage guitar that a vintage guitar enthusiast might want to add to her vintage guitar collection. After all, vintage guitars is what we do here at Bob’s Vintage Guitar emporium – we sell, service and customize vintage guitars.

Does this sound natural to you? Of course not … and it won’t sound natural to anyone visiting your website either. Here is a piece of advice directly from Google:

Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.

How do I Use Keywords Appropriately and in Context?

There’s no hard and fast rule but think about this: Write copy with the same tone and style that you would use in normal conversation. The paragraph above about vintage guitars contained a total of 53 words. In that space of words, the keyword phrase was used 8 times for a total of 15% saturation. That’s keyword stuffing – and will most certainly earn you a google penalty. Once that happens, good luck recovering.

My advice? You shouldn’t use your keywords more than 3 times within a block of 500 words. Rather than trying to stuff your keywords unnaturally, use related words that make sense, are relevant to the topic and that result in a more readable flow. The result will be a much better user experience. Remember, Google only loves you when everyone else loves your first.

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Answer Man #14: Duplicate Content

Answer Man #14: Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is content that appears on the Internet in more than one place – for all practical purposes meaning on more than one website. So, what’s the big deal and why does it matter? It confuses search engines. You don’t want to confuse search engines.

Why Does it Confuse Search Engines?

  1. They don’t know which version(s) to include/exclude from their indices
  2. They don’t know which version(s) to rank for query results

And for site owners

  • When duplicate content is present, site owners can suffer from low rankings and loss of traffic. This happens because search engines won’t show multiple versions of the same content, so they are forced to choose which version is most likely to be the best result. This dilutes the visibility of each of the duplicates.

The result is that a piece of content doesn’t achieve the search visibility it otherwise would.

How does duplicate content happen?

Several different ways. For example, the website at and are technically considered to be two different websites. Another example is http and https. Fortunately, Google gives us the tools to let them know that they should treat the two different versions as one. But I don’t want to get into all the technical aspects of duplicate content here.
What I do want to do is talk to you – website owners and creators of content – about two specific types of duplicate content that you can control and should avoid.

Beware when using a content writing service – particularly a service you’ve hired to write blog posts for you. Here’s a quick story to illustrate why you need to be careful. I worked with a client who had hired a copy writing service to write weekly blog posts. He thought by satisfying Google’s insatiable appetite for fresh content he was doing the right thing.  But noticed that his search rankings weren’t improving. I did some research by extracting bits of content from his posts and entering them into Google’s search field enclosed in quotation marks to ensure that Google would look for exact matches. Here’s what I found: There were multiple websites displaying the exact same blog posts – even down to the publication dates.

If you’re writing copy for your own website don’t simply copy and paste whole sections of content from another website. This practice commits two violations – a) it creates duplicate content and b) it’s plagiarism. NOT GOOD.

Here’s the thing. You can reference other people’s blogs, or you can use small snippets of someone else’s copy to make a point if you credit the original author and link to the original source. This is good etiquette.

The Takeaway

  • You can use other people’s content for ideas or inspiration but never simply cut and paste someone else’s work and try to pass it off as your own
  • It’s fine to quote from someone else’s work. Just make sure you properly credit the author and link back to the original source
  • If you’ve hired someone to write copy for you – and that’s perfectly fine – make sure
    a) they are not grabbing the content from somewhere else
    b) they are not providing the same content to other clients

One last word. Quality. Google is looking for quality and so should you be. Yes, it takes a little more work but it’s worth the effort.

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