How Keyword Stuffing Negatively Impacted Our Google Search Results

by Brian Rideout • October 14, 2021

Because Google constantly updates the “rules of SEO,” most Phoenix SEO companies place the majority of their focus on implementing the latest and greatest SEO tactics. However, it is important for an SEO company to remember the basic SEO strategies that are the foundation of a solid SEO campaign.

This includes SEO tasks like writing strong content, acquiring high-quality links and targeting the right keywords within your website content. It also includes paying attention to keyword density and not over-optimizing for your focus keyword.
Keyword Stuffing Negatively Impacted Our Google Search Results

Below, we take you through a real-life example of how keyword stuffing negatively impacted one client's Google search results.
 

SEO Case Study

At BANG! Web Site Design, we have learned from experience how important it is to avoid overusing our target keyword phrases. One of our SEO clients recently saw a massive drop in keyword rankings because of a higher than normal keyword density on the page, especially where the keyword phrase was used in headlines.

In the following graph, you can see that the keywords “plastic letters” and “marquee signs” both of which had made significant increases since we started the SEO campaign, saw a large decrease in their Google search rankings since the Google algorithm update in late September / early October.
 
Keyword Stuffing Hurts Google Ranking Results
 

After looking into this massive drop in keyword rankings, we noticed that the content pages for both of these keywords fell victim to keyword stuffing.

For the Marquee Signs content page, the focus keyword “marquee signs” was used 14 times. This is way too many times for a content page that is only 993 words long.

For the Dimensional Plastic Letters content page, the keyword “plastic letters” was used 7 times. Again, this is way too many times for a content page that is less than 1,000 words long.

More importantly, and we feel the largest factor was repetition of they keyword phrase in multiple H2 headings on the page.
 

What Does Google Say About Keyword Density in SEO?

Since we have concerns about our client’s Google search results, we decided to take a look and see what Google has to say about overusing keywords.

Google defines keyword stuffing as “the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s rankings in Google search results.”

One example they give is “repeating the same words or phrases so often that it sounds unnatural.”

While Google declines to give an ideal keyword density percentage, most SEO experts agree that the ideal usage for a focus keyword is less than 2%. This number is down from years ago when 3 or 4% was considered "normal".

However, we have witnessed firsthand how Google will penalize you for overusing the target keyword in your headings. We believe that is something you should keep in mind if you are attempting to write your own website content.
 

Our Solution to the Problem

After identifying keyword stuffing as the problem, we have come up with a system for achieving proper keyword optimization. There are several things that we plan to do for both of these content pages (and every content page we write moving forward).
 
  1. Write compelling content that builds trust with the audience
     
  2. Focus on keyword usage after writing the content
     
  3. Add variations to the focus keyword to avoid overuse
     
  4. Use semantic keywords to support the target keyword
     
  5. Check keyword density before publishing
By following this five-step process, we feel confident that we can avoid making a similar mistake in the future. Not only will this benefit the client mentioned above, but it will benefit the Phoenix SEO clients that we currently service.

We'll update this post in a few weeks after we've modified the pages in question and given Google time to re-index and rank the pages.

Update #1 - 10/17/21 - On our own homepage we were guilty of overusing our primary keyword phrase in multiple headlines on the page. Three days after removing this duplication we saw rankings for several keyword phrases rise from a couple of positions to over 30 positions in Google's search results.
 

Create a Successful Keyword Strategy With Our Phoenix Web Design Company

Are you too busy focusing on your business to worry about keyword density or keyword stuffing? Are you an SEO beginner and need help optimizing your onsite and offsite SEO? If you answered yes to either question, then please reach out to our Phoenix web design company. We will help you create a successful keyword strategy, make sure your content is fully optimized for SEO and handle every other aspect of your SEO campaign. This includes local SEO which is super important for small business owners.

Contact us today at 602-427-5626 or schedule an initial consultation here. We look forward to answering your questions and providing you with more information about our digital marketing services. For more information about our company, please check out our About Us page. You can also review our website design portfolio for an in-depth look into our best website designs.
 
 

About the Author


Brian Rideout, Chief Pixel Pusher of BANG! Web Site Design is an industry veteran (sounds better than old guy right?) who started building websites in 1996 when dial-up, modems, Netscape and 640 x 480 resolution monitors with 256 colors were state of the art. We very quickly adopted ColdFusion as our application server and developed CMS (Content Management Systems) powered sites for our clients so they could update their own websites easily without having to pay a web designer to do so.

We stumbled into SEO by "accident" when we got a client ranked #2 on Yahoo (remember this was the 90's) for an extremely competitive keyword phrase and they sold out of all the product they had. With a little reverse engineering we learned what Yahoo was looking for and applied our new found SEO experience to other clients and then to Google... which was a tougher nut to crack by the way.

Times changed, Google became the dominant search engine, Adobe bought ColdFusion and we switched to Lucee for our application server which is an open source CFML language server, and we continued to build websites for small business's in the Phoenix market. Brian's approach of SEO 1st Design has resulted in many businesses, particularly in the building trades such as contractors and plumbers, as well as law firms, to rank at the top of Google's results which keeps our customers happy, healthy, and profitable (you thought I was going to say wise didn't you?).

We continue to provide website design, website development, hosting, SEO services and digital marketing for Phoenix companies. More information about the company can be found on our About Us page. Click the following link for examples of our award winning website design work.
 

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