We know that optimizing for keywords will help our blog posts, Facebook updates, Tweets, and site content show up in relevant searches. This presents a big opportunity, and it’s naturally tempting to try to fit as many keywords into your content online as possible. Why not really hammer in the point to make sure that Google gets it, right?
While this logic is sound in its reasoning, it doesn’t actually work out that while. You do need some keywords in your content to improve its rank in searches, but if you go too far in the other direction and rely on keyword stuffing, you could actually face negative consequences that could hurt the impact of your campaigns.
Not sure where the line is? In this post, we’re going to answer the question of “how many keywords are too many,” taking a close look at the ideal ratios for keyword density and how this affects your content.
How Is It Possible to Have Too Many Keywords?
It sounds almost counterintuitive, but it is actually possible to have too many keywords.
And if you think on it, I guarantee you can come up with a few examples. We’ve all read content where we see different iterations of the same phrase repeated entirely too many times, often in ways that feel clunky or out of place. Ultimately, this will make the post less enjoyable to read, and it can actually even strip the content of its value.
Think of it like you’re making a salad, which is your content, and your croutons are the keywords. Your salad is full of all sorts of healthy ingredients– spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, and more. A few croutons will help enhance the flavor, but if you add too many, it ruins the nutritional value of the salad and the meal goes from refreshing and light to tasting like stale bread.
Using too many keywords is often referred to as “keyword stuffing,” which is the practice of just jamming as many keywords as possible as many times over into a single post.
The Consequences of Keyword Stuffing
It can be tempted to use as many keywords as possible as many times as possible in hopes of showing Google that your article or infographic or ebook is perfect for those search results and should definitely be ranked first.
In reality, the opposite effect is likely to happen.
As we discussed above, users are likely to spot keyword stuffing and be frustrated by it, even if they don’t consciously know exactly what you’re doing. The content will likely be difficult and clunky to read, and in many cases, it comes off reading like a weird sales pitch but you’re not really sure what you’re supposed to be buying.
All in all, not a good strategy. It doesn’t matter if users can find the content, after all, if it annoys them so much they won’t come back to read any more.
Here’s the thing though: if you go about keyword stuffing aggressively, they likely won’t find the content. It’s actually considered a “black-hat” strategy, and Google has learned to recognize it.
Now, Google doesn’t want to see overly-optimized sites that focus more on SEO tricks than creating the types of content users want to see. This can actually result in your ranking decreasing as a result of using too many keywords instead of seeing a boost.