Should You Stuff Your Web Pages With Keywords?

In a recent issue of my e-zine, I quoted an article from Catalog Success that advised repeating keywords on your site as often as possible, and in multiple places, so search engine ?spiders? can find them.

Pretty standard advice. But as soon as he read my issue, copywriter Nick Usborne e-mailed me to let me know what he thought of the suggestion.

?This is the worst possible advice you can give to anyone about optimizing their site for the search engines,? says Nick.

?It’s an element of what is referred to as ?keyword stuffing? and is either ignored by the search engine algorithms or, in bad cases, your page and site will be penalized. Worse still, it results in pages that read very strangely to human visitors.?

What about you? Do you try to get your keywords into your Web copy frequently, as Catalog Success advises? Or, like Nick, do you use keywords sparingly?

And more important, have you measured results to see which approach works best?


67 thoughts on “Should You Stuff Your Web Pages With Keywords?

  • I think stuffing keywords on a web page is taking the focus off where it needs to be to be successful in any business. That focus should be trained squarely on the customer. Stuffing keywords is a gimmick that is focused on tricking the search engines. In the long run it simply can’t work. It isn’t aimed at the proper target.

    All business eventually has to evolve to one, laser-like point…Creating Customers.

  • Yes, search engines are important. BUT it is far more important to have a good website that SELLS EFFECTIVELY. We should focus on writing good copy that effectively communicates the offer. I expect that keywords appear an appropriate amount in good selling copy 🙂 Versus some articifial stuffing exercise which a) doesn’t fool the search engines and b) likely damages your overall comms effort.

    Remember: people do land on your website from other sources — WOM, advertising, direct mail. Etc. Not just from search engines. It is silly to *try* to optimize for one source, if in doing so, you end up wth a sub-optimal website for *all* the others.

  • I often furrowed my brow at suggestions of altering copy to optimize search engine results. It wasn’t so much that I new my way was better but rather that I couldn’t imagine altering otherwise great copy to satisfy a search engine. It was more an indignant furrow.

    I simply ignored the suggestion. I guess deep down inside I told myself what Susan wrote. Thanks for asking though Bob – now I won’t furrow my brow any longer.

  • When writing websites, it’s more important to put keywords in meta tags and descriptions that are only used by spiders, and not seen by the average person reading your page. At least that’s my understanding…and also giving your pages titles in html that truly reflect the page’s contents and thus the searchability helps. While it is true that words are picked up on your home page for the search engine description (unless the text block is made into an image), it’s usually the first 20 or so, so make sure that text is what you want people to see when they pick you up on Google, however you can go all out in putting appropriate search keywords in your description tags without stuffing your actual copy with them.

  • Never stuff a webpage with keywords. It’s awful advice. You make sure they’re in your title, your meta data and then place them carefully in the beginning, middle and end of your spiel. And in the h1, h2 tags if necessary.

    Anymore than that and a) you risk being penalised by Google – although you can find many a site getting away with it. b) It simply reads awfully.

    But, don’t take my word for it. Go to for expert advice.

  • If you want to attract search engine spiders and repel your human visitors then by all means, stuff away! Good web writing is a balance between satisfying the spiders and the humans. But it’s the HUMANS who buy your products and services.

  • It’s not about ‘stuffing’ copy with keywords – it’s about making sure the keywords are in there.
    Some years back, I ran an online training company. Our course outlines were quite clearly course outlines to a human reader – but not to a spider. We realised we didn’t once use the phrase ‘HTML training course’ for example. So we added it in a few times – and yeah, it looked a bit clunky. But just a couple of mentions (for example, “In this HTML training course, you will learn…”) we increased our search engine traffic and we increased our conversions.

    So, my advice is not to stuff but to ‘strategically place’!

  • I think humbly that the key word for sucess is to stuff the page not with the same keyword but with a set of words semantically very near each one to the other. It’s about creating a good content not only for the human reader but also for the automated one: the search engine. You can fool the search engine by playing its own game.

  • And yet many times I have seen pages that repeat keywords, not just saying them alone but in combinations — e.g., baby items, baby stroller, baby shower, baby gifts, baby crib, baby clothes — come up first, and usually they are affiliate-type link pages.

  • Placing keywords within your site is certainly an important part of getting search engines to notice you. However, my current favorite way to appeal to search engines is to ping entries that I make to my blogs. Search engines appear to love to run to see what’s been added to a blog. If you create a link to a specific page, the search engine will take note of that pages as well.


  • Stuffing on the web is no different than stuffing at thanksgiving. At first, it’s sooooo good, and then you’re stuffed. Just don’t overdo it.
    In reality, if your content and headings are well focused, then you’re going to have most of the keywords that you need anyway. Beyond that you will experience diminishing marginal gravy on your stuffing.
    (Tagged comment to editor here, view code)

    Brandlessness by Jason Kerr

  • Stuff, no; sprinkle, yes. I use Ken Evoy’s web site builder, which shows you how to sprinkle your keywords, so you can focus on persuasive writing. The proof is in the pudding: By using his program, my site is #1 in Yahoo and MSN and #2 in Google for my primary keyword phrase.

  • There is a lot of old search engine optimization tips floating around. Unfortunately, many of them only work for older search engines, not Google. 26 Steps to 15k a Day is a good intro to more current techniques — and the answer is to use your keywords some, but not too much. Incoming links are much more important.

  • The latest research I’ve seen sez that keyword phrases (KWPs) in the title coding, main headline, and first paragraph are most important, as are variations of that main KWP. Just a few repetitions on a page are sufficient.

  • I think sometimes people get the wrong impression of what it means to include keywords in web documents. I’ve worked in SEO for years and I spend a lot more time making web sites search engine friendly than worrying about things like keyword density.

    That said, I have had an amazing number of clients wish to rank for certain phrases, yet they did not want to use those phrases on the web site.

    Keywords in title tags, paragraph titles and link text are basic practices that should not interfere with a good copywriter’s work at creating compelling copy. Just remember to mix it up.

    Don’t forget that keywords on your web pages are not the only answer for better rankings. Fresh content and links from other web sites using variations of your desired keywords is also very important.

  • I agree with you the way you view the issue. I remember Jack London once said everything positive has a negative side; everything negative has positive side. It is also interesting to see different viewpoints & learn useful things in the discussion.

  • Pingback: pharmacy
  • My main concern is that you can’t guarantee every page of your website will be included in the SERPs. Considering I’m constantly adding new products to my company’s website, I need to be sure that customers can find them as soon as possible.

  • Excellent beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your website, how could i subscribe
    for a blog website? The account helped me a acceptable deal.

    I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast
    provided bright clear concept

  • You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic
    to be actually something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

  • It is the best time to make a few plans for the future and it is time to be happy.
    I’ve learn this submit and if I could I want to recommend you some attention-grabbing issues or suggestions. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I desire to learn even more things approximately it!

  • Hello I am so glad I found your blog page, I really found you by mistake, while I
    was researching on Yahoo for something else, Anyways I am here now and would
    just like to say many thanks for a incredible post and a
    all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to
    browse it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please
    do keep up the fantastic work.

  • I am really impressed along with your writing skills and also with the structure to your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway stay up the nice quality writing, it is rare to look a nice weblog like this one nowadays..

  • I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the layout of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.

    But maybe you could a little more in the way
    of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for
    only having 1 or 2 pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

  • Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this website before but after going through some of the articles I realized it’s new
    to me. Anyways, I’m certainly pleased I discovered it and I’ll be
    book-marking it and checking back regularly!

  • Simply wish to say your article is as surprising. The clearness
    for your submit is just great and i can think
    you are an expert in this subject. Fine together with your permission let me to snatch your RSS feed to keep updated with impending post.
    Thank you 1,000,000 and please keep up the gratifying work.

  • First of all I would like to say great blog!
    I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing. I have had a difficult time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Kudos!

  • I’d like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this site.

    I really hope to view the same high-grade blog posts from you in the
    future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to
    get my own, personal blog now 😉

  • Wow that was strange. I just wrote an very
    long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.
    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just
    wanted to say great blog!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *