Don’t Stuff Your Website Like a Stocking

In my opinion, on site optimization should be the first phase in any SEO campaign. What is the point of building great inbound links if your site isn’t ready to convert visitors? A sloppy navigation structure, weak content and limited call-to-actions aren’t going to help your online business grow, not matter how good your offsite link building is. With Christmas, I thought I’d bring up the flipside of failing to optimize your website—over optimization. And the easiest way to over optimize your website is to stuff it full of keywords, as if you were stuffing a Christmas stocking.

It makes sense in theory; if the search spiders look for specific keywords to determine what a website page is about and how well it should rank in the SERP, shouldn’t a page that targets the same keyword more frequently do better? But what looks good on paper doesn’t always work in practice. Yes, it’s important to target specific keywords and their variations on each page of your website, but overdoing it will actually negatively impact your SEO. While I can’t tell you that using the same keyword 5 times on a page is just enough while 6 times is too many (there is no magic number when it comes to optimizing content), it’s pretty obvious when someone has stuffed their website with keywords.

Let me give you an example using Christmas stocking as the keyword:

Looking for new Christmas stockings for your family? Order your custom Christmas stocking from the original Christmas stocking manufacturer, Christmas Stockings Inc. Our Christmas stockings come in a variety of traditional and modern Christmas stocking patterns and colors. Order your Christmas stockings from Christmas Stockings Inc. today for guaranteed Christmas stocking delivery by Christmas.

Looking for new Christmas stockings for your family this holiday season? Custom stocking makers Christmas Stockings Inc. have a wide variety of traditional and modern patterns that your family is sure to love. Order your new Christmas stockings today and receive guaranteed delivery by Christmas! Give Santa something to stuff this holiday season with a custom stocking from Christmas Stockings Inc.

Which paragraph reads more naturally to you? The first paragraph uses the keyword 9 times while the second paragraph only uses it 4 times, plus 2 “stocking” if you want to count that as a keyword variation. Personally, I would much rather read more of a website that had the second paragraph as part of their page content. It is targeting “Christmas stocking” but not at the expense of the reader, which is one of the most important rules of onsite SEO—never write content for the search engines, always write for a human visitor.