While Google has a clear definition of what keyword stuffing is on its spam policies page, Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, explained that it is not about the number of times a word is repeated on a page. Rather, it is about how the words on the page read, he explained.
Danny Sullivan wrote on X, “As to the repetition, yes, I see that phrase used a lot. Keyword stuffing is actual spam and tends to be repeating a term in non-sensical patterns over and over. Not always, but people also shouldn’t be paranoid that if they use a term number times then they’ve tipped over into keyword stuffing.” “It doesn’t really work that way,” he said.
How does it work? Sullivan wrote, “Instead, it just tends to be not helpful writing. “Welcome to our article about THIS THING. Many peopl wonder if THIS THING is the best of THIS THING. We’re here to explain why THIS THING is indeed the best of THIS THINGS you could get.”
“That’s just not how people typically write and explain things. That’s repetition more likely because something thinks “I need to say this in full often so that Google really gets it.” No, we don’t need things that often. We have pretty good ways to analyze language and understand meaning and concepts. The best way to align with that is just write like you would for people,” Sullivan explained.
The definition from the spam policies page reads, “Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of filling a web page with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate rankings in Google Search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, unnaturally, or out of context. Examples of keyword stuffing include:”
- Lists of phone numbers without substantial added value
- Blocks of text that list cities and regions that a web page is trying to rank for
- Repeating the same words or phrases so often that it sounds unnatural. For example: “Unlimited app store credit. There are so many sites that claim to offer app store credit for $0 but they’re all fake and always mess up with users looking for unlimited app store credits. You can get limitless credits for app store right here on this website. Visit our unlimited app store credit page and get it today!”
Again, this is all about how people like to consume your content.
Here is that tweet, click to read the full message:
You don’t get penalized for making helpful updates to a page. Anyone can update their pages any time if they are doing that because the update is designed to help people. If you’re removing stuff you did because you though “this was primarily to help my Google rankings,” that’s…
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) October 31, 2023
Forum discussion at X.