“You are keyword stuffing.”
Those were the words of my editor to me. Wait, what?
I thought keyword stuffing was for only people who had given themselves to the dark arts of Black Hat SEO.
I am not here to talk about how you are keyword stuffing. Any article could point that out. I want us to explore the underlying issues. What exactly makes a good writer go bad and stuff keywords in their articles?
1. You had no idea there was such a thing as keyword stuffing
You could be as ignorant as I was. I did not know anything about the ratio of keywords to the density of words. I was blissfully ignorant. So maybe you are strategically slipping those keywords in when you do not know that less is more.
2. You are afraid of not ranking high enough
On the other hand, it could be fear. Your Fiverr profile promises that you will deliver SEO articles that will push the competition down to the bottom and your client’s page up. So you are in a bind. You made a promise. You have to deliver. So you start to put those words everywhere. And if you are unfortunate, your client might provide you with a list of nonsensical keywords and expect to see them everywhere in the article. Instead, you could explain how the use of keywords works to a client and avoid writing an article that reads like a forced smile, and you feel like a fraud.
3. You think the article is about you
Keyword stuffing is selfish. You are thinking only about ranking and algorithms and money when the first reason anyone offers content is to help people. Write with a person in mind, think of their needs, and the absolute disgust they have for Youtube videos that do not give any useful information till 40 minutes in. People really just want to understand what they are looking for. Respect their time. Maybe there are some people out there that like to see the same word repeated over and over again. If that is your target market, thumbs up, you are on track.
4. You are not paying attention
I discovered that I veer off the path and into the thicket of mistakes when I stop focusing on the audience. It’s easy to get lost in the routine, mindless typing of “stuff”. You think of the client’s scowling remarks or of the money you are going to get. You think of the other things you could be doing instead of writing that article.
But real writing requires total immersion. Just like an artist focused clearly on pouring all he sees in his mind’s eye on canvas, you have to focus on speaking to one person.
When you are writing for a brand, you are not trying to sell a product. You are trying to communicate with people (not just potential leads) and establish a connection with (not just sell to) them. So you think of it as a conversation. In a conversation, you do not get carried away and start saying one particular phrase every 5 seconds because you want a bot to notice it.
I bet that a lot of content writers worry about SEO when they write. SEO gets tiring. The rules. The algorithms. It can rob your article of its humanity leaving it barely able to communicate. You have to push past a lot to write a very good piece of content. Start at the root. Face those fears and find ways to talk to the reader, instead of writing mindless lines. Realize that the pressure is bullshit. Throw it off your back and do your job.