What is keyword stuffing?

Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of cramming a web page with an unnaturally high number of target keywords in an attempt to influence the search engine rankings of the page. Search engines easily spot keyword stuffing and apply penalties to websites which attempt to manipulate rankings via this method.

Keyword stuffing also leads to a negative user experience as the resultant prose often sounds unnatural. Here is an example:

Keyword stuffing example using repetitive key phrases

The ideal keyword density

Many SEO experts recommend maintaining a target keyword density of around 1-2% for web pages. This means that the target keyword appears once or twice for every 100 words on the page. 


Search engines such as Google recommend writing web content for users, not for search engines. Machine learning algorithms analyse user behaviour (such as pageviews, time on site, bounce rate and pogo-sticking) to rank content for related search queries.

Related terms

Here is a quick overview of related terms:

Term Definition
Spamdexing Spamdexing is the practice of applying unethical techniques (such as keyword stuffing, cloaking or link spamming) in an attempt to manipulate the search engine rankings of a web page. Frequent algorithmic updates are made by search engines to penalize these kinds of techniques.
Meta keywords Meta keywords are an HTML tag embedded on a web page containing a string of target keywords. While search engines used to refer to meta keywords in the past, most now ignore the meta keywords tag entirely.