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Say no to keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing doesn’t read well, and it doesn’t even work. Here’s how to spot keyword stuffing — and how to approach blog
by Dahlia Snaiderman • August 3, 2022
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Say no to keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing doesn’t work — Google’s algorithm is way past just hunting for keywords. Learn how to write SEO-friendly blog posts that your readers (and the algorithm) will love.

Have you ever Googled something and opened a few tabs to try and get an answer, only to find thin, useless articles that feel like a robot wrote them? You’ve likely been a victim of a keyword stuffer. 

What is keyword stuffing?

Keyword stuffing is a shortcut commonly found when a content marketer decides to cut corners. In an attempt to cheat the Google algorithm and get hastily-written articles ranking high in search, writers overuse keywords, putting them in every other sentence (or more). They also use the keywords exactly as they’re reported in their SEO tool, instead of adjusting them for grammar and flow (as if people don’t talk and write differently than how they type into a search bar!). Keyword stuffing yields poor content that doesn’t read well and doesn’t contain helpful information — it’s effectively longform clickbait. 

Keyword-stuffed articles are faster and cheaper to write, because the writer is not concerned with providing real value to the reader — only ranking in search. It’s a shortcut that used to work, back when the Google algorithm was a lot more basic, which is part of why blogs used to have a pretty poor reputation in terms of quality of writing and information. 

How Google ranks articles today

Google’s algorithm has gotten so much smarter since the heyday of keyword stuffing — it simply doesn’t work anymore. Here’s some of what does help articles rank high up in the search results page today:

  1. Readability. Does the article flow like a real person wrote it, not a keyword robot?
  2. Usefulness of information and time spent on page. Determined by how long people stay on the page, and how much of it they read, Google can understand if a user is getting a lot out of the information presented. If they go onto the page, find a glut of keywords, and immediately exit, the article will now rank lower.
  3. Formatting. If an article has a table of contents, and if the HTML headings used throughout the article are logical and nested properly, Google understands that the piece was thoughtfully put together and would be useful to a reader. You can also format articles to go after the featured snippet and FAQ modules on the search results page.
  4. Domain Authority. If an article is from a website with a reputation for quality articles, it will have an easier time rising through the ranks onto the first page.
  5. Addressing related topics (and related keywords). Creating robust articles that cover many angles of a topic can help an article rank for many different keywords, helping boost it up the list.
  6. Submitting your page for indexing. Asking Google to crawl your new page can be done in Google Search Console, which can make it quicker for your post to rise through the ranks.

Comparing keyword stuffing with a helpful blog post

Here’s an example of what keyword stuffing looks like, followed by an example of the same post but written in a helpful, effective way. This example will be two versions of a post about building an online portfolio.  

Here’s a breakdown of the keywords the writer would try to use:

Primary:
– Online portfolio
Secondary: 
– How to make online portfolio
– Free portfolio website
– Online portfolio maker
– Free online portfolio
Related: 
– Best free portfolio websites
– Online art portfolio
– Create portfolio website
– Create portfolio online free​​
– Create an online writing portfolio
Questions:
– How to make online portfolio for graphic design
– How to make online portfolio for free

Here’s how the article could look if the writer used the keyword stuffing method:

Online Portfolio 101: Best Free Portfolio Websites and How to Make Online Portfolio

Do you need to create an online portfolio? Looking for a free portfolio website? Wondering which are the best free portfolio websites? You’re in the right place. 

Portfolios are important in many creative fields. Knowing how to make online portfolio for graphic design is a big part of marketing your services as a designer. An artist will need an online art portfolio. And a writer will need to create an online writing portfolio. 

A free online portfolio is a good place to start.

Best Free Portfolio Websites

If you want to create portfolio online free, try the following free portfolio websites:

  1. Behance.com
  2. Dribble.com
  3. Portfoliobox.com
  4. Wix.com
  5. WordPress.com

How to Make Online Portfolio

Are you trying to figure out how to make online portfolio for free? If you need to know how to make online portfolio for graphic design, or how to create online writing portfolio, we can help.

  1. Choose a free online portfolio maker
  2. Choose a free online portfolio template
  3. Fill your online portfolio with your best work
  4. Update your online portfolio often

[article continues, with keywords sprinkled into every other sentence]

Here’s how you can do it right. Same keywords, same goals, but written for humans and written to actually be of service.

How to Make an Online Portfolio

Creatives know that it’s important to keep track of what they’ve been working on. When doing dozens (or hundreds) of projects a year for a variety of clients, it’s so easy to lose track and forget about some of their best work. 

Think back to the past year and try to remember every project you worked on — it’s impossible. 

Especially for freelancers, it’s helpful to collect all your favorite projects in an online portfolio, because it makes it much easier to market your services. You never know when you’ll make a new connection or need to look for more work, so having a current portfolio is important.

Here’s how to approach making a virtual portfolio to help grow your network and bring you new opportunities.

How to Make an Online Portfolio for Free

  1. Start with a free portfolio website 

An online portfolio maker, like Behance, Dribbble, or Wix, provides a basic framework for anyone to build their portfolio. They have templates to work off of, or you can build your online portfolio from scratch.

  1. Choose the right format and populate it with your best work

Different kinds of portfolios make sense for different industries. An investigative journalist’s portfolio will look very different to an art portfolio. Once you’ve chosen the right format — look at portfolio examples and templates for inspiration — populate it with your best work. Know that this could be a lengthy process, between finding the files or links, choosing feature photos, and categorizing it as you see fit, so spread it out over a few days if needed.

  1. Update your online portfolio regularly 

Building a portfolio is one thing, and it takes a lot of work. But the best portfolios are kept current. Decide on a cadence for updating your portfolio and stick to it, no matter how busy you are. Skills evolve slowly, and sometimes it takes looking back to work from years ago to see how far you’ve come. But that means that if your online portfolio hasn’t been updated in three years, you won’t be putting your best virtual foot forward.

Portfolio Tips for Creative Careers

Creating a graphic design portfolio

Graphic design portfolios are often built from scratch, or at least built using a template that’s then customized beyond recognition. Since web design often falls under the umbrella of graphic design, interested parties will be looking at the form of your portfolio, not just the content.

Creating a writing portfolio

When adding digital writing work to your portfolio, download the webpage of the article as a PDF and upload that to your portfolio, because links often move or change and you don’t want to send prospective collaborators to broken links.

Creating an art portfolio

When creating an artist portfolio, consider creating various categories for different mediums, and use different layouts for each type. Photography might benefit from a grid layout, while detailed paintings might merit full-bleed images.

[article continues with helpful information and keywords built in naturally]

Keyword stuffing is out. Helping readers (and getting the #1 spot) is in.

Don’t waste time and money on poor quality articles. Keyword stuffing is a shortcut that doesn’t even get you to the finish line, so invest in high-quality articles written by professional writers and content marketing strategists. It’ll pay off long-term when your site’s Domain Authority starts rising: your traffic numbers and your readers will thank you.