Google is once again commenting on the use of keywords variations. During last week’s AMA with John Mueller, the question came up about keyword cannibalization, and particularly about making multiple pages to target each of these variations for visibility.
It is obvious in the search results that Google is taking into account stemming and similar keywords simply based on the keywords it is highlighting in the search results. Google highlights the keywords it is matching right on their search results page, even for non-exact keywords.
You can also see this in action by looking at your keywords report in Google Search Console and matching those keywords to the actual content on the landing pages.
That said, it is often fairly easy to weave additional keyword variations into content. The problem is that it also needs to be written naturally, and not come off as odd. One easy way to check if your content is too keywordy is to simply read it out loud. If you start stumbling over the use of keywords, where it starts to sound unnatural, it probably is and you should change the text.
It is worth noting that Google is also using their Search Quality Raters to check for keyword spam within content as well.
Pages may be created to lure search engines and users by repeating keywords over and over again, sometimes in unnatural and unhelpful ways. Such pages are created using words likely to be contained in queries issued by users. Keyword stuffing can range from mildly annoying to users, to complete gibberish.
Pages created with the intent of luring search engines and users, rather than providing meaningful MC to help users, should be rated Lowest.
Nevertheless, we still see sites with tiny keywords in the footer – or worse, as hidden text – of all the possible keywords and keyword variations they want their site and/or page to rank for. This can sometimes trip a spam manual action, and Google often discounts this kind of footer text anyways.
As for content, if you can create strong pages that stand out on their own for variations of keywords, that is fine. But the importance is that needs to be high quality but without potentially cannibalizing pages that target similar keywords. In these cases, Google could dilute the power of those pages meaning the one you want to rank doesn’t rank, or a competitor swoops in instead.
Here is the full quote:
We don’t need to see all variations of all keywords, no need to stuff everything into all of the pages :). Write for your audience, how they would search, and how they digest content. There’s no word-count necessary, no keyword density needed.
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