Keyword Stuffing: What it is and Why You Shouldn't do it

BY Rachel Cagle
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You may think that your client’s Google My Business listings are the perfect place for keyword stuffing. After all, they exist to be found by search engines. And the more keywords you have, the better your client’s results will be, right? Well… not exactly.

What is Keyword Stuffing?

Keyword stuffing is defined by Colan Nielsen, writing for Search Engine Land, as, “’when someone adds words to their business name on GMB that aren’t part of that business’s actual legal name.” It makes sense that businesses and marketers are tempted to stuff keywords into their Google My Business listings. Studies have shown that if a business’ name has keywords in it, their search ranking will be positively impacted.

The Consequences of Keyword Stuffing

But positive search results aren’t always the outcome that keyword stuffing has on Google My Business listings. Nielsen says that, if Google catches a business keyword stuffing their listings, there will be consequences. Those consequences range from soft to hard suspensions. Search Engine Land defines each type of suspension as:

  • Soft Suspension: “leaves the listing online, but the account owner can’t manage it in any way: update hours, respond to reviews, create Google Posts and so on.”
  • Hard Suspension: “causes the business listing to be removed entirely from search and Google Maps. This is the most common suspension type.”

Nielsen also points out that when more businesses start keyword stuffing their Google My Business listings, the effect it has on rankings lessens. “Once you get to a point where the entire market is adding descriptors to their name, the ranking power that the keywords provided will diminish. So now you are left with a branding mess and no ranking benefit. We are already seeing this happen in several markets.” So, not only could you get your client’s Google My Business listing suspended, there’s also the potential for them to receive no benefits at all for the risk taken. High risk, low reward is not the path you want to pitch to your clients if you plan to retain their trust and business.

A Possible Alternative

If you truly feel your client’s Google My Business listing needs a little keyword boost in order to succeed, there are alternate methods to keyword stuffing. For example, you could propose that your client rebrand their business. “Law firms are legitimately re-​branding in order to get keywords into their GMB name so they can experience the ranking benefit without the negative impact of Google removing the keywords or suspending their listing,” says Nielsen. As long as your client’s business name in Google My Business matches their logo, Google will not take action against them.

Do You Even Need to Take Action?

However, keyword stuffing and rebranding may not even be necessary for your client’s company. Run a Digital Audit on them, available on AdMall by SalesFuel, to see how their online presence is currently faring. Based on the results, you can discuss the best way to move forward.