Heavy-duty keyword stuffing is a distinct don’t for current SEO best practices. Google and other search engines penalize sites that overuse keywords as low-value vehicles for links instead of rich, relevant content. Keyword stemming, on the other hand, is very much in style.
Keyword stemming refers to layering related keywords and phrases throughout your content the way they’d naturally occur. You probably wouldn’t use the same phrase ten times in a few minutes of conversation even if you were discussing something very specific, but you might use versions of that phrase, incorporating it as different parts of speech or using synonyms for it. Your primary keyword is the stem, and variations of it branch out organically to create a keyword-rich yet relevant and compelling article.
Context Is Everything
Search engines rely on dozens of embedded and contextual cues to determine a site’s relevance to your query. On-page, embedded cues include search terms in the meta title and meta description, links to and from the page, and the site’s URL. These baked-in keywords are indexed as-is by Google, but contextual cues are more nuanced. They allow search engines to weigh words that are related to, but not identical to, the anchor text and meta data on the page as relevant.
For example, if your site offers content writing services, then “content writing” is your primary keyword. Stemmed keywords might include “content writers,” “writing content” and “content written.” Including these variations on a theme hits search engines’ sweet spots; they don’t look spammy or keyword-stuffed, and they’re easier on human visitors’ eyes. It’s tough to twist a 500-word blog post to fit the same long-tail keyword a dozen times to approach a 2.5 percent keyword density, but it’s easy to include it and its close relatives naturally in an article.