This is a great topic. It is really important to add keywords properly to your site or visitors will not easily find it. Keywords can and should be repeated, but repetition should be used in moderation and very discretely.
How to avoid keyword stuffing
When I look at the source code for a site, I often see the same few words repeated over and over in title tags, page descriptions, keyword tags and throughout the page. This can be a bad thing for your site.
There is a tipping point at which Google starts to see over-use of one or more key words as a kind of spam called “keyword stuffing”. At this point, your site will not receive as high a ranking in their results. See a, b, and c below. Which site uses keyword stuffing? Not sure? Read on!
Each keyword should only be used once in the title tag. However, variations of it can be used in the description. An example would be “dentist Vancouver” as part of the title and “Vancouver dentist offers a full range of dental services” as a phrase in the description.
The title tag allows 65 characters to be used, so there are plenty of opportunities to use other phrases besides “dentist Vancouver”, such as a description of services offered. What counts as a variation of a word? Google sees “dentists” plural as a different word than “dentist” singular. You can use quite a range of endings, like dentist, dentists, dental and dentistry, and they will all be seen as different words. The same holds true for words with variations ending in “ed”, “es”, “ion” or “ing”.
I would recommend using as many variations as possible. You not only avoid Google’s poor impression of your site, but you will pick up more visitors to your site because you can’t count on every single visitor typing “dentist” and no other variation of it.
What about WordPress and other blog-type sites?
I recommend you install a plugin called Headspace. This creates a place below the text for each page where you can type in a title and description. Your Google results will be much superior to using tags alone. In fact I do not recommend tags. WordPress users in particular should avoid using the tag function of WordPress, and should download a free and easy to use SEO plugin instead. (Tags of course may be your only choice if you are hosted on wordpress.org)
How does Google use your title tags and description tags?
Google uses the keywords and descriptions you enter to annotate your site in the results, as shown in the picture above. By writing them yourself, separate from the page content, you draw Google’s attention to a proper description of the page instead of allowing Google to randomly select any text.
You are also providing a targeted message to your visitors. Your words form the first impression of your site and encourage people to link to it.
The following three descriptions were found by typing “dentist Vancouver” into Google. These are the Google results that visitors are seeing when they search for a dentist. I have copied them here as they appeared in the annotations.
Which one do you think was written with Google and visitors in mind? Which one was stuffed with keywords without much thought to how it would look to visitors? And which one do you think Google randomly copied from the original web page?
a) Vancouver dentist provides general dentistry and teeth whitening with the latest technology in a downtown dental clinic. Emergencies and new patients are welcome.
b) Dentist downtown Vancouver, dental services including dentist tooth extraction, dental Implants, dental surgeries by dentist, white fillings, dental root canal
c) Welcome to Vancouver’s Smile City Square Dental. Enriching Lives. One Smile at a Time. Vancouver’s Smile City Square Dental is dedicated to transforming, …