When trying to optimize your website for search engines, it can be tempting to take shortcuts. You may want to try tactics that will speed up the process and help you start ranking higher faster. But shortcuts and black hat tactics like keyword stuffing won’t help you; they may actually hurt you.

1. Assign a primary keyword to each page

To start SEO for a webpage, first choose one target keyword. The primary phrase should be relevant to the topic and closely tied to the content. The term should also be a popular, low-competition keyword to improve your chances of ranking on search pages for the term.

Once you use a target keyword on one webpage, don’t assign it as a primary term for other pages on your site. Each page on your site that you want to rank in search should be assigned its own unique, target keyword. This keeps your pages of content from competing against one another, and sends a clear message to search engines about what each piece of content is about.

Pro Tip: Use Alexa’s Keyword Difficulty Tool to perform keyword research before assigning a target keyword to a page. Enter a phrase related to your topic and use the report to choose a keyword. To find the best keywords, look for terms with a high popularity score (which indicates that users are searching for the term) and a competition score you can compete with (the number is close to your site’s competitive power score).

keyword stuffing

2. Write more than 300 words

To encourage search engines to rank a page for a target keyword, write 300 or more words of main body copy on the page. Search engines aim to provide users with the most relevant and helpful information available, and for many search terms they are more likely to rank your content if it is thorough and in-depth.

3. Use the appropriate primary keyword density in the copy

As you write, use your target keyword throughout the content. Don’t overuse it, and only place the term where it feels natural and relevant. Keep your keyword density below 2% to stay within the guidelines for best SEO practices.