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My forum shows 50 posts per page, and each post has a <h3>-tag with the topic title in it. The meta title and actual title also use this sentence. More often than not, the thread itself also contains some of the keywords in the title. The keywords in the titles are usually repeated 30+ times, sometimes up to 70 times on a single (full) page.

Now, my question is if this could be considered keyword stuffing? I know Google can recognize forums, but I'm not sure if any special rules apply or not. On a normal site, I would immediately call this keyword stuffing, but most forum templates repeat the title on and on and a good amount of them are ranked very well.

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I think the issue here is not how many times the keyword (key-phrase) appears, but how often it appears in context with everything else. If the page only has 50 words and 30 are the keyword, then yes, that could be cause for alarm, but I will assume that the word is used in context and reads well.

The site is a forum and as such, for the most part, content is out of your control. Google understands this but also index's based upon the content. This means SEO'ing a forum is very difficult naturally and results (Google position) is likely to fluctuate until the thread "dies" which ironically means it becomes more stable and will more likely retain a constant position (again, more factors such as how topical it is will also have an affect).

For example, the SE sites are full of the concern you mention. For example, a question may read "How do I do something with THIS", and normally the answers are similar too "You can use THIS ..." or "I've used THIS in a..." "When using THIS you need..." etc. As you can see, the keyword (THIS) is used often (and the more answers, the time it's used) but this is not considering keyword stuffing as it's all within context... For example, at the time of writing this post, the term "keyword stuffing" occurs 13 times on this page and there are only a total of 3 posts! I don't think it's going to be an issue

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As you mentioned, Google can recognize forums and forum like structures, so there should be no problem.

Plus, as far as you explain, the repeated words seem to be properly positioned/tagged on sentences, titles and may be meta tags on the page, all of that is the correct use of the relevant words.

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