SEO sometimes seems like rocket-science because it encompasses so many things.
Why can’t we just blog instead of worrying about search engine visibility?
Sadly, search engines are an algo and you have to help them understand your content and your site. You need to work on search engine optimization for better visibility in order to get more traffic.
But there’s some good news:
- SEO is not tough.
With just a few hours and some good study material, you can easily understand the basics.
(I suggest you to browse our SEO and WordPress SEO archive where you can get more information about SEO.)
Today, we will be looking into one very important factor of SEO:
What is keyword density in SEO?
Keyword density is the percentage of the number of times a keyword appears on a page divided by the total number of words in that page.
So if in an article of 100 words you are using your keyword 10 times, your density will be 10%. Many people use different formulas to calculate keyword density (like this one).
But in essence:
- (Number of keywords/ Total number of words) * 100
There are other formulas too, which you can find here.
The reason why you need to place keywords on a page is to make search engine bots understand your content better so you can rank for those keywords.
But in recent days, density of keywords matters much less than site quality and site authority.
But this doesn’t meant keyword density doesn’t hold any value in SEO. It does. In fact, it’s one of the factors in the on-page SEO checklist.
What’s the ideal keyword density percentage (according to Google)?
Here’s a myth:
- If we use our keyword many times, we will rank higher in SERPs.
This can actually be bad as Google may treat your page (and your site) as “keyword spamming” and will lead to an over optimization penalty.
Here’s an example of keyword stuffing:
There is no ideal or exact percentage for better ranking.
Personally, 1-3% of keyword density along with “semantic keywords” and LSI keywords works best for me.
Google suggests to write natural articles. Again, there is no ideal percentage, but placing your keyword in natural places will work the best.
Check out this video where Matt Cutts busts the density of SEO keywords myth:
In short, you need to keep a good keyword density percentage which looks natural and not stuffed.
This is one of the most common problems I have seen in freelance copywriters. One time I hired an author to write an article around a three-word keyword. He managed to add that three-word keyword 12 times. That article looked like a big piece of spam.
There are many online keyword density calculators available which you can use to calculate keyword density. Try to keep your density around 1.5%.
So where should you place your keyword?
- In the permalink
- H1 tag
- H2 tag
- Meta title tag
- Start of the article
- End of the article
- Add relevant images and use your target keyword as anchor text
Again: Avoid stuffing your article with keywords just to increase keyword density.
Instead, try to make your content more useful by adding value.
You can use videos and slides and other media tools to make your content more informative and presentable.
- Keyword density is useful, but stuffing should be avoided.
- Articles should look natural.
- Bold and italicize your keyword and other important “semantic keywords”.
- Use keyword variations (Ex: Search engine optimization, SEO, search engine ranking).
- Use LSI keywords.
- Use a WordPress SEO plugin to check keyword density (or an online tool).
In the end, search engines care most about these other factors for ranking:
- How useful is your article?
- How informative is it?
- How many social signals are your articles getting?
- How many backlinks are you getting?
There are hundreds of signals which Google considers when ranking a site. Keyword density is certainly one of those signals. Doing it properly will help, but doing it wrong will not be good.
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