What Exactly is Keyword Density?
If you are writing a 600 word article on Google AdWords tips, and you place the 3 word keyword phrase, “Google AdWords tips” in the article 10 times, you would have a keyword density of 0.6% for that article or page meaning that out of 600 words, 0.6% of those words are the focus keyword. The title tag, description tag, and content are all considered when determining the keyword density. You can say the entire page is considered. The focus keyword for this article is “keyword density percentage.” As of January 31, 2014, it is the second result of the organic results on page 1 of Google. The keyword density percentage is 0.2% and my SEO plugin for WordPress is telling me it’s too low. The keyword is found 2 times. If you are not familiar with the Yoast SEO plugin , check it out. It’s a great tool and definitely makes optimizing WordPress easier . To rank this article on Page 1 nationally, I did nothing more than write the article and make the Yoast analyzer dots turn green. There was nothing done off-site and I didn’t submit the URL to Google or Bing. It’s in this website’s sitemap and search engines first crawled it there.
The Formula for Keyword Density
Density = ( Nkr / Tkn ) * 100
‘Keywords’ (kr) that consist of several words artificially inflate the total word count of the dissertation. The purest mathematical representation should adjust the total word count (Tkn) lower by removing the excess key(phrase) word counts from the total:
Density = ( Nkr / ( Tkn -( Nkr * ( Nwp-1 ) ) ) ) * 100. where Nwp = the number of terms in the keyphrase.
This general formula allows that the total word count will be unaffected if the key(phrase) is indeed a single term, so it acts as the original formula.
In this post, there are 810 words. The focus keyword contains 3 words and it’s found 2 times throughout the entire page including the URL. The meta description, content, headings, and alt tags are all included. Here’s the SEO analysis for this post. Notice the keyword density and the fact that I did not use the focus keyword in any subheading.
Overdoing Keywords Is Bad for SEO
Recently a friend of mine’s rank in the Google SERP dropped dramatically (from page 1 to page 13) and he called me and asked my opinion of his SEO. The first thing I did was crawl his site so I could take a look at his site’s SEO as a whole. Besides having several broken links and images with un-optimized titles and alt tags, and just generally poorly written meta tags, I notice he used the word “shuttle” 6 times just in the homepage’s title tag alone. In this case, this would be considered “keyword stuffing,” and wasn’t the only reason that Google removed his website from the search results. But, I’m willing to bet it contributed heavily. There were lots of different problems with this particular site. Either way, his site’s keyword density as a whole was well over what it should have been and he paid the price for it in the Google SERP.
Taking Google’s Advice is a Safe Bet
What’s the Ideal Keyword Density for Google SEO?
There is no such thing as “ideal keyword density.” On many occasions, webmasters have contacted me questioning their SEO and asking what I felt the ideal keyword density is for their particular site or webpage. Every site is different, however more times than not, keywords usually only have to be used a few times per page. It’s more about where your keywords are on the page then the number of times they are found. If you read your post and find yourself repeating the same phrase over and over, you’re in fact hurting your SEO. Focus on creating good content that answers questions and addresses the needs of your target user base instead of keyword density percentages. Put your efforts into making sure your site is useful and original. If you try to force your users into taking anything else, they will go elsewhere every time. And, once you lose them, they’re not coming back. You can read more on the fundamentals of online marketing here.
Don’t Focus on Keyword Density
“Grey/Black Hat” SEO techniques like keyword stuffing with white text on white backgrounds worked years ago but are now obsolete after Google released their latest algorithm updates like Penguin and Hummingbird. Google has evolved into a highly intelligent being and is much smarter than people give credit for when they focus on keyword density. Here’s 5 SEO copywriting tips that will help you get started on writing quality content instead of keyword density percentages.