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 0.4% and my SEO plugin for WordPress is telling me it’s too low. The keyword is found 3 times. If you are not familiar with the Yoast SEO plugin , check it out. It’s a great tool. To rank this article on Page 1 nationally, I did nothing more than write the article and make the Yoast dots turn green. There was nothing “Black Hat” done in order to get to #2 of page 1.
(Nkr * Nwp / Tkn) * 100
The formula for keyword density is: (3*3/739)*100 or 0.4 percent
In this post, there are 739 words. The focus keyword contains 3 words and it’s found 3 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.
What is the Ideal SEO Keyword Density for Google SEO?
There is really no such thing as “ideal keyword density.” On different occasions, webmasters have contacted me and asked what I felt the ideal keyword density is for their particular site or webpage. This question can only be answered on a site by site basis, however more times than not, keywords usually only have to be used a few times per page. When I optimize a website, I usually place the page’s focus keyword in the title tag once, in the page content 3-5 times (depending on the subject), and 1 time in the meta description. If you have good, solid content this is usually enough. Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s WebSpam Team, has said that good content will trump SEO every time, so the smart thing to do would be to focus on your copy and on creating good content instead of keyword density percentages.
Here’s Matt Cutts of Google Explaining Keyword Density & How it Pertains to Google SEO
It’s always best to create good content with descriptive titles and tags and throw your page’s keywords in wisely and well placed. “Grey/Black Hat” SEO techniques like “keyword stuffing” worked years ago but are now obsolete after Google released their latest algorithm updates like Penguin and Hummingbird.