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 0.3% 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.
(Nkr * Nwp / Tkn) * 100
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 761 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.
What’s the Ideal 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. I’ve learned that good content will trump SEO every time. Focus on creating good content instead of keyword density percentages. Answer questions and address the needs of your user base. Make sure your site is useful to even the people that aren’t looking to spend money with you. Focus on building a quality site and it will rank naturally. Integrate your message discretely and you will see your conversion rates improve. If you try to force your users into anything, they will go elsewhere every time. You can read more on the Fundamentals of Online Marketing here.
Don’t Focus on Keyword Density
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. Here’s 5 SEO copywriting tips that will help you focus on content instead of keyword density percentages.