Within search engine optimisation, keyword density is incredibly important. However, it isn’t as simple as having a specific percentage of keyword appearances within text which will help ensure that content performs well. There is no perfect percentage of keyword propensity which is known to have a direct benefit to ranks as a result, but there is a rough estimate people should abide to.

Although there isn’t a specific percentage of keywords which should be contained within the text to rank well, it is important that you don’t go overboard. Search engines in 2020 are now much more intelligent and are not as easy to fool. There is a chance that your content may be regarded as spam if Google perceives the keyword density to be too high.

It is very important to make your content appear as genuine as possible. Content which doesn’t appear natural may be flagged up by Google. Pages can be penalised by Google for having too high a quantity of a specific keyword within the text.

Keyword Density Tips

Keyword density refers to the number of times a keyword appears within content. Google will reward a page which has a specific percentage of keyword density, with higher rankings for that specific keyword so long as it is combined with quality content.

This essentially means that if one page has a keyword density of 1%, and another of 0.5%, the page with a 1% density is more likely to rank better than the other content. The best way to organically increase your keyword density is through increasing the quantity of the overall content which is being produced. If a keyword is stated 50 times in a 2000-word piece it will appear much more natural than a keyword appearing 20 times in a 500-word piece.

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How Is Keyword Density Calculated

Keyword density is calculated by identifying the number of times a specific keyword is used throughout a document. This is then analysed against the number of words which are contained in the overall text. It’s therefore very important that you know the rough percentage of keyword density which Google is looking for in order to achieve higher rankings.

The formula used to determine your keyword density percentage is:

  • (Number of keywords used / number of total words) x 100

So, what is the ideal keyword density you should aim for when you are creating content? What’s the perfect percentage which you should be looking to achieve? On the internet, there is large amounts of disagreement regarding what the ideal percentage of keyword density is.

Percentage To Aim For

It is essential that you have your content looking as natural as possible, while also including your targeted keyword appropriately throughout the text. There are various different formula’s for calculating keyword density but the one we have shown above is the easiest to understand and implement. We recommend that you have a keyword density of around 2% when you are publishing content. However, if you are targeting a three or four word phrase having this appear throughout 2% of the content will result in your content looking extremely spammy. This will be discussed in more detail later.

Mysterious Ways Of Google

Google works in mysterious ways. Everyone is aware that Google has countless different algorithm factors which influence rankings. It is very likely that keyword density is one of these elements which can be influential.

When Google first started up, keyword density was essentially seen as a way to cheat the system. By keyword stuffing, your content was almost guaranteed to rank well. Over time though, Google has become much more intelligent and now penalises poor practices such as keyword stuffing. This is undoubtedly a good thing for people who create quality content, and by getting your keyword density percentage correct by implementing the techniques listed above you are giving yourself the best chance of ranking high.

Regardless of how important you think keyword density is, the fact that it is something which is considered by Google’s algorithm shows that it should be acknowledged in order to provide your content with the best chance of ranking well.

Quality Of Content

You must acknowledge the importance of keyword density, without jeopardising the quality of the content which you produce. Use the following techniques:

  • Having substantial content is very important. There is undoubtedly a direct link between longer content ranking better than shorter content which has targeted the same keywords and used the same percentage of density throughout the page.
  • Efficiently implementing the keywords into the tags on the page. Using the keyword within the H1, H2’s and image alt tags is essential to get the most out of the created content.
  • Compare your keyword density to other content which has been produced targeting that keyword before deciding on the percentage of keyword density which you are going to aim for. After comparing against the top three organic listings, if that content has a higher keyword density you should think about adjusting. Although if their percentage is above three percent you will likely outrank them without making changes.
  • Spread out the keywords evenly throughout the content. Having the keywords bunched too closely together can look spammy and cause the reader to become disinterested. It also indicates to Google that it is not only a paragraph within the content which is relevant to the keyword but the entire page is relevant.
  • Make the content as natural as possible. Don’t try and create your content by basing the content around the targeted keyword. Make the content as engaging as possible and naturally work the keywords into the text. Include several verb tenses of the keyword to make the content look as genuine as possible.

Creating high quality content is essential in order to provide yourself with the best chance of ranking well. Fortunately, tips like those above being implemented can help you to achieve this. You can find more tips and tricks for creating excellent SEO content throughout 2020, here.

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Don’t Keyword Stuff

Keyword stuffing is the idea of putting a keyword within content repeatedly in an attempt to encourage search engines to think the content is somehow more relevant to that keyword because it appears numerous times. The art of keyword stuffing tends to adapt the pages content to suit the searches which people will be searching. This is an attempt to increase the amount of traffic visiting the site.

Many people incorrectly perceive increased visitors to be highly regarded by Google’s algorithm. The reality of this is not the case. Google places far more importance on a lengthy visit to pages by numerous users, as this indicates that the user has found what they were searching for. If users are visiting your page, realising the content has made use of keyword stuffing and the content has a low quality they are unlikely to spend much time on the page which will have a negative impact on the page’s rankings.

Google regards keyword stuffing as the method of “filling a webpage with keywords over and over to try and manipulate rankings within Google’s search results”. (Google’s 2020 Webmaster Guidelines)

If you are chasing long term sufficient SEO results it is essential that you don’t utilise this practice. Although short term, keyword stuffing may provide results these will only be temporary. Google will work out that the page has low quality content and is not being engaged with by users. This will result in the rank of the page being penalised and dropping substantially. It may take Google some time to work out that the page has been keyword stuffed, but it will eventually.

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User Experience Is Key

In order to boost the rankings of your content, it’s very important that you try to make the user experience as good as possible so that people will spend more time on your site. The best way for you to keep users on your page is by producing unique content with fresh information on it. It’s crucial that the content you produce is as high quality as possible, because Google’s algorithms rank content which is being well engaged with by users higher than content which is not.

People who are tasked with providing content for company’s websites should make an effort to fully understand the importance of them providing content which is relevant to the user. Producing content which helps readers to learn something is critical in order to hold onto their interest.

WordPress Plugin

Keyword density is very important regarding the SEO performance of the content you produce. Fortunately, Google provides a plug in to help ensure that you get your keyword density just right. If your website is on WordPress you can install a plugin called Yoast SEO which guides you on how the keyword density is performing throughout your content. If you aren’t on WordPress, this might be a reason why your content isn’t ranking well. Google loves WordPress, and you should make sure your companies’ website is on it, but that’s another discussion for another day.

The Yoast SEO plugin will analyse your content before telling you the number of times the keyword phrase has been used throughout the text. The plugin will then provide either a red, amber or green indicator next to this number. Red indicates that the number of times your keyword phrase appears is too few or too often, amber suggests that you are nearly there but need a couple more appearances and green shows that you’ve got your keyword density spot on!

This is an excellent plugin because it accounts for the volume of the content in its analysis of its keyword density performance. For example, if content is 10,000 words long the plugin will work out how many times the keyword targeted should be appearing in content that length for its SEO performance to be optimised. The plugin also takes into account the length of the focus keywords being targeted. If it is a long-winded phrase with three or four words then the keyword density checker will not expect to see this appear as often throughout the content as it would for a phrase which is only one or two words long.

If you want to gain a deeper understanding of what the Yoast SEO’s keyword density check involves and how you should be using targeted keywords throughout text you can learn more here.

Where Should Your Keywords Be Appearing?

Some keywords are more difficult than others to fit within sentences without sounding spammy and affecting the overall quality of the page. Fortunately, the number of times your keyword appears throughout content is not based solely upon the blocks of text, but also headings as well. Keywords can be used as a h2 tag which will go towards the keyword density percentage. However, it is unlikely you would be able to use your targeted keywords within a tag more than once without it being obvious you were keyword stuffing which could result in Google penalising the page.

Although unrelated to keyword density, there are numerous other places where it is essential that your keyword appears in order for your content’s SEO performance to be as good as it possibly can. Your keywords should appear:

  • In the URL
  • Within the meta description
  • As the alt tag of several images throughout the page (Not too many, don’t go overboard!)
  • H1 tag
  • H2 tag

Conclusion

Keyword density is undoubtedly still a significant factor within Google’s algorithms regarding how content is ranked. WordPress has even developed its own plugin to help ensure that their users get their keyword percentage correct to give themselves the best chance of ranking well. As time has progressed Google has become stricter on practices such as keyword stuffing and will penalise websites who make use of the practice. This shows that Google’s algorithm is checking for the percentage of keyword density within content. If your keyword density is not appropriate it is likely you will see your rankings plummet substantially. On the other hand, quality content which is informative to the reader as well as having an appropriate keyword density percentage is more likely to rank well.