How many keywords are enough while crafting SEO-optimized content? How many is excessive? How did you find out? What if Google and other search engines think that your website is “packed” with keywords?
The concept of keyword density is fundamental to search engine optimization (SEO). It’s critical to understand how keyword density works because it has a direct impact on the visibility of your site content in search engine results pages (SERPs) as well as the prices of your online marketing efforts.
However, most search engine ranking algorithms, including Google’s, have adjusted the relative weight given to keyword density over time. For this reason, it’s crucial to comprehend how this idea will affect your SEO in the post-Panda era.
Definition of Keyword Density
The number of times a keyword appears on a specific webpage or within a piece of content as a ratio or percentage of the total word count is referred to as keyword density. This can also be described as the frequency with which a particular keyword appears on a webpage, or keyword frequency.
How much keyword density is ideal?
Although there are no strict guidelines for keyword density aside from the suggestion to “don’t keyword stuff,” many SEOs advise employing about 1-2 keywords for every 100 words of material. This contributes to a keyword density of 1% to 2%.
Although your content may perform similarly with little more or slightly less keyword density, it is generally accepted that Google and other search engines function best at roughly 0.5%.
Additionally, keep in mind the importance of keyword variations, which are words and expressions that are related to your main term but not exactly the same. Let’s imagine that your website offers products for outdoor lighting. While “outdoor lighting” is your most valuable keyword for SERPs, stuffing as many instances of it into as many pages as you can hurt rather than help overall SEO.
Instead, take into account keyword variations—terms that are similar to your primary phrase but not an exact duplicate. Variants of “outside lighting” like “garden lighting,” “patio lighting,” “deck lighting,” or “landscape lighting” can raise your page’s ranking without breaking the rules against keyword stuffing.
Unsure of which variations are best for your website? For your main term, use the “searches related to” box at the bottom of Google’s SERP. This is why: As a result of Google’s extensive effort to comprehend intent, the “searches linked to” section will provide phrases closely related to your primary keyword.
The Formula for Keyword Density
How do you determine keyword density? The formula is easy to remember: Divide the total number of words on your page by the number of times a term appears on the page.
Here’s a simple example: Your page is 1,000 words long, and your term appears 10 times. This results in: 10 / 1000 =.001
Multiply this by 100 to get the percentage, which is 1% in this case.
Another metric for evaluating keyword usage is TF-IDF, which stands for “term frequency-inverse document frequency.” The goal here is to compare the frequency of a term on specific pages (TF) to the number of times the same word appears on numerous pages on your site (IDF).
The outcome aids in determining how pertinent your keyword is for particular pages.
Although TF is simple, it’s simple to become lost in IDF. Understanding the rarity of your keyword across several papers is the objective here. The IDF scales from 0 to 1; the closer a term is to 0, the more frequently it occurs on your website. The closer to 1, the more often it only appears on that page.
Lower values indicate more keyword use, which is how the calculation is “inverse” in nature.
Use this formula to your advantage. When used on words that are used frequently, like “the” or “but,” the TD-IDF score will be close to zero.
If the value is applied to a particular term, it should be considerably closer to 1; otherwise, you may want to reevaluate your keyword strategy.
When it comes to keyword density, there are no set “rules,” as there are for almost all other areas of SEO. There are no concrete numbers or statistics that you can rely on to determine how densely keywords should or should not appear on your site, and you won’t discover any instructions from Google telling you exactly how many keywords a piece of content should have.
What Exactly Is Keyword Stuffing?
Around ten years ago, when SEO was still in its early stages, a strategy known as “keyword stuffing” became highly popular. Keyword stuffing is the technique of pushing as many terms as possible onto a webpage, typically in an unnatural and forced manner for the reader.
This was typically performed by placing lengthy footers at the bottom of webpages that contained dozens – if not hundreds – of modest keyword variants of popular search queries. This technique was frequently seen on hotel websites, which frequently featured footers comprised of hyperlinked keywords: “cheap hotels Barcelona,” “cheap hotels Cairo,” and “cheap hotels Dresden,” for example, each of which would take visitors to another webpage featuring a similarly crowded, keyword-filled footer.
Keyword abundance Google humidor for cigars
Example of keyword stuffing from Google
Although it may be uncommon in today’s world, this method gave dishonest search engine optimization specialists a simple approach to rank on the first page of Google results for just about any term you can think of. These pages would typically rank extremely well because, at the time, Google’s algorithms were not yet smart enough to recognize them for what they were: cheap “hacks” to engineer the SERPs.
Today, not so. Although the exact “ranking signals” that Google utilizes in its search algorithms remain a closely-guarded secret, we do know that the search engine penalizes websites that use overt keyword stuffing in sparse material.
As a result, you should refrain from stuffing your web pages with of keywords because doing so will probably have the exact opposite effect of what you want.
To uncover keywords that can increase traffic to your website, use our free keyword tool.
What number of keywords do I include in my content?
As we previously stated, there are no absolute requirements for keyword density. To further complicate matters, keyword density can and should vary based on the type of material being referenced; for instance, a timely, syndicated news piece may require a lot fewer terms to rank higher than an older evergreen blog post.
One keyword should be used for every 200 words of material, according to many SEO experts. In other words, a webpage should only include one keyword if it contains a single, 200-word paragraph. Although the SEO industry considers one keyword for every 200 words of material to be a fair guideline, you may be able to “safely” add more keywords than this (i.e. without incurring Google penalties).
What About Keyword Substitutes?
Keyword targeting is still the foundation of many modern SEO tactics, and another SEO best practice you should consider is employing keyword variants.
The density of keywords Example of used car-related searches
Keyword variants are minor variations on a particular keyword. When looking for a dealer, a user searching for used vehicles for sale may use search phrases other than “used cars for sale.” They may search for “used autos for sale” or another similarly comparable search term, such as one of the terms shown in the image above.
These searches share the same keyword intent—the customer wants to find and probably buy a secondhand car—but the actual keywords used may vary greatly. To maximize possible visibility for heavily commercial searches, it is crucial to target keyword variants because doing so anticipates the various ways a potential lead may encounter your company via a Google search.
However, the idea of keyword variants is also very intricate, which if handled incorrectly can result in errors and missed opportunities. Our earlier “cheap hotels” keywords are excellent illustrations of keyword variants that can present difficulties for beginners to SEO.
These kinds of keyword variations—”cheap hotels Boston,” “cheap hotels Cincinnati,” and so forth—aren’t necessarily “bad” keywords by themselves. They may still be applicable and helpful, just as they would be for travelers looking for lodging in significant cities throughout the world. However, as we already established, when they are jammed onto a webpage, they can be damaging. This means that if you decide to use keyword variations in your content, you must use prudence and excellent judgment.
In order to maximize visibility and appeal to as wide-ranging (and appropriate) an audience as possible, you can and should utilize keyword variants on individual sites and throughout your entire site. However, you should still strive for just one keyword or keyword variant for every 200 words of material.
Definition of Keyword Clustering
Relevance is important when it comes to Google’s search algorithms.
Google’s algorithms are thought to “search for” clusters of semantically related keywords inside web content in order to gather contextual information about what that material is and what it does, thus it’s crucial to avoid overloading your web pages with keywords.
This serves as the foundation for the idea of “keyword clustering.”
When Google’s spiders, which are computer programs that “crawl” and index a website’s pages, come across keywords on a page, these algorithms frequently contextualize those words in light of the surrounding material. This indicates that some keywords are “expected” to be present in connection to other keywords by Google. As a result, grouping related terms into “clusters” might be a very efficient strategy to raise visibility.
For instance, if we searched Google for the tallest structures in the United States, the following results would appear:
Example of keyword clustering using keyword density
As we can see, the findings are presented to us in the form of a carousel, with each image showing the height in feet of the corresponding building. Wikipedia’s entry for the list of the tallest buildings in the United States is the top organic search result, as it frequently is, because of Wikipedia’s incredibly high link profile.
Say you oversee content marketing for a company that specializes in architecture. You make a listicle on America’s highest skyscrapers because you want a blog post about the country’s tallest structures to rank well.
Google “expects” this keyword to be included in the information about America’s highest buildings because it “knows” that One World Trade Center in New York City is the tallest structure in the country.
Google may search for these contextually relevant terms in this material since they are frequently clustered together and because this type of article is normally arranged as a list that also frequently includes several of the other buildings visible in the above image. This kind of clustering of different but closely related keywords might be a great method to increase the relevancy and consequently visibility of your content.
While you may calculate keyword density by calculating total word and keyword counts across all pages on your website, this can quickly become time- and resource-intensive as your website grows and page volumes increase.
Keyword density tools aid in this approach. Possible alternatives include:
This free browser-based tool does a keyword density check by simply inputting your site URL or page text, then completing the “I’m not a robot” captcha. While it does not provide the in-depth analyses that the other tools on the list give, it is an excellent method to gain an overview of current keyword density.
Why it’s important
You may quickly identify which keywords you need to reduce using SEO Review Tool’s keyword density analyzer, which features a color alert for words with an abnormally high level of appearance. It also allows you to remove specific phrases and provides a breakdown of the keywords by word count.
- Keyword Density Analyzer for SEOBook
The SEOBook Keyword Density Analyzer is free, however, it does require an account to use, similar to the tool mentioned above. This tool allows you to perform a Google search for your desired phrase, retrieve data for five of the top-ranked pages that contain that term, and then evaluate those pages to see how your keyword performs. It also provides basic keyword density metrics.
Why it’s important
You can add Metadata and avoid “stop words,” which frequently appear in texts (such as “does,” “a,” “the,” and so on), using the SEOBook keyword density analyzer. You can also specify a word count minimum. This enables you to limit the words you include to those that adhere to a particular character limit.
- Use the Copywritely Keyword Density Checker.
The keyword density checker on Copywritely displays your top keywords in order of density and color-coded words that are used frequently. This tool is a little less flexible than the others because it doesn’t let you choose whether to include Meta descriptions or exclude stop words. But it’s a terrific tool for beginners.
Why it’s important
If you need a quick, at-a-glance keyword density check, Copywritely is an excellent choice due to its simplicity and user-friendliness. After that, you can create an account with Copywritely to check for and fix mistakes.
- The On-Page SEO Checker from Semrush
The robust on-page SEO checker from Semrush has a keyword density checker that it refers to as “keyword phrase usage.” The program also provides automated SEO checks and reports, evaluations of titles and metadata, backlink prospecting tools, and in-depth site crawls, scans, and reports in addition to keyword density analysis. It also enables you to assess how your keyword density compares to that of your rivals. It does have a hefty price tag; the first month starts at $119.95.
Why it’s important
Semrush is a robust SEO tool that can assist you with all facets of on-page SEO, including competition analysis, and is more than just a keyword density checker. You may discover how frequently competitors use particular keywords. By abiding by the industry standard, you can then achieve performance levels that are comparable to theirs.
One of the most misunderstood ideas in keyword optimization is keyword density.
You’ll be able to maintain a natural balance for keyword placement and avoid keyword stuffing if you can appreciate the significance of keyword density for a web page to rank on SERP.