Not many years ago, there was this term called “keyword density” and every blogger and webmaster used to stuff their pages with too many keywords. The more keywords they had on their pages, the better rankings they used to get.
Once Google had realized the fact that “keyword stuffing” is hurting user experience than help, they started updating their algorithms to give the content rich sites better results.
Most SEO beginners have a lot of problems when it comes to increasing their website traffic from search engines. Indeed increasing organic traffic is a big problem even for most bloggers who have been playing the SEO game for a long time.
SEO is not an easy task and it requires a lot of skills (like on-page, off-page SEO, building links etc) to dominate search results. The most important factor of search engine optimization is “keyword usage”.
Most people who are new to SEO make two dumbest mistakes: either they don’t really care about keywords or they focus on keyword stuffing. Both are wrong in terms of getting more traffic from Google to your websites. You need to perform proper keyword research for every post you write to get more visibility from search engines, and you need to use an optimal keyword density to make sure you’re ranking well in SERP results.
Therefore keyword density plays a vital role when it comes to increasing your search result rankings for your potential keywords. Most bloggers lack search engine traffic because they don’t know much about keyword usage and the optimal keyword density usage.
In this detailed guide, I’ll explain you how to get the most out of your keywords usage. Let’s get into the details.
Table of Contents
What is keyword density?
The simple definition of keyword density is this: how often you use a particular keyword on a page to rank higher in search results. The total number of words of the page also matters because if you use your primary keyword only twice in a 1000+ words post, it won’t affect much in SERP results.
You need to have a good keyword density to get high visibility in search engine results for your desired keywords.
So what’s the optimal keyword density?
Here’s how to count the keyword density of a page. In four easy steps, I’ll explain you how to calculate the keyword density.
- Find out the number of words you used on your page
- Find out how many times a primary keyword is used on the page
- Divide the number of keywords used by the total number of word count
- Multiply it by 100 to know the keyword density
Here’s the simple image that shows the keyword density formula:
For a better understanding, let’s take a small example.
If you have 1000 words on a page and used your primary or target keyword 5 times then here’s how to calculate your keyword density.
5/1000 = 0.005
Now, let’s multiply it by 100
0.005 * 100 = 0.5
So, your keyword density is 0.5!!
Now, let me say.. according to many people, 0.5 keyword density is really really low. You can’t rank higher in search results for your keywords with such a low keyword density, right?
If you are using 2 or 3 word phrases as your target keywords, then the keyword density doesn’t really matter. Long tail keywords always have a great edge of getting more traffic from search engines because they have a combination of several keywords. So by this logic, having 0.5 keyword density for 2 to 3 word keywords is the BEST bet.
Why say no to keyword stuffing?
Few years ago, Google algorithms used to give search engine rankings according to the keyword density. That means the more keywords your pages have the better visibility it used to get. This automatically lead people to stuff their pages with the same keywords thus resulted in poor quality of contents.
So Google again updated its algorithms, came up with many updates like Google Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird etc to penalize all the sites with poor quality contents. Now, Google is more focused on giving better search results to those sites that have high quality content with the usage of optimal keyword density on their pages.
Now comes the question – what’s the good keyword density?
Some people say you need to use 2% keyword density and some others say you need to use 1 to 3%. There’s actually no proper keyword density given by Google.
My suggestion is to use your primary keyword at least once for every 200-300 words you write. If you always publish an article around 1000+ words, make sure to aim at using your primary keywords 4 to 5 times. Also make sure to use relevant words to your primary keywords instead of using the same.
The prominence of LSI keywords
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are the new trend! Ask any SEO expert, he will say that in order to increase your website traffic from search engines, you must have to use LSI keywords.
LSI keywords are nothing but the relevant keywords. Google is now giving more importance to LSI keywords as you will be using relevant meaningful keywords on your web pages instead of keyword stuffing your posts.
For instance, let’s say you are targeting a keyword called “SEO for beginners” instead of stuffing your articles with the same keyword, you can use relevant meaningful keywords like “search engine optimization tips”, “search engine optimization tips for beginners”, “beginner SEO tips” etc.
This way, you will clearly tell search engine crawlers about the relevancy of your web pages for the phrase “SEO tips”. So you can rank better for the keyword without actually stuffing your pages with the same keywords again and again.
Keyword density: does it really matter?
Now, let’s come to the most important question: does keyword density really matter? If yes, why most SEO professionals are saying not to care about keyword density.
See, if you are a beginner and want to increase search engine traffic to your websites, you definitely have to focus on two things.
One: Finding and using profitable keywords that drive you more website traffic
Two: Building backlinks
If you miss any one among the above, it will really hurt your search engine rankings. As I’ve been keep stressing the importance of “keyword density” in this post, every SEO beginner should give equal importance for finding right keywords and using the optimal keyword usage on their web pages if they want to increase search traffic.
While choosing the keywords for your articles or web pages, make sure to focus more on using long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are not only golden but they give you more organic traffic as they include two or more keyword phrases. Google always rewards the sites that often use long tail keywords as their SEO strategy.
So if you have a website be it professional or personal, if you start using long tail keywords, your website definitely tends to rank higher for various keyword phrases when compared to the sites that use short tail keywords.
If you’re confused about long tail and short tail keywords, here’s a quick and simple example.
“Keyword” is a short tail keyword
“Keyword density tips” is a long tail keyword (it has 3 words in it)
So it actually doesn’t matter until you use long tail keywords in your SEO strategy. You just need to worry about the quality of the page and dominate Google search results by using your long tail keywords a couple of times. But if you are writing short articles, then try to keep your keyword density between 1 to 2% (no more than that!) and you will be safe.
This way you will be able to get more traffic from search engine without actually keyword stuffing.
Also make sure to optimize your images with proper alt tags that include your potential keywords. As most of the time, if your images are compelling, you can pull a lot of search engine visitors to your websites just from Google images search results. Don’t forget to give credits if you don’t own the images you use on your sites.
Keyword density analysis tools
You can also use few keyword density analysis tools if you want to track your keyword density. Although it’s not recommend to use these analysis tools for day to day use, but if you are a SEO beginner and want to have a clear idea about the keyword count you are using on your posts, then they will help you.
Here are few keyword density analysis tools.
- Free keyword density analyzer tool by SEO book
- Small SEO Tools keyword density checker
- Keyword Analyzer tool
- WordPress SEO by Yoast (a must have plugin for on-page SEO as well as for checking keyword density)
Note: Aim at using 1 to 2% keyword density on your web pages if you want to get more search engine traffic without actually hurting your readership. After all, reader experience is more important than keyword density. What’s the point of driving traffic from search engine if they don’t engage with your posts or products? So focus on giving top priority to your readers first, then use optimal keyword density to increase your search traffic for various keywords.
Keyword usage on meta description and titles
You can’t simply skip this part. If you are not using your target keywords in your meta description and titles of your web pages, you simply can’t rank in search results. So make sure you’re using your target keywords in meta description every single time you write a post.
I strongly recommend you to use plugins like WordPress SEO by Yoast or Easy WP SEO for making it easy for on-page SEO optimization. This plugin enables you to easily optimize your web pages for various keywords and it also gives the keyword density count so you don’t have fret much.
Note: Make sure your meta description is under 140 to 150 characters as in SERP results, it only shows up to 150 characters.
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Final thoughts about the keyword density
While publishing contents on your blogs or websites, make sure to include your primary keyword in the title, meta description and content. Also don’t forget to use LSI keywords (relevant meaning to your primary keyword) throughout your page to get higher search engine rankings.
Always put your reader first. Google gives rewards to the sites that always focus on users rather than the search engines itself. So produce contents that provide value to your audience and also use the optimal keyword density to get more search visibility for your desired keywords.
Unfortunately there’s no proper optimal keyword density that I can suggest you. You need to use keywords according to the quality and audience you want to attract. There are so many factors like link popularity, reputation of your links, LSI keyword usage etc play a crucial role in increasing the search visibility of your web pages. So it’s not only about the keyword density, it is also about many other factors that could determine the success of your SEO journey.
Just make sure to use the right mix of keywords in your web pages and you will be fine. If you do keyword stuffing, you’ll simply get penalized by Google search algorithm updates like Penguin and Panda. Here’s a detailed guide you can read if you want to build quality links in Google Panda and Penguin era.
So what do you think about keyword density? Do you count the number of target keywords you use on your web pages or you just use your primary keywords naturally? What do you think is the optimal keyword density to get more search engine visibility?
I personally recommend you to aim at using keyword density at 1% to 2% if your articles are short (say 500 to 600 words). If your posts are really big (around 1000 to 1500 words) and if you’re using long tail keywords, then using your keywords a couple of time would be suffice. So use your keywords with cautious as using more keywords can hurt your search rankings.
P.S: I’ve spent quality time in researching and crafting this post, if you like this post, please share it with others or link to this post so that everyone can benefit!