Keyword Density: What Is It?

keyword density optimization

What Is Keyword Density in SEO? 

Keyword density is a foundational concept in on-page SEO and content marketing. It helps to make webpages more attractive to search engine crawlers. In turn, it boosts the visibility of the page in search engine results pages (SERPs). 

Ignoring keyword density can trash an entire SEO marketing strategy. This is because it can keep a page from ranking higher or even result in a penalty from the search engines, throwing away hours of effort. 

In this post, we want to explain what keyword density is as well as how to use it effectively. When you can use keyword density correctly, you can reap the benefits of optimized content and avoid the pitfalls. While there are plenty of SEO tools available to help you through this, it is important to understand why.

Keyword Density: What Is It? 

A keyword or phrase is one of the search terms people use when they submit a search query to Google. Keyword density is an aspect of keyword research and keyword optimization. It refers to the number of times your target keyword appears on a single page. The density is a percentage that represents the frequency of its use relative to the number of words on the page. 

Keyword density is just one of the signals that search engines look for when they determine the relevancy of content when people search for something. 

Keyword density is a crucial element of keyword optimization that refers to the number of times a target keyword appears on a webpage. 

How to Calculate Keyword Density 

Calculating your keyword density percentage may seem complicated. However, it can be quite simple to calculate. All you have to do is take the number of times the keyword appears and divide it by the total number of words on the page. 

# of times a keyword appears / total word count on a web page

= keyword density 

As a concept, keyword density is not complex. However, it can be a tough concept to implement within a comprehensive SEO strategy. Any digital marketing agency will tell you that this can make or break a project. 

When the density is too low, your page struggles to climb the ranking. When it’s too high, search engines will punish the site, pushing it further down. 

If you’re working with an SEO agency, they need to understand the importance of this aspect of search engine optimization. Likewise, they need to be at the top of their game to be able to help local businesses boost their visibility. 

Is There an Ideal Keyword Density? 

Having an ideal number would simultaneously make our jobs easier and more difficult because everyone would know exactly what to do. Unfortunately, there’s no set structure for how many times keywords should appear on a page. 

If search engines published notes on exact keyword density, it would make their jobs harder as digital marketing firms scramble to edit every client’s page. So, it’s on SEO experts to let best practices guide their SEO plans. 

Many SEO experts put the ideal keyword density at about 1-2%. This means that per 100 words, the keyword appears once or twice. This rate provides search engine crawlers with keyword frequency that shows them what the page is about without “keyword stuffing.”

What Is Keyword Stuffing? 

Keyword stuffing is a black hat SEO tactic that you should avoid as you craft your content. It refers to repetitively using the same keyword over and over to increase the rank of the page. In the early days of SEO, it was a popular tactic with sleazier digital marketing agencies. Fortunately, it is no longer widely used…on purpose. 

However, there are plenty of people who accidentally commit the offense of keyword stuffing. Oftentimes, individuals don’t realize that they’re engaging in a black hat SEO tactic. When a page has an extremely high keyword density, it looks far too similar to keyword stuffing (because it is). This goes against Google’s quality guidelines, and search engines will penalize pages or remove them from SERPs entirely. 

An excessive density also creates a poor experience for your readers. In SEO, clarity and readability are very important because they impact a page’s bounce rate. This means that visitors take a look at your website and bounce on out before they engage with your content.

Strategies for Implementing Keyword Density 

Since there’s no established rule for keyword density, you should try to stick with best practices for on-page optimization rather than pursue the ideal percentage. Here are a few strategies that will help you implement an appropriate density. 

Utilize Semantic Keywords 

A semantic keyword is essentially a synonym. These keyword variations are alternative phrasings that people use when they search for something. Focus on the meaning of the words as well as the context. 

For instance, when project management is the target phrase, you can also use project manager or managing projects. They don’t mean exactly the same thing, but they do provide another signal for search engines. 

Semantic SEO helps search engines understand and rank webpages. Therefore, it’s important for you to utilize them to enhance your on-page SEO. 

Keyword Stemming Adds Variety 

Keyword stemming is a search engine’s ability to recognize similar word forms related to a target keyword. Stemming typically adds a suffix, prefix, or pluralization to the target keyword. For instance, project manager could become project managers or project managing. Since search engines are able to recognize them and connect them to the target, you can use them to support your target keyword while adding some variety to your text. 

What If I Have More Questions? 

Questions are always okay and always welcome. At Chaos Theory, we believe in SEO as a great equalizer. Search engine optimization can help anyone reach their target audience. In turn, they are able to connect with their community and build a network of support. 

If you have questions about SEO or digital marketing, reach out to our team any time. We are happy to chat about SEO marketing strategies with businesses across the country. 

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