Keyword density in SEO used to be an important foundational concept of search engine optimization.
SEOs and bloggers used to do keyword stuffing for pushing their web rankings higher.
However, with the coming of Google Panda update, Hummingbird algorithm, and RankBrain, much has changed the way search engines work today. It has impacted the importance of keyword density in most of the search engine ranking algorithms.
Now, the overall content and user experience play a critical role in determining the search rankings of your webpage.
The post opens up this very discussion and shares with you ideal keyword density in 2020.
Before taking about Keyword density, have a look at what is a Keyword.
What is a Keyword?
A Keyword is defined as a word or combination of words that bring out the meaning and purpose of your content. Concerning SEO, these are the words and phrases that the user’s key into search engines for finding the most relevant piece of content.
So, if you want to rank for best selling sports shoes, the article’s focused keyword should be “sports shoes.” Similarly, if your restaurant business in California has a website, then the keyword for the home page should be the “best restaurant in California.”
What is Keyword Density?
The Keyword density in SEO is the number of times a searched keyword appears within the content of a webpage as a ratio or percentage of the overall word count.
It is sometimes also known as keyword frequency. So, it is the frequency of a specific keyword on the content of a webpage.
Keyword Density Formula
Here, we enumerate the steps for finding out the keyword density (for a given keyword) for a piece of content:
- Firstly, you need to identify the keyword
- Find out the total number of words on the webpage
- You need to divide the number of times that keyword appears with the total word count of that page
- Multiply the result that you get with 100
For instance, in a blog post of 1000 words, if the keyword appears ten times, then the post has a keyword density of 1%.
What is TF-IDF?
The term TF-IDF stands for “term frequency and inverse document frequency.” It is a more advanced way of measuring keyword density.
This statistic is often used for text-mining or information retrieval and determines the importance of a given term in a document. It helps to quantify the relevance of web page content to a user’s search query. However, many other SEO factors also play their roles as usual.
What is Keyword Stuffing?
Keyword stuffing is a technique that was used when SEO was still an emerging discipline as much as ten years ago. It is the practice of cramming many keywords on a webpage that is often felt as forced or unnatural to the reader.
Usually, lengthy footers were included at the bottom of web pages containing dozens and sometimes hundreds of keyword variants as common search terms. So, the content used to be crowded with the keyword-stuffed footer.
For example, a hotel website would often feature footers consisting of hyperlinked keywords such as “Cheap Hotels Barcelona,” “cheap hotels Madrid,” “cheap hotels Cairo,” and more that would take visitors to another similarly crowded webpage featuring keyword-stuffed footer.
SEO professionals used the technique of keyword-stuffing as a way to rank on the first page of Google search results for virtually any keyword out there.
However, nowadays, this practice of keyword stuffing has become obsolete as Google’s algorithms have become more sophisticated and interpret these keyword-stuffed pages like a “cheap” hack to engineer the SERPs.
So, now, these are not ranked high on Google’s result page. Moreover, Google penalized such pages that use keyword stuffing in thin content. It means that you should avoid cramming keywords into your web pages.
What is the Optimal Keyword Density?
Nowadays, there is nothing such as “optimal” keyword density. The concept of optimal keyword density is a myth as there are no definite rules to keyword density.
Google does not provide guidelines on the number of keywords that should appear on your piece of content.
That said, before Google’s Panda update, a keyword density from 2% to 3% was considered optimal that would make your content optimized and increase its visibility as well as increase the overall experience of your audience.
However, this scenario is drastically changed in 2019. Now, there is no ideal percentage, nor a one size fits all solution. Loading your content with a high volume of keywords is not considered important.
This does not imply that you don’t need to insert the keywords in the right places. Here, we outline the general rule where keywords should appear in your content:
- The title tag – It is best to place the keyword at the beginning of the title
- Body content (It should be higher on the page or article)
- Headings such as H1, H2, and so on
- Meta Description
- Image Alt Tags
Moreover, the seed keyword should appear just once in each of the title as well as in Meta Description, headlines, and so forth. However, the seed keywords could be repeated more than once in the body content.
How many times should keywords be used in the content?
We must straightway clarify that there are no hard and fast rules for keyword density. Moreover, keyword density could change depending upon the nature of the content. For instance, a syndicated news article could require fewer keywords than an evergreen blog post.
However, to make matters easy for your keyword targeting strategy, you can use the following pointers:
- Many SEOs recommend using one keyword per roughly 200 words of content. So, a webpage containing a 200-word paragraph should not contain more than one time.
- You can also use “keyword variants,” which are slight variations on a given keyword. These are closely related search terms.
For example, a user who wants to search for used cars for sale may make use of search terms other than “used cars for sale” when they are trying to find out a dealer. For instance, they might use “secondhand vehicles for sale,” which is a closely related search term. Here, the keyword intent remains the same.
So, you can target keyword variants that allow you to maximize potential visibility in case of strongly commercial queries. You can use keyword variants on single web pages as well as the entirety of your site.
However, you should exercise caution and good judgment when including keyword variants in your content as it can lead to missed opportunities if they are handled incorrectly. You should aim for a single keyword variant per 200 words of content.
These related keywords are also known as LSI keywords or Latent Semantic Index Keywords. The LSI keywords are phrases that are related to the primary focus keyword.
Learn more about LSI Keywords and Best LSI Keywords Generator Tools
Keyword Density vs. LSI
Before Google came out with the Panda update in 2011, keyword density used to be one of the most important criteria for ranking web pages on search results. However, it was badly abused by spammers that wanted to appear at the top of Google search results.
So, Google shifted its ranking criteria towards LSI keywords. It removed keyword density as the main ranking factor for a given website.
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) Keywords are words that are closely related to your main keyword phrase. These words are semantically connected.
For example, the Samsung website accommodates keywords that are closely related to its products like Galaxy S9, S9, Samsung Computers, Samsung LED TV, and so on.
Nowadays, Google values your entire content more than keyword density. So, LSI keywords improve your web ranking. It means that you need to add related words and phrases in the context of your main keyword. It will also improve the content and content flow.
Moreover, you need to ensure that your content provides value to your target consumer. So, besides the seed keyword, you should also use LSI keywords that are words closely related to your main keyword.
You should use every related phrase with your main target keyword. It’s thinking from Google’s point of view which values “valuable” and “unique” content. So, use LSI keywords in your copy that will help to skyrocket your rankings to the main Google page.
Here is some example of LSI keywords for the keyword “keyword density”:
- keyword density example
- ideal keyword density
- keyword density calculator
- ideal keyword density 2020
- keyword density checker extension
Some Guidelines for your Keyword Research
- Use long-tail keywords that tend to have a higher click-through-rate and prove more profitable
- Use keyword research tools for finding opportunities for trending and high-volume keywords. It will also give you suggestions for related keywords
- You should place the keyword in your title tags as well as body content
- Do keyword repetition a few times on a page (Depend on content length)
- Keep the keyword density between 0.5% to 2.5%
- Create content from the reader’s point of view. So, emphasize on natural writing rather than using forced keywords
- Include keywords in the title tag and Meta description that gives positive signals to search crawlers
- Write captivating content that captures the attention
- Most importantly, have a denser substance of the content
Also check: 22 Best Keyword Research Tools
So, keyword density is now a myth in SEO when you want to rank pages in organic search results. One needs to come up with engaging content that provides actual value to your target audience. Creating high-quality content is the key for steadily climbing higher and higher on search engine results pages.
We hope that the post has provided much insight into the role of ideal keyword density in 2020.