What is the Optimal Keyword Density?

When you create your website, you use keywords and phrases to help users find your pages. You try to pick words that are relevant to your business and interesting to potential customers.

Then, you implement these keywords in your URL, title tags, and in the content itself. These keywords help Google rank your content in relevant searches.

The trick to the entire matter is knowing how many times you can use a keyword before it becomes too much. This is a struggle for many companies.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the best practices for using keywords in your content and how to avoid using these terms too much.

Let’s get started!

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What is keyword density?

Keyword density is the percentage of times a keyword or phrase appears on your page in comparison to the total number of words. If you use a keyword 10 times on a 1,000-word page, your keyword density is 1%.

SEO experts have argued about the right percentage range. Most believe that 1-3% is a good range for keyword density, but nobody knows the exact ideal percentage.

The inability to choose an exact percentage partially stems from lack of confirmation from Google. Google has not confirmed the effectiveness of keyword density on site rankings.

The only thing Google has confirmed is that the first and second usage of the keyword on your page is effective. After that, it is hard to determine how many keywords are helpful to Google.

How Hummingbird has affected keyword density

In 2013, Google updated their search algorithm. It was called Hummingbird. This update changed how Google understands search queries.

With Hummingbird, Google looks at the intent of a user’s search instead of exact-match keywords.

How is this different?

Before the Hummingbird update, if someone searched “How do I fix my leaky faucet?” search bots would focus on the phrase “leaky faucet.” Search results may have included faucet parts, hardware stores, and even repair services.

However, since Hummingbird allows Google to better understand a searcher’s intent, a similar search today will yield tips, how-to articles, and even helpful videos for fixing a leaky faucet.

The Hummingbird update allows Google to understand relationships among topics and themes. This means that marketers can incorporate synonyms and related terms instead of stuffing articles with keywords.

Keywords still play an important role in helping your pages rank for relevant searches. And it’s important to understand how Google uses keywords to discover search intent.

This will help you target keywords and phrases that will benefit your business, and you can incorporate synonyms and related terms to help Google discover your content, while avoiding unnecessary keyword stuffing.

Keyword density vs. keyword stuffing

Keyword density can turn into keyword stuffing if you are not careful. Keyword stuffing is the overuse of keywords to manipulate a site’s ranking on Google. People will use keywords frequently within their content because they think it will help them rank higher in search results.

However, it has the opposite effect. Using too many keywords can negatively impact your ranking.

This means that you need to stay mindful of how frequently you use keywords in your content.

How do I determine the optimal number of keywords?

Since there is no magic number, it is difficult to know what your keyword density should be. The lack of a definitive number makes it harder to avoid keyword stuffing. These are some of the best practices to ensure that you are effectively using keyword density.

Write naturally and read out loud

The best thing to do when you are writing is to only put the terms where they fit naturally. The keyword shouldn’t be used in every other sentence or multiple times in a sentence. Don’t try to force yourself to include these terms.

When you write content, just write it. Don’t think about how many times you use the keyword. Once you write your thoughts down, you can see how many times you used it.

The next step is to read your piece out loud. When you read it out loud, you are more likely to notice the repetition of keywords. You’ll notice when you use any word too much. This is a good method to adopt so you can eliminate overuse.

Use related keywords

Another tactic to adopt is using a variety of signal words. When you have a variety of words, you’ll prevent yourself from overusing one keyword or phrase.

Before you begin writing, you should sit down and think about the keywords you want to use in your article. There are two different types of keywords you should include.

The first type is proof terms. Proof terms are words that Google would expect to see in your document. These are terms that prove to Google what you are talking about.

If you were writing an article about how to make the perfect spaghetti, you would expect to see terms like boil, stove or al dente. These are things that are commonly related to cooking spaghetti. Google would expect to see these terms because you are talking about making this dish.

The second type is relevant terms. Relevant terms are words that are related to the topic. These differ from proof terms because they are synonyms.

If you go back to the spaghetti example, relevant terms would be pasta or noodles. These are synonyms for spaghetti that you could use in your article.

The point of using proof terms and relevant terms is to expand your use of keywords. By using a variety of terms, Google will be able to understand your topic better.

You can prevent yourself from using keyword stuffing by using relevant and proof terms. It will expand your vocabulary and allow your article to sound more well-rounded.

Do the math

Most SEO experts agree that keyword density should be between 1-3%. You can do some basic math to figure out your keyword density.

To figure out your keyword density, you take the number of times you use the keyword and divide it by your overall word count. Once you have that number, you multiply it by 100.

This is one way that you can keep your keyword density at an optimal level. It will require a little more work on your end, but it will help you keep your keyword density in a good range.


Use keyword density tools

There are numerous keyword density tools you can use. There are two different types of tools.

The first is a keyword density analyzer. This tool can look at competing sites and find common phrases that your competition uses. These are phrases that your business may want to adapt to keep up with the competition.

The second type of tool is a keyword density analysis tool. This tool focuses on URLs and the content on those webpages. It analyzes the number of words on the page, linked words, non-linked words, and short words used.

It shows the keywords you use most often on the page, listed by most frequent to least frequent. The analysis report provides you with data that can help you fix and manage your pages.

How WebFX can help you

WebFX is a full-service digital marketing company. We offer SEO services, and our team of experts will help you choose and implement the right keywords for your business in the most effective way.

When you select WebFX, you won’t get a cookie cutter SEO plan. Our plans are tailored to be unique to your business.

We also offer transparent pricing. If you invest money into SEO to regulate your keyword density, you’ll know exactly where your money is going.

Want to hear what our clients have to say? Check out our 1020testimonials from satisfied clients in many industries.

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