A Simple Guide To Help You Understand Keyword Density

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SEO ZONE: On-Page SEO

A Simple Guide To Help You Understand Keyword DensityOnce you select specific keywords for your website, the next step is adding them into your website. You can embed them in different parts of a webpage e.g. meta description, title tag, page headers (h1, h2, etc), alt tags, page content (e.g. articles), links, etc. This is common knowledge.

The challenge comes with determining the proportionality of keywords in a webpage. Search engines use the keywords within a webpage to determine whether its content is relevant to what a user is searching for. As such, using keywords within a webpage can boost its SERP ranking.

However, most search engines also punish “keyword stuffing” i.e. excessive usage of keywords within a webpage. As such, using keywords too many times can hurt a webpage’s SERP ranking.

The ultimate question is this: “how can you use keywords within your website so that you enjoy its benefits, without pissing off the search engines?” To answer this question, it is important to understand keyword density.

What Is Keyword Density?

The term “keyword density” is used to describe the number of times a keyword or phrase appears on a webpage. The number of keyword appearances is considered in relation to the total word count of the webpage.

Keyword density is usually defined as “the percentage of times a given keyword or phrase appears on a webpage, in relation to the total word-count of the webpage”. It is sometimes referred to by the acronym KD and is typically expressed as a percentage.

How Is KD Calculated?

A basic formula for calculating keyword density is: KD = (kw/tw)* 100. Where kw is the number of keywords on the webpage, and tw is the total number of words on the web page.

For instance, let’s assume that a webpage is being optimized for the word “seo”. The webpage has a total of 150 words, and the word “seo” appears 3 times. The keyword density would be (3/150)*100 which will give 2%.

The same formula is effective for calculating the density of keyword phrases e.g. “search engine optimization”. Just count the number of times the phrase appears on the webpage, and place it in the “kw” part of the formula.

What Is The Optimum Density?

As mentioned earlier, excessive usage of keywords on a webpage can get you punished by the search engines. So, what density is acceptable to search engines?

Well, the acceptable density differs slightly from one search engine to another. For Google, anything from 2% downwards is acceptable. For Yahoo and Bing, densities of up to 3% are acceptable. Anything beyond these limits is considered “spammy”, and can lead a website to become degraded in the SERPs.

As well as not exceeding the upper-limit, it isn’t advisable to have a very small density. For instance, a KD of 0.05% is legally accepted by search engines, but isn’t recommended. This is because it makes a webpage less visible. The minimum KD which is recommended by SEO experts is around 1%.

In a nutshell, in order to maximize the SEO potential of a webpage, it is advisable to use a keyword density of between 1% and 2%. If you are to stretch the upper-limit, then take it up to 3%, but not more than that.

Techniques You Need to Avoid

The excessive repetition of keywords on a webpage is called “keyword stuffing”. A decade ago, it was a trick which webmasters used to fool search engines into ranking their pages higher. Nowadays, that technique is frowned upon. In fact, most search engines will degrade the ranks of keyword-stuffed pages within the SERPs. This is because they consider it spam.

This leaves webmasters in a bit of a bind. On the one hand, you want to insert keywords as much as possible. On the other hand, you won’t want to get punished. So, how do you balance these things out? Well, there are a few techniques which can be used to resolve this situation. They include the following:

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

Without getting too technical, LSI is a method used to find patterns in the relationships between words and concepts. For instance, LSI can be used to identify words which are semantically related e.g. synonyms and antonyms. It can also used to identify words whose meanings change depending on how they are used.

Most search engines now use LSI while indexing web pages. They use it to analyze the contents of a web page. Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, for instance, uses LSI while indexing.

The use of LSI means that search engines can recognize words or phrases which are related to your keyword. This eliminates the need for keyword stuffing your webpage. You can simply use synonyms, and the search engines will “understand.”

The strategy for using LSI is quite straightforward. Use the primary keyword in the meta description and the pages h1 tag. Within the rest of the content, you don’t have to use the exact keyword all the time. You can simply use its synonyms. Search engines will understand them as relevant to your keyword.

Keyword Variants

The related words or phrases you use don’t have to be direct synonyms of your keyword. They can simply be variants of it. Google’s Hummingbird update understands variants as well. For instance, let’s imagine your primary keyword is “kids’ sports shoes”. Variants would include “sports shoes for kids”, “children’s sports footwear” and “kids shoes for sports”. The bottom line is that you don’t need to repeat the same keyword or phrase over and over again.

One specific variant which can give a big boost to your SEO efforts is long-tail keywords. In a nutshell, a long-tail keyword involves simply adding extra text to your keyword or phrase. The text you add is usually descriptive, and mimics the kind of searches a typical user would type into a search engine.

Using the previous example of “kids’ sports shoes”, long-tail keywords would be “cheap kids’ sports shoes”, “kids’ sports shoes for girls”, “kids’ sports shoes made in USA”. Because long-tail keywords are more specific, the traffic they bring tends to have a higher conversion rate. As such, using them for optimizing the keyword density ultimately produces other benefits.

In A Nutshell…

When inserting keywords within your webpage, you need to take note of the density. At most, target a density of between 1% and 2%. If you are to stretch it to the utmost, don’t let it exceed 3%. To avoid exceeding the limit, you can use techniques such as synonyms and variants.

One last point (this has nothing to do with density), please insert the keywords in a manner which makes grammatical sense. Remember, SEO is about attracting visitors to your website, and holding onto them. As such, inserting the keywords for search engines is only one half of the equation. Making sure the keywords blend seamlessly into the content is the other half.

The last thing you want is for visitors to come to your landing pages, and then leave in disgust because your sentences are choppy, unclear and incoherent. Search engines tend to downgrade websites with high bounce rates.

If all this seems too complicated, simply hire an expert to optimize your web pages for you. They will ensure that they not only have the right keyword density, but that the content is presented in a manner which makes for a great read. You can hire a Denver SEO company right now by simply calling us at 303-200-1000 or by email at [email protected]. You can also take the next step and fill out the form on this page for a FREE website analysis! We can also report to you the keyword density on each of your website pages. Get started now!

Mike
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