As you already know, keywords are the building blocks of your content. These are usually the search phrases used by your target audience to access information online.
But stuffing these words without meaning is not the solution to rank higher.
The term Keyword Density (KD) is often used in contexts related to keyword stuffing, but that shouldn’t always be the point of reference.
Keyword Density is the total number of times a keyword appears in a piece of content. But in changed circumstances, this can be interpreted as the total number of target keywords plus secondary and LSI keywords being used in the content.
With the popularity of the TF-IDF technique, keyword density has managed to position itself better among other SEO techniques.
With more advanced ways of measuring result-driven SEO strategies in place, TF-IDF technique has largely helped in calculating the Keyword Density.
TF-IDF stands for “Term Frequency and Inverse Document Frequency.” This is a calculation based on the term frequency within the existing pages that are ranking on the search with that of the one you are about to publish.
This strategy uses not a single keyword but a host of related ones that are relevant to the users’ search query.
Like always, following this strategy alone may not be the answer to rank higher on search, but if you are taking good care of the quality of the content being produced, TF-IDF can give you a definite boost in rankings.
By looking at keyword density in a broader spectrum, it’s possible to disassociate it with keyword stuffing – a blackhat method.
How to Calculate Keyword Density (The Classic Way)?
One of the most common questions about keyword density is what the ideal keyword density percentage is.
There is a formula to calculate the Keyword Density:
Keyword Density = ( KR / ( TW -( KR x ( NWK-1 ) ) ) ) x 100
KR = how many times you repeated a key-phrasesNWK = number of words in your key-phrasesTW = total words in the analyzed text
Example: Calculate Keyword Density
Assume that you have a blog post of 2000 words. You repeated the focus keyword for more than 30 times, and that keyword contains 3 words.
Here is how to calculate the KD for your 2000 words content keeping in mind that your focus keyword is a 3-word keyphrase and repeated 30 times.
Let’s Calculate KD:
KR = 30NWK = 3TW = 2000KD = ( KR / ( TW -( KR x ( NWK-1 ) ) ) ) x 100KD = (30 / (2000 - (30 x (3-1)))) x 100KD = (30 / (2000 - (30 x 2))) x 100KD = (30 / (2000 - 60)) x 100 KD = (30 / (1940) x 100KD = 0.0154 x 100KD = 1.54%A value between 0.5 and 1.5 % is the Optimal Keyword Density for your blog post.
This is the traditional way of calculating the Keyword Density. But with all advancements that Google is making with regards to Natural Language Processing (NLP), this calculation is applicable only if you have the backing of quality content.
The keyword density score for a key-phrase is calculated by looking at:
How many times a specific key-phrase is repeated in a document
The number of words present in that key-phrase, and
The total number of words in the analyzed text.
How Much Keyword Destiny is Good For SEO?
Although there is no definite percent score for ideal keyword density, to rank higher in Google listings, a good practice is to stick to a 2% keyword density.
That said, avoid keyword stuffing at all costs since it will harm your site and may get your site penalized.
We’ll learn about the practice of keyword stuffing later in the article.
Keyword density is essential for SEO because Google tries to show a list of the most relevant web pages on SERP to a user based on their search query.
If their search phrase is present within your content, you’ll get a chance to rank on SERP. In other words, the presence of key phrases within your content helps Google understand the context of your content better.
Suppose you want to rank for any particular keyword related to your niche. In that case, you’ll have to write content or optimize existing ones with the target keyword.
You also need to ensure that the particular keyword appears naturally a few more times through your content.
Sometimes, using the exact keyword multiple times within a piece of content may dilute the effectiveness of the entire article; therefore, what you can do instead is use synonyms of your focus keyword to avoid repetitiveness.
What is Keyword Stuffing?
Keyword stuffing is when you keep repeating the same keyword multiple times within your content to the extent that it looks entirely unnatural.
Earlier, keyword stuffing made reading and deciphering articles hard for the audience, but now search engine bots can detect these irregular patterns and ban the page from the search results altogether.
The following instances are known as keyword stuffing:
Deliberately repeating words or phrases
Adding words that are out of context
Using keywords that are not relevant to the topic of the page
Lists of phone numbers without substantial added value
Blocks of text listing cities and states a webpage is trying to rank for
Some other practices of keyword stuffing that are carried out by some people are:
Repeating the same phrase in the page’s code, meta tags, alt attributes, and comment tags
Using text that is of the same color as the page background and hiding it from readers but making it visible to the search engine crawlers.
Example of Keyword Stuffing
Here is a simple example to understand the concept of keyword stuffing clearly:
“If you’re looking for the best office bag, look no further. Our brand offers the best office bag that you could want for business or pleasure. With padding in our liners and a special pocket for your car keys and chargers, this is the best office bag.”
Since keyword density is measured,
KR=3, TW=47, NWK=3
KD = ( KR / ( TW -( KR x ( NWK-1 ) ) ) ) x 100
KD = (3 / (47 - (3 x (3-1)))) x 100
KD = 7.31%
Since the maximum threshold should be within 1.5% – 2%, the above example is a case of keyword stuffing-something that Google strongly doesn’t recommend.
Keyword Density: Best practices to Avoid Keyword Stuffing
To promote a healthy keyword density, here are a few best practices to follow:
Assign a primary keyword to each web page
To begin with, choose a primary keyword related to your content with low competition.
Once you assign a primary keyword to a webpage, don’t target the same phrase to rank another web page.
This will prevent your web pages from competing against each other for a single keyword and keep your content unique.
Write more than 300 words
To improve the chances of ranking your web page for a given keyword, try writing more than 300 words of content in the body copy.
Google prefers ranking content that is relevant, accurate and answers the user queries.
Add secondary keywords, LSI keywords, and long-tail keyword variations in the copy
Another way to justify the relevance of your primary keyword on a web page is by adding secondary keywords, LSI keywords, and long-tail keyword variations in the body copy.
Add your keyword on the right page elements
While doing keyword optimization, it is necessary to note the important places where you must include your keyword- such as the page title, title tag, meta description, first paragraph of the body, on the image Alt tag, etc.
Use the Appropriate Keyword Density in Your Copy
As mentioned above, try keeping your keyword density around 2% to stay within the best keyword optimization practices laid out by Google.
Write your content as naturally as possible. Don’t try to write content centered around your target keyword, instead write the content and then try inserting the keywords naturally.
Make necessary changes in the verb tenses of the keywords to make the content look meaningful.
Always keep in mind the user-experience before implementing any on-page optimization for keywords.
Keyword density is one of the most misunderstood concepts when it comes to keyword optimization.
If you can understand the importance of keyword density for a web page to rank on SERP, you’ll be able to maintain a healthy balance for keyword placement and prevent keyword stuffing.
Shreoshe is a content writer with 6+ years of experience and has formerly worked in academic and travel niches. In her current stint as an SEO content manager, she helps businesses voice their brands. Reach her @ Mail | LinkedIn | Facebook or View all posts by Shreoshe