How much keyword density is too much?
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” Mark Twain
There is no optimal keyword density out there.
There is, however, a lot of room for original, quality, and valuable content.
Having said this at the very outset, is there more to be said?
The KD [keyword density] conundrum
SEO [search engine optimisation] experts make a list of most looked-up keywords and put them on your pages to make your content appear in relevant searches on the web.
The search engines are programmed to understand the content on a page and filter them out in nanoseconds for the one searching for particular information or business.
Therefore, it is important that your text has the keywords that get picked each time a search is being made to generate traffic, leads and eventually conversions to your site.
Many SEO experts think that keyword density is a myth.
We think all you need is to intelligently put the keyword in the title and sprinkle it across in your original and engaging write-up with, of course, other relevant keywords and backlinks to add scope and context.
Leave the rest to effective SEO strategy, and the search engines will smartly understand the content on your page, and gradually push it to the top of search results.
Google wants quality for its readers. Write naturally, as you would be talking to someone to share ideas, advice, and information. You could do many better things with your time than to worry about how many times you repeated the titular word or phrase that would make your content reach number 1 in Google searches.
However, a savvy SEO person would have a smart keyword strategy and list down words that appear best in searches on the web to use on your site.
What’s KD, by the way?
Simply put it is the number of times you repeat a focused word in your content. There are formulas to get the percentage. This keyword is presumed to be what gets searched most frequently by the readers on the web.
So if you want to look up shoes, you’ll get a great number of links to different sites that will have something or the other to do with shoes.
The search engines are programmed to look for these keywords, and your brand gets found!
But if it is shoes we are talking about then obviously the content would be using a lot of that word, won’t it?
We’ll come to that in a bit.
Matter of substance
Google reigns supreme in making sure that good and engaging stuff is available to read that benefits the audience.
The algorithm updates, Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird did just that each time. They were made to ensure that content is original, relevant and useful – curating unique, value-driven experiences to the users.
Going back to our analogy of shoes – if shoes are what matters to our business then naturally the word shoes will be repeated a lot many times!
Obviously, this is going to happen.
But, if your content is obnoxious and spams the reader, using the word shoes oh so many times that it hurts to read – then you’re not in good hands; this is called keyword stuffing or high keyword density.
“Our shoes are the best shoes you are going to find in the shoe industry. Our shoes are made of the finest shoe material. We provide the best shoe care material so that your shoes shine the best. Buy your shoes from our collection of best shoes!”
[Excuse the exaggeration, but hey, you get the point, right!?]
Out of forty-six words used in the example above, nine are the same. [Whoa!]
Now if you read the description you will not find it useful. You may want to leave the site as soon as you can. You’d probably know for sure, here’s definitely not where you want to shop!
Now consider this:
“Our shoes are made from the finest of materials. With comfort and style guaranteed to make your shopping experience unique, you will find a variety of footwear to suit every occasion.”
[Not bad, what do you think?]
The keyword was used. Along with a few other relevant ones that are associated with shoe shopping.
Google is going to do just that to you. It wants quality over quantity! This is a matter of substance!
But if we look into the usefulness of KD, how could it help in SEO?
Google uses the keywords to understand the topics, content, and context of your page, right? So keywords will have some importance or the other in SEO strategy.
An Effective SEO strategy will make sure your page is found in relevant searches.
In the past, KD was measured and stuffed into the pages just to make them rank higher in search engines. The more the word was focused, the better was the strategy and outcome.
But search engines have developed extensively over time, with intuitive reasoning to almost be able to think and respond appropriately when the user attempts to look-up something on the internet, and provide best matches to the queries.
The words or topics you look up not only bring up most relevant links to you, but also many others that are more likely to be of greater accuracy, importance, and relevance. The search results can shed more light on the readers’ understanding and needs.
This is partly due to the semantic approach of the search engines. With a Semantic Approach, search engines attempt to understand your topic and content, even if you have used the keyword, say just once. Search engines understand what you are talking about, and bring relevant – authentic – information to the user.
Moreover, if you keep using the keyword repetitively in your content, search engines [read Google, being our favorite pick], would understand it the first time in its context, a tad better the next time you use it, but gradually learn to appreciate it less if the frequency persists. Google will have learned better what your content is discussing or describing. So your page[s] could start to appear further down in searched topics and cost you rankings and credibility.
I truly get this, but what is the optimal number you said?
There can be two pages on a site that rank differently in searches. One may have the select keywords used adequately and the other may not altogether. There are more likely to be instances where the latter appears higher in rank than the former.
SEO gurus and experts say in general to place the keywords optimally.
Therefore, for the best experience, put the keyword in the title and headline each, two-three times in the body text, once in the meta description, and you should be adequately covered.
Search engines have begun to rate sites higher that use content meaningfully. So while a keyword would lead to specific pages, search engines would try to assess the intent of the user to gather search results that are most accurate and exactly what the user was looking for on the web.
This intuitive reasoning of search engines is the reason why we can find the most useful content on the first page of search results on Google.
Hence, your focus should be to think about the placement of keywords in the content of a creative approach, which is of more importance than stuffing the significant word – or lists of words for that matter – in the article.
The safest measure [if you still want to measure keywords]
Our experience has convinced us to write organic and original content. So the advice we can give you is to use up to 10-12 keywords maximum in a 1,000 – 1,400 worded article.
If you think you are not sure, it’s safe not to go overboard. It’ll give you a great percentage.
Moreover, we think it will help you focus on the quality of content. By focusing on relevant and proof terms to make your content holistic, you will be able to cover a wide aspect of the topic, which will certainly provide greater insights to your readers. Moz’s study of ranking factors also suggests that Google thinks for the user and focuses on user intent.
Words are what humans use for communication. We can’t shy away from using them the way we want to and when we want to. Don’t overthink about word density; we would advise you to relax and focus only on the value of your content writing for your business and your followership of readers.
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