The density of a keyword or set of keywords is a cornerstone of SEO (SEO). Due to its direct effect on your site’s content’s exposure in SERPs and on the price of your online marketing initiatives, understanding how keyword density works are crucial.
It is especially important to understand how this notion will affect your SEO in the post-Panda era, as the relative relevance of keyword density in various search engine ranking algorithms, including Google’s, has evolved over the years.
What Is Keyword Density?
The density of a keyword on a website or in a piece of content is measured by how often the keyword appears relative to the total number of words on the page or in the content. The number of times a particular keyword appears on a given webpage, also known as keyword frequency.
Keyword Density Formula
Alternatively, you can get a hard number for the density of your chosen keywords. The keyword density of a webpage may be calculated by dividing the frequency with which a certain keyword appears on the page by the total amount of words on the page.
What Is TF-IDF?
Short for “term frequency and inverse document frequency,” TF-IDF is a more precise method of analyzing keyword density. As a measure of a term’s significance inside a document, this metric is frequently employed in information retrieval and text mining.
There are many other SEO criteria at play, but search engines may utilize TF-IDF variants to assess a page’s content’s relevance to a user’s search query.
What’s the Right Keyword Density for SEO?
It’s important to remember that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to keyword density; this is true for almost every facet of search engine optimization. Google does not provide any advice on the optimal density of keywords within content, and there are no hard and fast rules about how many times a term should appear on a page.
There are, however, some things to keep in mind to make sure your content is optimized, which can boost your material’s discoverability and your readers’ general satisfaction.
What Is Keyword Stuffing?
When search engine optimization (SEO) was just getting started around the turn of the century, a technique called “keyword stuffing” became widely used. Using too many keywords on a website, or “keyword stuffing,” can make the writing sound awkward and turn off readers.
This was traditionally achieved by stuffing the footers of web pages with dozens, if not hundreds, of slightly different keyword versions of popular search phrases. This strategy was commonly used by hotel websites, which had footers that mostly comprised of hyperlinked terms like “cheap hotels Barcelona,” “cheap hotels Cairo,” and “cheap hotels Dresden,” all of which led to pages with similarly crammed, keyword-stuffed footers.
This method may appear out of the ordinary now, but it once gave SEO scammers an easy way to dominate page one of Google for any keyword they wanted. These keyword-stuffed pages often ranked quite highly because Google’s algorithms weren’t yet sophisticated enough to recognize them for what they were: a cheap “hack” to engineer the SERPs.
No longer the case, however. Although Google’s specific search algorithm components, or “ranking signals,” remain closely guarded secrets, we do know that the search engine penalizes sites with obvious keyword stuffing in low-quality material.
Therefore, it is not recommended to stuff as many keywords as possible into your webpages, since this strategy will likely have the opposite impact.
How Many Keywords Should I Use in My Content?
It was already established that there are no inflexible regulations concerning keyword density. To further complicate matters, the optimal keyword density can and should vary from piece to piece.
For instance, a recent syndicated news article may benefit from a lower keyword density than a more established, evergreen blog post. But there are certain unofficial rules that can assist you decide on a keyword targeting strategy.
Professional search engine optimizers often advise using one keyword every 200 words. If a webpage only has one paragraph and it’s 200 words long, then that paragraph should only use one keyword.
While you can probably add more keywords than this (i.e., without getting punished by Google), the SEO industry generally agrees that using one keyword every 200 words is a good rule of thumb.