Keyword Density – Short Explanation

Keyword density refers to the number of times a keyword occurs in a piece of content. It includes instances of a single word as well as longer keyword phrases. Although there is no certain density that Google uses to help determine the ranking on their search engine results page (SERP), it is important to avoid tactics, like keyword stuffing, that can cause the content to drop on the SERP, or cause it not to rank at all.


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What is Keyword Density?

Keyword density includes individual words, as well as longer phrases, that are included within a single page of content. A page may include just one keyword or phrase, or it can include multiple keywords and phrases.

In the early days of the internet, keywords were the best way to get noticed and ranked by search engines, but that isn’t the case today. Less is more when it comes to keyword density.

Although there is no specific recommended number of times a keyword or phrase should occur in a piece of content, it is a good rule of thumb to include a keyword or phrase no more than two-percent of the time in a piece of content.

Calculating keyword density includes taking the number of words on the page and dividing that number by the number of keywords or phrases that appear on that page. For example, a page with 100 words and 2 instances of the keyword in question would have a 2-percent keyword density.

There are more complex ways you can use to calculate keyword density. One such formula is Density = (Nkr / ( Tkn -( Nkr x ( Nwp-1 ) ) ) ) x 100 where:

  • Density = The total keyword density
  • Nkr = How many times a keyword is repeated
  • Nwp = Number of words in the keyword
  • Tkn = Total number words in the analyzed text
Methods of What is Keyword Density
Keyword Density and SEO

Where Keywords should occur

In addition to considering keyword density, placement of keywords should also be considered. Using words throughout the text is a better strategy than concentrating all of the keywords and phrases in the same section of the text.

Proper keyword placement means including phrases in areas like:

  • The headline
  • One or more subheadings
  • The first paragraph
  • The last paragraph

Keywords can also be included in metadata, as well as captions for photos and images. In addition, a particular keyword or phrase should never be used more than once in a sentence, and almost never more than once in a paragraph.

Keyword Density and SEO

Keyword density is a popular SEO strategy, even though Google doesn’t admit to using it as part of their ranking strategy. Google also does not recommend a particular keyword density.

Many SEO experts and marketers admit that keyword density is an overrated concept. Instead, quality should be the focus of any piece of content that is published on the internet. Google, and other search engines, place the most importance on offering the best content to its users, so content that has something useful to offer users will always be ranked higher than lower quality content.

However, when all other SEO considerations are equal, it is postulated that a piece of content that utilizes keywords will rank higher for those keywords on Google than a site that doesn’t, so it continues to be a popular SEO strategy.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing emerged when search engines were new to the internet. Algorithms were much simpler, which means keyword density was much more important on the SERP. The more times a keyword occurred on a page, the more likely it would rank well.

Today, that strategy is called keyword stuffing. It results in content that sounds unnatural because a particular keyword or phrase is used multiple times in the same paragraph, and even the same sentence.

Although keyword density isn’t one of the main factors that positively affect SEO, it is a factor that can negatively affect SEO. It isn’t necessary for a piece of content to include any kind of particular keyword or phrase, but it is necessary to ensure that the content doesn’t contain too many keywords or phrases. If a particular keyword or phrase occurs too many times within a piece of content, it can negatively affect its position on the SERP. It can also result in being removed from the SERP altogether.