When you start diving into the multi-faceted and ever-expanding world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), a term that you will hear quite often is ‘keyword density’.
So, in this post, I’m going to tell you what keyword density is, how it helps your SEO, and why you should forget all about it!
What is keyword density?
In a nutshell, keyword density is the number of times that your keyword(s) appear in your blog post or content.
You calculate it by dividing the number of times you have used that keyword by the total number of words in the article and then multiplying by 100 to give a percentage.
For example, there are 556 words in this post, and have I used the term ‘keyword’ 24 times, making the density of it 4.32% (24/ 556 x 100)
Why does it matter?
The job of Google Search is to organize the internet and to help us find the information that we’re looking for. We also want that information to be correct and up to date.
Keywords help to tell Google what your content is about and therefore plays an important part in SEO.
The penalty box
The place where people go wrong (and consequently why I’m telling you to forget about it) is that they think one of two things:
- The more times a keyword appears in the content, the higher it will rank in Google – FALSE
- There is a magical keyword density of 0.3% or 0.6% or 1% etc. that will automatically springboard them to the top of Google – ALSO FALSE
Firstly, forcing your keyword into your content as many times as you possibly can, will put you in the category of ‘keyword stuffing’, which is penalized by Google and will instead make your content rank lower.
Secondly, Google isn’t looking for a specific percentage of keywords in your content.
The first couple of times a keyword is mentioned, Google will take note of this, however, after that there are diminishing returns on the impact of your keyword being mentioned over and over again. Until the keyword is mentioned so much, that the content becomes artificial, and falls into the keyword stuffing category as stated above, and Google sends your website to the penalty box.
Just be human
Although keywords are necessary to help tell Google what your content is about, there is no hard and fast rule about how many times your keyword should appear.
There are also many other ranking factors (at least 200 of them) that Google takes into account and considers in its algorithms, other than just keywords.
So, instead of focusing on keyword density, simply write your posts as though you were explaining the topic to a friend.
Naturally, you will mention your keyword(s) a few times throughout the content anyway – and this is what Google wants you to do!
Don’t try and hack the system, because Google will eventually find out, and in the next algorithm update you will be penalized for it and all your traffic could fall to the bottom of the ocean.
So, as in the title, forget about keyword density. Just be human, be informative, and post on a regular basis.
P.S. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think keyword density requires more attention? Let me know in the comments.