Keyword Density is Important

  • Comments: 5
  • Written on: September 19th, 2008

Fundamental FridayBy now you should know that selecting the right keywords for your posts is critically important for building organic search traffic to your blog or website.

Setting your keyword meta-data is only the beginning.  The frequency you use your keywords in the text of your page is just as important.  Use them too frequently, and the search engines will penalize your page for keyword spamming.  Use them too little and your page may not rank as well as you would like.

So where is the sweet spot and how can you get there and stil have your content read nicely to human visitors?  There are a few rules and tips you can use to get the keyword density you are looking for in some unexpected places.

Where is the Keyword Density Sweet Spot?

While it is true that the strict definition of keyword density is the number of times a keyword appears in your content divided by the number of total words in your content.

With that said, this legacy definition of keyword density doesn’t cut it entirely in today’s search engines.  Other concepts like relative distance from other keywords can also come into play and make the difference between a high ranking and a smart search engine smacking you down.

The True Experimentation blog explains the concept of relative distance as it relates to keyword density:

For example, let’s say you use the line “We provide SEO services to businesses in the Detroit/Metro area, and throughout Northern Ohio.” The words underlined are the words that must appear together, and the exact same number of times. The words in italics are the words that need to stay the same relative distance from these underlined phrases. Within a sentence or two. In addition, we try and keep all of this in the same order.

The historic “sweet spot” in keyword density is 4-7% – that  means that of all of the words in your content, 4-7% of them should be your keywords.

However, concepts like relative distance now also dictate that related words and phrases that support your keywords need to be in your content and placed equally distant form your keywords in the same order to maximize effectiveness.

How Can I check my Keyword Density?

There are a ton of free keyword density checking tools on the market that will give you a straight percentage.

A quick Google search for keyword density checkers will reveal a horde of people who have created keyword density checkers to drive traffic to their websites.

How can I boost my Keyword Density Stealthily?

Remember that search engines look at the code of your site – not the rendered pages.  You want your pages to be attractive to humans, while ranking well in the search engines at the same time.  While this is not a complete keyword density solution, tips like these can help you go from 3% to 4% in a pinch:

  1. Name your images using your keywords.  You have complete control over the name of the image files you display on your website.  Use this to boost keyword density.  Also don’t forget to assign alt text descriptions to your images that also contain your keywords.
  2. Add name and title property tags to HTML elements.  If you still use tables, assign names to your tables that are based on your keywords.  If you link to other internal pages on your website, assign title tags to the links based on your keywords. You can also add name tags to things like horizontal lines (<hr>).  If you have one of each of these o your site, you have just added three keyword repetitions that your visitors may never even see – but Google will.

What to Avoid

Don’t get carried away with the stealth stuff.  Don’t use hidden text (white text on a white background).  Don’t use really really small text.  Seach engines can spot this stuff a mile away and may even deindex you if you use it too often.

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