Keyword density is among the elements that contribute to a website ranking well on search engines. And if you know how to work well with it, it could add a substantial amount of value to your website in terms of rankings.
In this post, I will be helping you understand what keyword density is, how it’s calculated, how to use it, it’s importance, mistakes made when using it, and tips to maintain good keyword density.
So roll up your sleeves and let’s get started,
What is Keyword Density
Keyword density is also known as keyword frequency and it refers to the number of times a keyword has been used on a website page.
It’s the percentage that represents how repeatedly a specific keyword has appeared on a web page compared to the number of words that are there on that page.
For SEO content writers, it is essential to understand how keyword density works, because it can affect how your content appears on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) as well as how it is matched to certain queries online.
The main idea is to ensure that your content has not overused keywords that would make the content become of low quality and also to see that you have not underused them in a way that search engines would not be able to understand what topics they should rank your content for in the search results.
While there is no specific term used to refer to underusing keywords on an article, the practice of adding excess keywords on a page is known as Keyword stuffing, which comes with its own troubles.
When you put so many keywords on an article in such a way that it feels unnatural and forced to the reader, you are pretty much stuffing your article with keywords.
This is regarded as a bad SEO practice as It lowers the quality of one’s content thus lowering its chances of ranking well.
Every website owner should aim at providing readers with rich and useful content as well as make sure that they are utilizing keywords appropriately in a way that is natural and useful.
How To Calculate Keyword Density
Calculating keyword density sounds hard but it is actually not as difficult as you would think.
All you do is take the number of times a keyword has appeared on a page and divide that by the total number of words on that page.
For example, let’s say that your keyword appears 2 times in your article and the number of words that you have written is 1000 what you do is 2 ÷ 1000 = 0.002. You then multiply the result by 100 so that you get a percentage
0.002 × 100 = 0.2%, this now is your keyword density.
Most people aim to have a keyword density ranging from 0.1% to 2%.
If your keyword density is too high it means that you have overused your keyword and as such the search engine will notice this and might label your content as spam and worse could get you removed from the SERPs.
On the other hand, if your keyword frequency is too low, it means you haven’t fully utilized your keywords and therefore need to do so in order to rank better.
Having a low frequency for your primary or secondary keywords makes it hard for you to rank high on the SERPs unless the competition is low.
Importance of Keyword Density
Here is how beneficial good keyword density is:
1. Helps search engines know how well to rank you on their pages – They check whether you have used your keywords in a balanced manner in your content and if yes, they make your content more visible on SERPs and thus get ranked well.
2. Helps search engines know if an article is relevant to a certain topic – Search engines normally pay attention to a keyword that has been placed on the various sections of the article and then use that to now determine how relevant the content is to rank for the topic that is related to that keyword.
3. Guides website owners on how to balance keyword use in their article – By ensuring that their content is aimed at a certain topic with the help of keywords and by placing them properly in various places within the content while trying not to add them without having a smooth flow for the readers, they are able to get the content ranked under the topics they aim for.
Common Mistakes Made by SEO writers When It Comes to Keyword Density
• Failing to factor in keyword density at all as one creates content – Some people don’t pay attention to keywords in their content and they just write naturally with the aim to cover the topic they are talking about in the best way possible.
This is okay and helps at times, but it is not rewarding when you want to rank for specific keywords and this ends up affecting your content performance in the search engines.
• Building content around a single keyword – There are people who put all their focus on a single keyword and only work with it in the content.
They try to mention it a good number of times in the article, which ends up looking spammy and unnatural.
This is not a good way to work with keywords.
• Poor distribution of keywords in the article – Some SEO writers also make the mistake of getting the keywords placed in almost the same place in an article.
You may find the target keyword being mentioned twice to thrice in a paragraph, which is not a good practice at all.
People who do this have to come up with phrasing techniques to allow them to do this and this in the long term makes the writer come up with content that is made for search engines and not for people.
Search engines don’t like this practice.
Tips to Help You Come Up with Good Keyword Density
Here are some methods that will help you maintain good keyword density and ensure that you are also being of benefit to your readers as well as seeing that search engines are loving and awarding your keyword practice.
* Focus on delivering good content to your audience first
The main reason you are running a website or you are creating content for a website is to share information about a certain topic with people who are interested in learning more about it. So you always want to take care of that first before anything else.
Focus on first coming up with good quality content that is informative to your readers and compelling, and then think about the keywords later on.
Something interesting about doing this is that you also get to use keywords naturally, and most of the times in a balanced way, that makes your content to be of high quality.
So you may not need to add keywords later on as part of your content optimization process.
And if you don’t get to mention the keywords well enough, you can do that after writing, since you have already tackled the most important factor of content creation.
* Use keyword variations
Another good practice for working with keywords is using keywords that mean the same thing as your main keyword but are phrased differently.
For example, if your main keyword is “How to be a better athlete”, you can use other related keywords such as “How to improve your skills as an athlete” or “How to become a better sportsman”.
These related keywords help search engines better understand the topic your content is based on and who your target audience is.
This will make your content appear on most topics that are related to the one you are talking about.
* Place your keywords well in your article
Good keyword placement has its own perks including the fact that it helps search engines recognize the keywords faster and helping readers know that your content is a good fit for them.
The most important place to drop your keyword is in the first few paragraphs of your content and the closer it is to the first paragraph, the better.
Some other great places to include your keyword include;
~ In the content’s URL
~ In the meta description
~ In the title tag
~ In some headings
~ At the end of the article
Although you don’t have to place in every one of these places, try to do it in a few places. It really goes a long way.
* Check your keyword density frequently
In order to get a better grip on your keyword density, you need to examine your pages. Avoid speculating that your keyword density will work every time you come up with a post because of course number of words and length varies with each.
It’s crucial to test your keyword usage to enable you to attain the best keyword density for your page.
To aid you in checking your keyword density, you can begin by assessing how your article presently performs.
Get to know how your ranking and metrics are so that you know if your current keyword density affects them positively or negatively.
Once you are done with that, you can now check to see what happens with your ranking when you either increase or reduce your keyword density.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Keyword Density
Question: Do people still calculate keyword density?
Answer: Yes. As you begin to write SEO content, being mindful of the keyword density is crucial as it will help you do good work. As you keep doing it, you will get better at it, and at times you won’t even have to calculate it as you can tell how many times you have used your keywords and how good they are in terms of SEO value to the content.
Question: Is there a specific keyword density that I should be working with?
Answer: There is no specific figure that determines a good keyword density. It depends on the length of your content and at times the topic you are discussing.
If you fixate your eyes on a specific percentage, you will have a hard time creating good content.
As earlier mentioned, aim for a density from 0.1% to 2%. And note that this is also not set in stone.
When you first create helpful content for your site visitors, you can then go through it and see where you can place the keywords naturally so that improve the density. Sometimes, you may not find a perfect place to do that so this is usually a gray area.
Content that is helpful to the readers is what search engines are looking to rank on their first pages.
And to have that, you have to keep your readers in mind first and then try to help search engines know what your content is all about by working with keyword density.
Striking a balance between these is wanting for every writer out there so as to reap the ranking benefits.