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October 19, 2010

Using Proper Keyword Density

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The goal of Search Engine Optimisation is to create web pages that will rank at the top of search engine results for high volume converting keywords.  Using proper keyword density is one of the factors that search engines will look for to see how relevant your site is for a searched term. The formula to calculate keyword density is (NKWTW) * 100, where NKW is how many time a specific keyword is repeated in a page of TW (Total words).

When optimizing the keyword of a page one must ensure that the pages main keyword appears in the following HTML elements and at the optimal keyword density.

  • Title tag: The title tag should appear first in your HTMLs head section. Main keywords should appear here.
  • Description Meta Tag: Is often what a search engines will display in a listing and should contain all your keywords that appear in your title.
  • Meta Keyword Tag: This tag is no longer used by the main search engines as it once was due the spam technique of keyword stuffing.
  • Heading Tags: Heading tags e.g. H1, H2 are important to search engines as they contain the ideas your document is about. Make sure you have at least an H1 on every page in your site and that it contains the appropriate text.
  • Body Content: There are various guides on how many words should be appear in your body. SEOBook suggests variations in word count from page to page to make your site appear natural to search engines. At Bruce Clay we consider the first 200 words of higher importance than the rest of the body text. In the end the best way to determine the figure is to run a Multi Page Analyzer on your competitors that appear first in SERP (Explained Below).

Overloading your page with a targeted keyword may be considered search engines as spam. Keyword stuffing was a technique used in the past to obtain good rankings. Measuring keyword density using Keyword Tools such as WeBuildPages or BruceClay SEO Tool KDA will allow you to minimize the over repetition of non target keywords, while ensuring you have the proper density of target keywords as well as not loading your page with irrelevant keywords.

There are recommended rules of thumb for the optimal keyword density but the best method to obtain this figure is to run an analysis of the top positions in SERP for a given keyword and see what Google sees as the best figure. The Bruce Clay SEOToolSet offers a Multi-Page Analyzer that a user can subscribe to.

In the future keyword density will become a less important variable for Search Engines to determine relevancy as semantically related words and LSI (latent semantic indexing technology) become more important in how Google determines relevance. “By placing additional weight on related words in content, or words in similar positions in other related documents, LSI has a net effect of lowering the value of pages which only match the specific term and do not back it up with related terms.

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3 responses to “Using Proper Keyword Density”

  1. Copywriter Jobs writes:

    I think your last point is the most salient. As Google becomes more and more advanced in the way it indexes pages, aspects such as keyword density will largely become irrelevant.

  2. Brian writes:

    Is this post from 2001? Keyword density as you outline it , talking about the “proper density”, hasn’t been a ranking factor for a long time. The engines certainly do language analysis but the simplistic way you’ve outlined has been disputed by many in the SEO space for quite a while. I’m surprised to see Bruce Clay writing about this.

  3. SEO Man writes:

    Your forgot what I think is the best tool out there: http://www.ranks.nl/tools/spider.html
    They have other interesting tools as well.



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