Keywords determine what your blog content is all about. Without it, you would have a hard time achieving rankings in search engines. That’s why it’s your job as a search engine optimizer to include the best keywords that would really define your website.
Besides researching high-quality keywords, an often question by relatively new bloggers is the quantity of keywords to have an optimal blog post. Obviously, you have to optimize your content to get seen, but moderate it so you don’t look spammy.
That’s where the notion of “keyword density” comes into existence. Is there an ideal keyword density that bloggers and SEO specialists should aim for? What is the “magic number” when it comes to optimizing your blog content? This article will hopefully enlighten you on the concept.
What is Keyword Density and The Desired “Magic Number”
Given the total word count of your page and the number of keyword appearances being targeted, you can get an approximate value for your keyword density. It is defined as keyword count divided by total word count times 100%, the answer being in percentage (%).
So let’s say the keyword “apple” appeared in an 800-word article for 10 times. That would be 10 divided by 800 times 100%, which yields 1.25% keyword density.
There are online calculators that do this effortlessly, so use them if you don’t like math.
Or maybe not. You see, a lot of experts are on a consensus that keyword density is “not important” anymore when it comes to rankings. You can have a 1% KD (short for keyword density) and perform well in Google, or inject more keywords to make it 10% dense and still rank high in results.
In short, there is no magic number for keyword density. Here’s a video by Matt Cutts to back up that statement:
However though, there is such thing as “too much”. When a search marketer tries to take place too much keywords for the sole purpose of getting seen in 1st page, he or she is subject to a violation known as keyword stuffing.
What Keyword Stuffing (or Over-Optimization) Looks Like
There are two key elements for doing proper SEO, the “search bots” and “humans”. Search engines are not human, they’re just machines full of sophisticated algorithms that serve to deliver one purpose: to bring the best and relevant results for people.
How about humans? Well, we are organisms who have powerful minds, capable of distinguishing good from bad content almost instantaneously.
For instance, take a look at the paragraph below:
As much as I’d love to create a website, something tells me that I shouldn’t listen to this guy. Why? Because the content looks horrible!
In the past (early 2000), Google heavily relied on exact phrases to rank pages, which is why keywords were easy to abuse back then. Some techniques that worked during those times were the following:
- Repetition of keywords – the same phrases are encountered repeatedly that the general thought of the sentences often looks funny (like the example above)
- Block of Keywords – a piece of text or paragraph full of keywords that brings no value at all other than optimizing the page
- Hiding keywords from users – using white text with white background is one common practice of doing this, another is putting it in a small text area (like this Matt Cutts’ example)
But now that big G is smarter, such tactics won’t work anymore. Anyone who is caught keyword stuffing will get punished real hard in rankings and even be banned from Google.
Just remember, Google is getting smarter every year. They have to outsmart these bad sites because it’s what makes Google the best in the search industry. When the quality of search fails, their business will fail along as well.
The company values the customer more than the website owners and it makes sense. After all, do you want to buy products from a website that has bad content? Can you trust a person who’s trying to cheat into the system? Of course not!
You would take caution and leave the site to go to someone else. As a blogger, this translates to a higher bounce rate and less conversions in your website.
How to Use Keywords the “Proper” Way – 5 Tips
Now that you understand what keyword density and keyword stuffing is, allow me to help you with doing the right SEO. There are five ways to better optimize your website in search engines.
1. Do on-page SEO in other places. Place keywords in other parts of your page such as headline, meta description, and images because they are important ranking factors when it comes to on-page SEO. Don’t rely on keyword density alone for getting you in the first page.
2. Use LSI keywords to have variety of phrases. LSI stands for latent semantic indexing, which is a group of keywords used to identify the context of your blog post. If an article on panda for example includes bamboo, mammal, habitat, or China in the content, Google will identify the word as an animal and not the Google algorithm.
3. Write naturally. Plain and simple. It’s hard to monitor the keywords in every blog post you are writing and is a waste of time. So why not spend that time to write unique, high quality content instead? Focus on your readers and in the value you’ll be providing them. Good rankings will come as a result.
4. Write longer content. The more words you write in your blog post, the more keyword opportunities you will get in search engines. Aim for at least 1,000 words in every article you write. In that way, search crawlers can know more about your content.
5. Most importantly, don’t do anything shady. Approach SEO with a white hat so that you’ll guarantee long term success for your website. Keyword stuffing is a black hat technique that will only work for a short time. If you don’t want to see your rankings suffer, just stay on the good side and people will gladly do business with you.
Learn More About SEO to Grow More Traffic
That’s about it for keyword density. I hope you’ve learned a lot from this article and have a clearer mind right now. If you’re writing content for your blog, I suggest you use the five tips above and eventually, you’ll enjoy better rankings.
I have another suggestion, which I think you’ll benefit a lot when you follow it. I suggest that you keep learning about SEO by learning all the techniques of getting ranked high in Google such as building backlinks and leveraging social media. The more skills you possess, the higher your position will be and the more traffic you’ll enjoy.
If you don’t know where to start, here’s a place that I recommend for getting legitimate SEO training.
Also, here are other related blog posts that you might find interesting:
What are your thoughts about optimal keyword density? Does a “magic number” exist for KD? Give us a comment below and let’s talk about it.