What is Keyword Density and is it Important?
Another important area of keyword research and use that you are going to need to understand is keyword density. You may sometimes see this referred to as keyword frequency. Keyword density is a term that is used to describe the number of times that a keyword appears on a given webpage or within a certain piece of content. It is determined as a percentage or ratio of the overall word count.
There is a formula that you can use to calculate the specific keyword density of a piece of content. There are also tools available that can do this for you. However, if you want to determine the keyword density of a piece of content or webpage yourself, the formula is easy. You simply need to divide the number of times a given keyword is mentioned by the total number of words. The figure you are left with is the density for that page.
That’s all well and good, but what is the right keyword density and why does it matter? Firstly, let’s look at why it is important. If you have been marketing online for quite some time now, you may remember the days of keyword stuffing. This is when business owners and marketers would simply stuff as many keywords as possible into content in order to try and get to the top of the search engine result pages. The quality of the content did not matter. In fact, often the content would be duplicated or it would not make any sense. It would simply be stuffed with so many different keywords without any care for the grammatical side of things. For example, you may have a piece on visiting Brisbane, and inside this content, you’d see ‘hotels Brisbane’ and ‘Brisbane hotels’ stuffed in about 15 times each. Google quickly caught onto this tactic, and now any website that is viewed to be keyword stuffing will be punished and this will hurt your search engine ranking. This is known as a black-hat technique, which essentially means you are going against the search engine’s terms and conditions and trying to manipulate your way to the top. This often results in short-term gains but it causes a huge amount of damage to your SEO campaign and online brand in the long run, which is why it is imperative to make sure that you get the keyword density right and you do not stuff too many keywords into your content.
The trouble is that there is no set figure when it comes to choosing the right keyword density for your content. This is the case with most things when it comes to SEO; there are no clearly defined rules. You are not going to find any guidelines from Google that will tell you exactly how many keywords should be inserted into your content. However, there are some factors to consider here. Firstly, of course, you will never want to over-do it when it comes to keywords, as you can then fall into the keyword stuffing bracket. Moreover, the nature of your content can also dictate how many keywords are going to be used. For example, a syndicated and timely news article is going to need a lower number of keywords to rank highly when compared with an older, evergreen blog post.
In addition to this, there have been some ‘Unofficial Keyword Density Guidelines’ that have been created by experts in the SEO industry, and these can help you to get a better understanding of how many keywords to use. For example, a lot of professionals recommend that you should include one keyword per around 200 words of your copy. Using keyword variants, which are slight variations of the keyword in question, is also important.