How much do you know about keywords and keywords density (the number of times you use your keywords in your article as compared to the total number of words used)? How much do you actually need to know about this subject and is it important for increasing search engine traffic?
The optimal keyword density for a web page is debatable at best, some even offer that density is pretty much useless. Others, however, contend that the correct keyword density on your web pages can increase website traffic which is, of course, the lifeblood of your blog or site.
While keywords are a great way to improve how the search engines perceive your content, thus sending you more relevant traffic, saturating your content with too many keywords can get you in trouble with the search engines for keyword ‘stuffing’ or ‘spamming’.
It may sound logical that if you are trying to attract customers (improve search engine ranking) for a particular keyword, then the more times you include it in your article (or on your web page), the better.
After all, if it is going to increase search engine traffic to your website, then the more times you use it, the better, right?
Using your keyword(s) or keyword phrases(s) prominently (and properly) on your web page
is an important factor in making it clear to the search bots what your page is all about so that they can send relevant traffic. For instance, try to use your primary keyword:
- in the title of your article
- in the first paragraph
- as anchor text somewhere in the article
- and in sub-headings.
But this is where it’s easy to get a little carried away.
Displaying them prominently on the page doesn’t necessarily mean stuffing your content like a keyword burrito. At one time you may have gotten away with that, but search engines have evolved much like anything else…
…They are smart enough to know that a keyword is not going to appear naturally in every other sentence of an article. Using them this way is what is known as ‘keyword stuffing’ or ‘keyword spamming’.
A search engine is a complicated mix of algorithms that the average person won’t ever hope to understand. All we know is that it tells the bots to do their thing and they do it. They search thousands and thousands of sites, blogs, etc. that are indexed all over cyberspace for keywords that people enter into the search box, and send this traffic to sites that they perceive to be the most relevant to what people are searching for.
Keyword density, as stated before, is the measure of how many of those particular words appear within text. For instance, if your article is around 500 words, bots will calculate how many times a certain word appears within that text. Internet gurus and seo experts used to contend that a safe keyword density was anywhere from 3-10%. But search engines have their own ideas about what constitutes the proper density for their rankings.
Now, though there really doesn’t seem to be a hard and fast rule where density is concerned, most experts agree that between 1-3% is optimal. For a 500 word article, that would be 5-15 occurrences for any keyword. Most people tend to err on the lower end just to be safe.
Besides, encountering the same keyword fifteen times in the span of a 500 word article may seem a little banal, depending on your subject matter. You want to use it enough times so that you express your ideas on your article topic clearly, but without over-using the keyword to the point that your words don’t flow together naturally.
If you are concerned about whether or not you are in the recommended guidelines, you can check keyword density of your pages using a free keyword density tool such as SEO Tools’ Keyword Density Analyzer Tool.
You can also use the ‘Find’ feature (Ctrl+F) to find and highlight each use of your keyword in your article. Divide the number of times the keyword appears in the article by the number of words in the entire article, then multiply this number by 100 to get your keyword density.
If your keyword appears 10 times, for example, in your 500 word article, you would divide 10 (# of keywords) by 500 (# of words in article), giving you ‘.02′. Multiply .02 by 100, to get your percentage, which is 2%.
- 10 divided by 500 = .02 x 100 = 2%
The ‘Find’ feature is great for identifying all your keywords in your article so that you can determine if any of them need to be eliminated.
Keyword density also takes into account the number of words in your target keyword, or keyword phrase. Long tail marketing has become popular and can further focus your content and website for a larger, more well-defined market.
But keyword density also works for your website in general. Using keywords in image (alt) tags, as anchor text within content, as subheadings, and as headlines will also get you noticed and increase website traffic for you. The content will get people to visit you over and over, but your entire website will be the linchpin that can help you gain and stay on the first page of search results by properly using and placing your keywords.