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Balancing Keyword Density for Content Optimization

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Keyword density as it concerns content optimization, is the percentage that a keyword appears in your content, as compared to the total number of words in your content. There was a time when keyword density was extremely important to your search engine rankings. Today, not so much. At least, not in the way it used to be.

Keyword density: old news, but still relevant

A little keyword density history
Over time, a couple of things began to happen. First, online content writers became proficient in applying keywords, and this method of website optimization became the norm. Second, webmasters began to take advantage of keywords, to the point that they abused them. Terms like keyword stuffing, search spam and spamdexing came about as a result of this abuse. Essentially, search engines are smart enough to realize when content has too many keywords and this can result in lower rankings for your website. In fact, it is Google’s policy to remove a website from their search engines if they find this happening. Why? One, they find it unethical, and two, keywords repeated endlessly renders your content useless to the reader. Remember, Google searches for quality content.

So when it comes to keyword density, content optimization doesn’t just mean slapping some keywords in your content to get noticed by the search engines. You need to find that perfect balance for content optimization. Too much is a bad thing; too little is not good enough. Most experts state that anywhere from 2 to 8 percent is a decent balance for keyword density. If that’s all we can use our keywords, then we better use them wisely.

Three things to do to “optimize” your keywords

  1. Give them prominence: put them in your title, near the top of the page, and in the start of your sentences.
  2. Give them proximity: that means, put two of your keywords, or keyword phrases together if you can do so naturally. For instance, if I am writing an article on content optimization, it would be good to start a sentence with these two phrases: When you are writing for the web, it is good to have search engine optimized content. The words in italices are the keywords (or phrases) in this situation.
  3. For the advanced writer, try to include a keyword or phrase in an H1 or H2 title tag. Search engines give these words a little higher priority than words buried elsewhere in your content.

If you do these things, and you always keep in mind that you need to maintain between 2 and 8 percent keyword density, you will have created keyword rich pages.

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3 Responses to “Balancing Keyword Density for Content Optimization”

  1. atif says:

    I think ideal keyword density is below 5%

  2. Ted Ives says:

    “Near the top” is going to start becoming increasingly important as Google starts identifying “above the fold” content (per Matt Cutts’ recent comments).

    Don’t forget to use stems and related terms as well:

  3. Dustin says:

    I also found simular article at Where Matt Cutts describes about keyword density:
    The question is “What is the ideal keyword destiny: 0.7%, 7%, or 77%? Or is it some other number? Ok…keyword density. Let’s talk about it a little bit. A lot of people think that there is just one recipe and you can just follow that, like baking cookies and if you follow it to the letter, you will rank number one. And that’s just not the way it works. Um…so, if you think that you can just say “Ok, I’m gonna have 14.5% keyword density or 7%, or 77% and now it mean that our rank is number one. That’s really not the case. That’s not the way that Search Engine Rankingswork.

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