Keyword Density


Another simple way to increase search engine optimization is through the use of keywords in your posts. There is enough information about keyword research, keyword density, and keyword optimization out there to confuse even the most SEO-savvy blogger, but never fear — keyword density is not a hard concept to grasp, and hopefully this post will help you.

What is a Keyword Density, Anyway?

Basically, a “keyword” is a word for which you want your post or blog to rank. Once you’ve made that determination, you can plan to sprinkle those words throughout the post. Notice I said sprinkle, not splatter. The key to SEO is always relevance, so if you’re just slathering words around to get Google’s attention, you will, but it might not be in a good way. If you over-do it, the powers that be might think you’re “Google Bombing” and penalize your site ranking. Your “keyword density” is the percentage of your keywords’ usage.

Google Bombing?

(Aside: Google Bombing was a Geek pastime prior to 2007, when Google changed their algorithm. Bloggers would create bizarre phrases and insert them into their posts to see how high they could rank for those phrases. Obviously this had nothing to do with relevance and Google has done their best to prevent this activity from benefiting those who play that game.)

Determining Your Keyword Density

Those who know way more about SEO than me suggest a good keyword density rate is about 3-5 percent. If your keyword density is less than 3 percent, you probably won’t get the attention of the Google bots for that particular phrase. If your keyword density percentage is more than 5 percent and you may cause more harm than good in Googledom.

An easy way to determine your keyword density percentage is to copy your blog post draft and paste it into Microsoft Word. Note the word count. (WordPress has an auto word counter just below the post text editor, and Microsoft Word will also give you a word count.) Do a search for each key phrase you’re hoping to rank for, highlight your phrase so it’s easy to find. Count the number of occurrences and divide that number by the total word count. If a particular phrase is used more than 5 percent, reduce the number of occurrences or add more words to your post without including that phrase. If it’s lower than 3 percent, increase it.

For example, the phrase I hope to rank for in this post would be “keyword density.” My total word count is 572, and I’ve used the phrase “keyword density” eleven times, so my usage percentage is just under 2 percent.

A Couple of Tips

When considering which keywords you want to rank for, it’s always best to think like a potential buyer instead of a blogger. Which words in your topic are for “tire-kickers” and which words relate to serious shoppers? A good way to research this is by using Google Insights for Search. We’ll go into more about the “how?” to do this in a future post.

In all your SEO-ness, don’t forget your readers. Certain keyword phrases, to use a cliché, stick out like a sore thumb, so be careful you don’t overdo it. All the search engine rankings in the world won’t do you any good if your copy reads like an attempt to hitch a ride on the Google train.

In the meantime,

Happy Blogging!

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#1 Gerardine Baugh on 12.06.09 at 9:29 pm

I feel lost in a maze of tags and tag lines. I will try again, thanks for the information..

Gerardine Baugh

#2 Linda Fulkerson on 12.08.09 at 10:26 pm

Hi Gerardine,

I’m sorry if I confused you. :(

Don’t get discouraged — it may take a few tries to figure some of this stuff out, but once you’ve got it, it’ll come very naturally. I’m still learning as I go!

Thanks for stopping by & commenting!

#3 Prince Zermic on 02.23.11 at 9:14 am

Keyword density is not constant for all Search engines. Simply every search engine algorithm differs, and for that you must choose an average keyword density that makes your site rank in the top ten position in all search engines. If we make a research we will find that the best keyword density for Google is about 10%, Yahoo is about 20% and MSN is about 15%.

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