The question on keyword density has been asked often enough that it deserves a little attention. However, quite frankly, I think both the term and the concept are over rated.
Keyword density is defined as the number of times your keyword appears in your content as opposed to the number of words in the content. In other words, if you have a web page with 1,000 words on it and you use your keyword 200 times on that page then the keyword density will be 20%.
Sidebar: If your keyword density is 20% then it’s way too high.
What you need to understand about keyword density is that there is no optimal density that will ensure your web pages get indexed by the search engines. Search engines look at hundreds of criteria and none of them are more important than all the others; that said, some of them are more important than others. Keyword density falls in the middle of the pack – not super important, but somewhat important.
Keywords, you are probably aware, are very important. Try building a website without them. What are people going to search for? How are they going to find you? But do you need to spend your time trying to figure the exact number of keywords to use for your page? No. And the reason is pretty simple. It all really boils down to the avoidance of the two biggest sins regarding keywords:
- Not enough
- Too much
Some SEO experts will tell you the optimal keyword density is 3%-5%. There may be some truth to that, but keeping your keyword density in that range won’t ensure that you’ll rank highly for those keywords. Nor does it mean if your keyword density is higher or lower that you won’t rank highly for those keywords. There are other factors at play. Those other factors are the hundreds of other search criteria measured by the search engines in their algorithms.
The most important thing to know about keywords is to use them naturally. Your website content should be written in such a way that keywords don’t seem forced. If you start every sentence with your keyword, the content will look choppy and unnatural. You don’t want that.
On the other hand, if you don’t include your keywords enough then you likely won’t rank well enough in the search engines to get the kind of traffic you want. So I always tell people to write naturally just they were talking to a friend. After you have written a great web page without thinking about your keywords, go back through and think of where you can place your keywords without making them seem forced and unnatural. Then, start working on building your off-page SEO.
One final word: Keyword management is a continuous process. There is no optimal density that will ensure success. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye on it.