What is the correct keyword density?

Are your pages straining under the weight of keyword density and struggling to climb the Google ranks?

Are your pages straining under the weight of keyword density and struggling to climb the Google ranks?

Keyword density is the number of keywords as a percentage of the total text on a web page.  Too little density and the search engine algorithms will presume that the page is not important for that keyword.  Too much density and the page will get penalised for keyword stuffing.

Since nobody has access to the search engine algorithms, how do we determine what the bounds are for keyword density?  What is the correct or optimum keyword density for your page?

If you have gone searching for the answer online you will have found the answer to be stated as anything between 1% and 8% (in general).  The truth is that keyword density is old news.  It just does not matter as much as it used to.  Nobody knows for certain, so this is just my opinion.  It is an opinion however, that is based on experience and experimentation.  Here is my view on Keyword density:

Forget about Keyword Density! The only check I do around density now is to make sure I have not gone too high.  I like to stick to not going over about 6% in general.  However, if the article reads well to me, then I’ll let it slide so long as it’s under 8%.  I do not have a minimum density.

Keyword Positioning is far more important than the number of times it is repeated.  I generally have the keyword in the title, and in the H1 / H2 tags and again in the body text.  This is particularly true of text immediately after headings.  I do not always keep the same word order, or even use exactly the same words.  I want what I write to be legible for humans.

Certainly I have repeated the words “keyword density” a fair bit in this post, more so than usual.  It is just how this particular post has gone.  I find it harder to write “SEO training” in posts, simply because it does not fit into the general flow of what I write.

A word of caution.  If you have a density that is too high, it may work for you.  It may get you up there in the google ranks… but not for long.  Keyword Stuffing is bad bad bad!  It worked back in the 90’s, and many SEO consultants in Ireland are still recommending it on a smaller scale than before.  I completely disagree with this.  Keyword stuffing is outdated now to the same extent that travel by horses has been replaced by cars!  Keyword densities are a factor still, but are not something to be pushed to extremes and do not hold the same weight as they once did.

About Ian Wortley

Ian is one of Irelands leading SEO consultants with over 8 years experience in the Irish market. Ian discovered his love of all things internet related in 2005 and has been living nearly exclusively online since then, causing much worry to friends and family, but getting great results for clients. Contact Ian: Phone: 01 6854806 Mobile: 086 3817149

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