Ever do a search and the results eventually led you to a page that looked like just a bunch of the same words over and over again? That’s some “genius” loading up on keywords trying to increase search engine ranking.
“If every sentence has the phrase “lose weight fast”, that has to be bad right?”
“Does it really work?”
“Is there a secret formula?”
“How do we measure the keywords and keyword phrases within an article?”
Straight from the Office of Phrases-That-Never-Existed-Before-Search-Engines, the answer to that last question is keyword density. By definition, it’s simply the percentage a keyword or keyword phrases compared with the rest of the words in an article. Keyword stuffing is when you bloat your article with a lot of unnecessary keywords.
A quick look at keyword density
You don’t need me to tell you that if every sentence has the same keyword phrase in it, that’s bad! Even if the keyword stuffing actually worked, your article would be unreadable. No one in their right mind would stay longer than two seconds before clicking the Back button.
There are so many “experts” out there who will recommend a certain keyword density. Some say go with no more than 20% (which is really insane), while others swear by staying under 5%. What do I recommend? How about writing for your audience and not for search engines?
Keyword density penalty
At the end of the day, your article has to have some keywords and keyword phrases. But that’s just common sense. As you write your article, you will naturally populate it with keywords. Think about it, try writing an article about affiliate marketing but never mention the keyword phrase ‘affiliate marketing’ ever. It’s impossible!
Those of you who are worried that search engines will penalize you for not having enough keywords, stop worrying. First of all, no one knows the algorithms for any of the major search engines. Even if someone did, that algorithm would potentially change in a month’s time anyway. The rumor mill actually states that Google is particularly more harsh on keyword stuffing than Yahoo and others but no one knows how much more.
Final thoughts on keyword density
The bottom line is this: no one knows exactly how much keyword density to use. When in doubt, just write something worth reading for your audience. Don’t worry about how many keywords there are on the page, where they are placed, or how many alternative keyword phrases you have. Instead, focus on whether or not your post provides value for your visitors.
After all, we’re all looking to build a user base for our blog and the only way to keep them coming back is to have interesting articles. You can’t do that if you’re thinking about keyword density!