11 May 2023
7 min read

Everything you should know about keyword density

Everything you should know about keyword density

SEO can sometimes feel like something of a science experiment, especially when terms like "keyword density" are thrown around.

But don't panic: most SEO concepts, "keyword density" included, have simple explanations and are generally easy to put into practice.

Here, we've shared a quick rundown of everything you should know about keyword density, including what it is, why it's important, and how to optimize keyword density.

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Key takeaways:

  • Keyword density is a fundamental SEO concept that measures the percentage of the total number of words on a page.
  • To determine an article's keyword density, count the number of times that a given keyword is mentioned on the page, then divide this by the article's total word count.
  • The easiest way to optimize keyword density is to use an SEO tool that outlines the recommended keyword use for a given article.

What is keyword density?

Keyword density refers to how many times a keyword is mentioned in a particular article of a given length (word count).

Knowing the number of keywords included and the overall word count helps you to understand the ratio of keywords to text.

Keyword density is also known as keyword frequency.

How to calculate keyword density

You can measure the keyword density of any given keyword or phrase.

To measure keyword density, simply count the total number of times that your target keyword appears in an article or webpage, then divide this number by the article's total number of words.

So, the keyword density formula would look like this:

Keyword Density = Total Number Of Keywords/Total Article Word Count

As an example, let's say your total article word count is 2,500, and you count 50 focus keywords in the text. You'd work our keyword density with the following sum:

50/2500 = 0.02, or 2%.

You can use a keyword density checker, like this Copywritely tool, to quickly work out your keyword density without the manual effort.

Why is keyword density worth knowing about?

So, why is keyword density important?

The use of keywords and keyword variants is an essential part of any SEO strategy because they tell search engines what your content is about.

Ranking for the right keywords, and using the optimal keyword density in your articles, will help Google to accurately crawl your website and position you accordingly in the SERPS. You'll be able to increase your ranking potential for a specific keyword and climb the search results pages in your industry.

All content writing should now be geared to search engine optimization, and keywords are a big part of the job.

Using the correct keywords the optimal number of times will help you to rank for these keywords when they're used in the user's search query. This, in turn, will boost your click-through rates and (if your content is genuinely valuable and engaging) increase your total sales.

Keywords are a major Google ranking factor because they drive searches. When people search online for a particular topic, product, or service, they'll enter a keyword that reflects this search intent, and it's the job of search engines to provide results that are both helpful and relevant.

Search engines are getting smarter by the day, and they now use other features, including page authority, backlinks, and geographical area, as ranking factors alongside keyword frequency and use.

That simply means that keywords are one of the many ingredients to use in your recipe for SEO success, and you shouldn't neglect them entirely to focus on another aspect of your marketing or growth strategy.

What's a good keyword density?

A good keyword density is around 1-2%.

That means, if you had a 100-word article, you'd use the keyword once or twice within the total word count.

For a 1,000 article, you'd use the keyword 10 to 20 times.

Our advice is to write your article naturally, then go back and count your keywords. You'll probably be close to the optimal keyword density already.

There's no need to stuff keywords into your text - they should naturally come up if you're writing in detail about a related topic.

How many keywords should I use in my content?

There is no definite amount of keywords that you should use in your content. It depends on a few factors, including:

  • The article length
  • The keyword in question
  • The nature of the content
  • Your target audience
  • What your competitors are ranking for

However, if you want an idea of keyword usage, a common guideline used by SEOs is to use around one keyword per 200 words on the page.

This should provide enough exposure to the keyword to help Google to read and rank the article accordingly, without the risk of being penalized for adding an unnatural number of keywords that makes the text read awkwardly.

If you don't want the hassle and confusion of trying to work out how many keywords you should use in any given piece of content, consider outsourcing your content marketing to an SEO content writing specialist.

There are plenty of experts in the industry who can use their own knowledge and experience of working with brands in your niche to produce articles with the right volume of keywords to stay on Google's good side while giving you the best chance of ranking.

Is keyword density still important in SEO?

Yes, keyword density and keyword use in general is still important in SEO - but it certainly isn't the only thing that matters.

There was a time when keyword use was one of the only factors Google took into account when ranking websites.

Search engines are now smarter than ever, which means that they take multiple factors into account when ranking articles.

Keyword density itself might not be a ranking factor, so you don't need to stress yourself out trying to work out the ideal number of times to include your primary keyword in an article or webpage.

Plus, as we mentioned earlier, you should be naturally including a keyword or keyword variants within your text simply by writing about relevant topics for the article title. Many people achieve the ideal keyword density without even knowing how keyword density works.

However, keyword stuffing is a ranking factor since you may be penalized by a search engine if you use a specific keyword too many times in your articles. So, it's worth being aware of keyword density enough to avoid using your focus keyphrase too many times and potentially sacrificing your spot in the search results.

How to optimize keyword density

Optimizing keyword density is tricky, since there are no set rules on how many keywords you should include in your text, or even what is considered excessive - known as "keyword stuffing".

That's why we recommend using a tool that will do the hard work for you. Our favorite tool for this purpose is Surfer SEO, which performs an analysis of all the top-performing articles for a given keyword and evaluates their own keyword patterns, then provides an outline of keyword use - including frequency of use - based on the data it finds.

Of course, you could do this work yourself, but it'd involve performing your own keyword research to determine which keywords and phrases are relevant to your proposed blog article or web page, then manually checking the top six-to-eight competitors on Google and counting the number of these keywords and phrases used in the text. The process would take you hours.

A tool like Surfer might cost you money, but it'll save you a lot of time and simplify your content writing process significantly.

If you'd rather not get to grips with a tool, you should know that all the best content marketing agencies now use Surfer as a given with any of their base-level services (rather than charging extra for the benefit of SEO content), so you have plenty of options if you plan to outsource.

Final word

Understanding keyword density will help you to rank alongside your competitors for all the keywords and phrases that are relevant to a given web page or article.

Keyword density might not be such a huge ranking factor for search engines these days, but that doesn't mean it's no longer important to be careful about your keyword placement. The last thing you want is to be penalized for keyword stuffing.

The reality is that keyword density is only a small piece of the puzzle in a good content marketing strategy. There's a lot that goes into creating content that's valuable to both Google and your intended audience, and a professional content writing agency can save you the hassle and time of learning how to implement these practices yourself.


What is keyword stuffing?

Keyword stuffing is when a specific keyword appears too many times in a text, in a way that appears spammy or unnatural. That's why you shouldn't try to aim for a very high keyword density, since this could be penalized by Google. Instead, you should aim to use certain keywords naturally within your text and only add keywords when they make sense, which should help you to avoid keyword stuffing.

What is keyword clustering?

Keyword clustering is a search engine optimization practice that involves using semantically related keywords within web content to help Google to read and understand content when it's crawling your website. This makes it easier for search engines to rank your articles for specific user searches using related keywords.

What does 2% keyword density mean?

A 2% keyword density means your target keyword makes up 2% of the overall text. So, if you wrote a 1,000-word article and had a 2% keyword density, that would mean the keyword was included 20 times within the text. Most experts in the SEO community agree that a 2% keyword density is optimal.

What should be the keyword density in SEO?

There is no specific keyword density that you should aim for in SEO. Keyword density itself isn't a Google ranking factor, so don't worry too much about achieving the right keyword density. Instead, focus on natural keyword inclusion and keyword clustering.

What is the keyword density in 1000 words article?

The ideal keyword density in a 1,000-word article is 20-30 of the same keyword within the text, which equals a 2-3% keyword density.

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