Keyword Density is Not a Big Deal in SEO

Keyword DensityThe term “keyword density” has been around since the beginning of the SEO industry. Back in the late 1990s/early 2000s, it was considered one of the most important factors of SEO… at least to the SEO community. Despite the huge popularity of the topic in the SEO community, no search engine has ever confirmed the existence of such a signal as a factor. I read a ton of articles in the past that claimed a range of 3-5% was the ideal keyword density percentage. The truth is there is no “ideal” keyword density. 3-5% is nothing more than speculation. On the other hand, however, it is very possible that keyword density could have been a major factor in the early days of SEO.

These days, forum discussions about keyword density don’t come up as often. It’s become somewhat of a non-issue. I no longer think about keyword density when I’m writing a blog post. In my 15+ years of experience, it has never affected my search engine results, or at least I never noticed any major changes. But that’s what SEO is – it’s about making experienced guesses. There is no magic formula that will get you ranked in spot #1 because the algorithm is so complex. There are 200+ ranking signals for Google… how would you even begin to test that?! Each factor is a variable. Based on my years of experience, I can tell you that it is a waste of time to focus on keyword density. I’m sure most SEO veterans would agree with me.

Why keyword density is no longer a major factor:

  • With search engines, especially Google, becoming more advanced in natural language technology, the emphasis on exact match keywords is not that important anymore. If you run a search on Google, you’ll notice that search results often include synonyms and broad match keywords in the title and content.
  • Forcing keywords into the body of an article often times results in an article that sounds a bit unnatural or awkward. Remember that you are creating content for people, not computers. You can try to fool the computer (algorithms) into thinking that you have the perfect article, but you’re missing the goal which is user engagement. User experience and engagement has a great affect on key metrics like bounce rate and return visits, so it does ultimately make a difference on your bottom line.

My advice is to not worry about hitting a certain quota for keyword density. Just write how you would normally write – use words that flow naturally within your content.

Be cautious though, don’t over-stuff your content with the same exact match keywords on your site, as it may seem spammy to the search engines.

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