What is the best keyword density for search engines?

For years, keyword density was a popular subject among many SEO experts. Normally, because keywords are an essential concept of every SEO strategy. Once, you could fill your content with as many keywords as you like, trying to push your way to top rankings. Thus creating tremendous keyword density per content. Today, due to algorithm changes and updates in search engines, not nearly as much as you would love to. Nevertheless, even though no one can claim to know the exact numbers, keyword density still matters. And with proper implementation, it can still help you with your website optimization. But, to do your SEO the right way, you should read about the best keyword density for search engines. And if there is such a thing, after all.

The best keyword density for search engines

When you look at the various elements and strategies involved with SEO, it looks exceptionally hard to get a good grasp of everything. Especially since every once in awhile rules are changing. For example, when Google updates its algorithms or announces a significant patch. The entire field is evolving, and it’s doing rapidly in the last few years. With this in mind, probably the best option for many people is to find professionals to assist you. Since it generally requires huge dedication and knowledge. Also, another valid reason is that every other company out there is using experts as well. So it’s of no good to fall behind and risk bad ranking.

A woman holding a tablet on the team meeting.
Large companies use professional SEO teams to position high in the ranking.

But, the point is, all these changes and turbulence reflect in keyword density the best. Even though it’s just one relatively small SEO part, this density significantly changed due to updates. As we highlighted above, from “as much as possible” it’s now reduced to the bare minimum. But, that bare minimum still counts. Since there are so many elements, we can’t assume in what portion. But when taken with others, like content, links, and such, this density contributes overall.

Keyword in a few words

Keywords can be anything from a single word to a set of terms. In theory, they should hold the essence of the content. For content, they are terms that are in close connection with the topic. In reality, every time you type something in search engines, it can represent a keyword or combination of keywords.

Search engines use them to connect search queries with relevant content. And, what website owners interest the most, engines use them to rank your content in SERPs. With better optimization, your website will rank higher when someone is searching for a specific term. For example, if own a bike shop, keywords you could use are “top bike shop in Dallas”, or “best bikes for kids”.

What is keyword density?

Now that you know what the keywords are, let’s be clear about the density. In simple words, it’s the number of times the keywords repeats in proportion to the content. This is why the number of repetitions can’t go without the length of the content. If you have your keyword mentioned 5 times on your 100 words content, the density will be much greater than if the content is 500 words in length.

This really matters because search engines use it to evaluate the relevance of your page. That’s why you should avoid bad practices like keyword stuffing and unnatural implementation. But you also don’t want to use too little keywords, or your content will not be ranked for the term. It’s all about finding the perfect balance, and it doesn’t have to be the same for everyone.

“Content is King” written in a cloud of words.
You need quality content first, then proper keyword density.

How to calculate it?

The math behind the keyword density calculation is quite straightforward. In general, you need a relation between the number of keywords and the entire content:

(keyword / content) * 100(%) – This result will be the percentage value we call keyword density.

(40 / 800) * 100 = 5% – This will be keyword density of 5%, for 40 keywords in the content of 800 words.

Even though the formula itself is simple, imagine you need to do it manually for the entire website. Including all the anchor texts on each page. Fortunately, there are many useful tools to help you with this.

A physical lock on the text content.
Even though you can calculate the density, you can’t lock on those values entirely.

Tools to help you with keyword density

Here is a couple of valuable tools you can use for checking your keyword density:

  • SmalSEOTools – a simple and free tool to find your keyword density in the content. All you need to do is to place the URL of your content or to copy-paste it if it’s still in progress. Next, enter the desired keyword and choose if you want to include meta tags, titles, and alt titles into the calculation.
  • Keyword Density Analysis Tool from Internet Marketing Ninjas – another free tool you can use for keyword density checking. Once you enter the URL of the content, it gives you a detailed report. From words from the entire text ranked by their occurrence to words from the non-linked text.
  • Keyword Density Checker from Webconfs.com – This simple tool checks the URL, extracts the entire text, and analyze the density of each keyword. You get Keyword Cloud and percentage value for each word.

What density to aim for?

You can read from various sources online about their recommendations for optimal keyword density. Usually, these values can be anywhere between 0.5% to more than 3%. The truth is, no one knows the values for sure, and it’s all the assumptions. Everyone is using what they think the best percentage is. Google is more focused on user experience and is not revealing the significance nor the values for density. If you have to choose, probably between 1% and 2% is the safest choice. However, there is a couple of guidelines you should follow when making content:

  • Avoid keyword stuffing
  • Position your keywords properly
  • Pick the right keywords
  • Make quality, user-friendly content

In the end, if you want proper optimization today, don’t dissect your content into pieces. SEO is one entirely complex part of content marketing and should be considered as a whole. Work on it with the wider picture in mind. Of course, you should always follow the best practices, but don’t rely on mere numbers. The best keyword density for search engines can be some value between two numbers, but you should include other factors as well. Without creative, useful, and valuable content, no numbers will improve your ranking, for example.

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