Keyword Density - The Right Balance

Written By: Stephen Scott
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How many times should keywords be used in a web page? Many people have been told to use keywords frequently so that search engines will rank your pages higher and send more traffic. Actually, like most SEO techniques, keywords should be used in moderation.

Keyword Density Defined

Before we can begin the discussion of keyword density (or, keyword frequency as it's often referred), we first need to understand how keyword density is measured. Keyword density is actually a measure of the number of times your keyword appears "anywhere" on a page, and it's expressed as a percentage of the total number of words on that page. For example, if your page has 100 keywords, and your keyword phrase appears 10 times, its density is 10%.

Notice the word "anywhere" is quoted in the previous paragraph. That's because when measuring keyword density, you not only include keywords that are visible as text on a web page, but also keywords that appear anywhere within the HTML code on the page (ie. meta tags such as the meta title, meta keywords and meta description). This is how which search engines calculate keyword density.

Once again, lets use an example to calculate keyword frequency:

Lets say you have 100 words within the body of your web page, 10 words in your Meta Title, 20 words in your Meta Description and 30 words in your Alt Tags, your total word count is 100 + 10 + 20 + 30 = 160.

Therefore, if your keyword appears 6 times within the body of your page (outside of an HTML tag), 4 times in the Meta Title, 2 times in the Meta Description and 6 times in Alt Text tags, your total keyword count is 6 + 4 + 2 + 6 = 18. So with a total word count of 160 and a keyword count of 18, your keyword density is 18/160 x 100 = 11%.

When talking about and measuring keyword density, it's important to understand how search engines measure density and utilize that in your calculations.

So, What is the Optimum Keyword Density?

SEO experts differ as to the ideal density of keywords one should use. That's because search engine companies do not disclose the details of their algorithms with regards to keyword density calculations. That leaves even experienced web designers making educated guesses. Some SEO experts have suggested that Google sees pages with a keyword density in excess of 2% as sp@m.

However, when doing our own keyword density research on top ranked sites using the keyword "website design", we have found keyword densities ranging anywhere from 6% to as high as 18%.

Our recommendation would be to keep your keyword density between 2% and 10%, but please keep in mind, no one knows the specifics of how search engine algorithms calculate keyword density. We would also suggest doing your own research on top listed pages using your keywords to see what ranks high on the top search engines.

Check Your Keyword Density

To check your web page keyword density we suggest using Keyword Density Check. It's Free!


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