What is the Ideal Keyword Density for SEO?


Keyword density

As a blogger, you might have heard the term. But what's the good keyword density?

For getting the most out of Google, higher Keyword density helps. Right?
What if I say it is wrong? Bam.

So what is keyword density?
Alright, keyword density refers to the ratio of the number of total words to that of the total words containing the keyword.

Let's say you have your 3-word keyword appeared twice in your 200-word article. Then your keyword density would be,
(((32)/200)100)% that is in this case it is 3%.

Also read:

Does higher keyword density, boosts your ranking for your target keyword? The answer is yes. But to some extent. Nevertheless, if you keep your keyword density above normal, you will certainly become the victim of keyword stuffing.

Keywords only tell Google what your content is about.

What is the ideal keyword density?

There's no magic number. The keyword density depends upon the nature of the keyword and content.

In some sort of posts, more keyword density would make the blog post unreadable.

For example,

If you are targeting long tail keywords, then you need less keyword density. On the other hand, if you're targeting highly competitive short tail keywords, then you need more keyword density.

Stuffing long tail keywords in your blog content renders your content unreadable. However, short tail, one-word keywords can hold a bit of it.

As I said earlier there is no magic number, the ideal keyword density is that which keeps your content natural and human readable.

If you are baffled about what keyword density to keep up, search for the high-ranking similar blog posts that you are blogging about.
Examine what keyword density they have maintained.  Optimize the keyword placement better than them. Keep the same keyword density.

FACT: Blog posts with high word count tend to rank higher because they cover more keywords. A blog post with 1000 words and 2% keyword density rank easily higher than that of blog post with 500 words with the same 2% keyword density.

If you are looking for a tool, to optimize your post for several variants of the keyword, and suggest you keyword density, I recommend you try out SEOPressor(my review). It is the best on-page SEO plugin for WordPress till date.

Where to include the main keyword

Entirely ignoring the main keyword may somewhat be not advised.

Once you find the effective keyword targeting in your blog post, preferably long tail keywords, The next job for you is to optimize your blog content for that keyword.

The positioning of main keywords matters a lot.

For example, take 2 pieces of content having the same keyword density of 2%. If in the first piece of content, keyword appears in the first paragraph and in the second piece of content, the keyword does not appear in the first paragraph, then the first blog content may rank well.
If the second blog content is in the site with high authority, then the game changes.

So where to include those main keywords?

Here are the places where you can include the exact main keyword in your blog post.

  • Blog URL
  • Blog post title
  • The first paragraph of the blog post
  • The ending paragraph of the blog post
  • Include KW in one or 2 ALT tags of your images
  • Anchor text of your backlinks
  • Anchor text of your internal links

Don't stress too much on usage of keywords in your blog posts. Keywords automatically included in your blog post once you speak your mind.
In Layman terms, " A blogger who is not at all concentrating on keyword optimization can rank outstandingly in Google."

How to boost keyword density without repeating keywords?

As you may know that, Google also looks at the related keywords to the mainstream keywords in your blog content. Including keywords related to the content of your blog, greatly boosts SEO of your blog.

Keywords related to the main keywords for your blog are called as LSI keywords.

They help Google in accurately finding out the nature of the content on your blog. It also helps Google to develop its LSI index.
LSI keywords are also called as semantic keywords. I have already discussed in detail about how to do semantic keyword research.

For example, let me take the example. The terms "LSI" and "semantic" are closely related. They form a single entity (keywords with same meaning). As they are nothing but the main keyword in the eyes of Google, they boost keyword density.

Uniformly spread these LSI keywords all over your article. The usage of these keywords makes your blog content seem natural and SEO friendly.

Why is keyword density losing its importance?
Keyword density is not as important as it once did.

With the arrival of LSI algo and stress on off page SEO, keyword density is definitely losing its importance.
Google looks at the anchor texts of backlinks and internal links, to rank the content for the keyword.

Rather than including the main keyword repeatedly in the blog content, including the keyword in the anchor text of backlinks and internal links would make more sense.

Remember that including the same anchor text in tons of your back links may penalize you. It will be an intelligent step to include LSI keywords as anchor text of your backlinks, by keeping the future of SEO in mind.

There is hardly any correlation between the rankings and the keyword density in the blog content.

Here's Matt Cutts views on ideal keyword density for SEO.


13 thoughts on “What is the Ideal Keyword Density for SEO?

  1. Hi Akshay,

    Helpful breakdown! I have a love-hate relationship with keywords. Old skool me hated keywords because I was ignorant of the SEO game ;)….new me, loves 'em. But like cooking a fish, don't overdo it. Take your time.

    With heavier emphasis on semantic you need not go bonkers on keyword usage, meaning, you can lighten up a bit on density. Write for people first. Create a readable post, pepper in keywords and key phrases, then take it from there.

    Other than that, write kick butt posts! I pack 7,000 word posts or 6K on a really bad day, ha!…..once each week, and I gotta say, so far, so good. I'm not ranking for keywords yet but think my laid back SEO style and depth of content should work nicely.

    Akshay, thanks for the keyword density primer!


    • Ryan. You are damn true. "Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth", too much of robotic approach drives readers crazy.

      With emphasis of semantics one should not go bonkers with it. Too much is too difficult to handle in future. Go through and update and every post? Seems hilarious.
      However the semantic keywords are sprinkled automatically once you write for your readers.

      It's the matter of readers and not feeding the bot.

      Depth of content returns great benefit. It's perceptible.

      Thanks for the comment Ryan.
      Have a great productive day ahead.

  2. Hello mate,

    Love the way you presented the article. Interesting approach to the ideal keyword density. Though I have to agree and disagree with you at the same time. I always believe it's better to write for reader rather than search engines. Because search engine algorithm are getting cleaver with each passing days. If you mechanically stuff keyword in your post that going to affect your SEO score. Might not immediately but later sometime for sure.

    After making a great keyword research if one writes natural blog post, I don't think he has to worry about keyword density.

    Anyway, Thanks for the great insight though.


    • Hey, Saikat.
      Writing natural blog posts that are intended solely for blog readers is important. Those kind of blogs are future-proof.

      One day Google will become a human proofreader and ditch all the low-quality shallow content from SERPs. The rate at which the Google is improving its intelligence by making use of latent semantic indexing shocks me!

      Thanks for stopping by. Have a nice day ahead.

  3. Thanks for the tips on keyword density Akshay.

    I usually maintain a maximum of 3% keyword density ratio on my blog and get decent traffic through search engines.

    No doubts, keyword density is losing its importance now a days. One should avoid over stuffing keywords in blog posts.

  4. This is really helpful. Thanks for sharing it here. Also, I am currently researching the importance of keyword density in a post and to a site and I found this http://www.lionleaf.com/blog/what-is-keyword-density/ which gives positive results as well but your ideas are really interesting to read and apply. I just want to know if you happen to make use of keyword density to an eCommerce site or to a simple blog post particularly to the beginners in the industry? I want to hear your thoughts about this one. Thanks!

  5. HI,

    It is well written article that will help new bloggers. It is very important for them to understand the keyword density. Because over using of the keywords will make eligible for the penalty.

    They need to understand the proper use of the keyword as compared to the overall words. Hopefully, this article will motivate many.

    Thanks again for the sharing a quality.
    kumar sunil

  6. I acquired enough understanding of keyword density with this one post. I always attempt to make helpful great content material, do an investigation, some evaluation. I am certain that that you're walking the credit for your. Try to create it appear natural rather than over optimizing the actual anchor textual content. Remember which its we're ultimately optimizing with regard to Users and also the users tend to be gonna purchase our items not search engines like google.

  7. Hi Akshay,

    After reading this post, I think I pretty much know why I don’t rank well in Google. My keyword density is like 1% lol. It’s going to take a while to fix that I guess 🙁

    Thanks for the info.

  8. Ideal keyword density is 2 to 3 percent. its usually depends on your content length. now google to consider keywords density however if you would like to add some keywords for optimizing web page, you can.

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