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Everything you wanted to know about Keyword Density

Ever wondered how to calculate keyword density for your website and why does it even matter in the first place. In this feature, we answer some questions around this often misused term.


If you are reading this blog, then you must be familiar with the term Keywords in online content. You may be well aware of its significance as well.

But if you are wondering about all the fuss on Keyword Density and how crucial it is in developing good content - content that is “saleable” and “searchable”- here you go.

What is Keyword Density?

Keyword density is the frequency at which a target keyword is repeated on your website or web page. It helps your web page’s visibility on Search Engine results and boosts its ranking on Google.

In today’s elaborate SEO canvas, keyword extends to keyphrase as well, including a target phrase rather than a single word.

Keyword or key phrase density is an integral part of SEO optimisation. Optimising a web page means to include the specific keywords or phrases in the content that your target audience is looking for.

Why would Keyword or keyphrase density matter?

When a user types in a search query, Google identifies related web pages through the prominence of the keywords. When your web page has sufficient keywords or keyphrases that your target audience uses in their search queries, it is easier for the search engines to locate it.

A neglected, inadequate, or overloaded keyword density could do more harm, than favor, to your Google ranking. You must know what keyword density is and how it is determined, to use it effectively for your web pages.

How to Calculate Keyword Density

There is a simple formula that would help you calculate the keyword density for your web page. Take the number of times a keyword appears on the web page and divide it by the total number of words present on the page.

For instance, your web page has 1000 words and the keyword is used 10 times, then the keyword density for that page would be: 10 divided by 1000 = 1%.

For an average of 100 words, to get a 3% keyword density, the keyword must appear 3 times.

If you are looking for key phrase density, then here’s the secret formula:

Keyphrase Density = { Nkr / (Tkn -[Nkr x (Nwp-1) ] ) } x 100

● Nkr refers to the number of times a specific key phrase is repeated

● Tkn refers to the total number of words in the content

● Nwp refers to the number of words in the key phrase

The Perfect Keyword Density for SEO

Now, how do you know that the keyword density or key phrase density on your web page is perfect to impress the search engines?

Well, unfortunately, there is nothing like a “perfect” keyword density!

There are no set regulations that would straight away tell you the percentage of keywords that will rank your website better. The optimal keyword density for each page and each phrase differs.

Google algorithms are unpredictable and forever changing. The crawlers and robots continuously look for something new over the web, but baiting them with appropriate keywords and direct keyword placement is tricky.

If you want to check in on the frequent updates by Google, take a glance at Google Algorithm updates

Though experts differ on the impressive percentage of keyword density, in general, anything between 1-5% could succeed in grabbing the attention of the Google bots.

The best advice is to keep it natural! Write good quality, original content and insert the keywords in the most suitable and contextual places.

What is the Right Keyword Distribution?

If the density of Keywords on a web page is crucial, so is its placement. Keyword placement does affect SEO.

You need to know where and how to insert primary and secondary keywords. Even for bringing in organic traffic, you need to have the correct placement of your keywords or you will miss it out to your competitors.

How do keyword density and keyword placement go hand in hand? Do they both require strategizing?

For example, assume that you have a primary keyword and 3 secondary keywords for a blog of 1500 words and above.

How do you distribute them effectively across the page?

  • Title and H1 tags

Keywords on your title and H1 or H2 tags are indeed SEO-impressive. But the fundamental factor is to remember that your web content is primarily for the users. Not exclusively for search engines!

Hence keep it natural.

The flair of writing great titles and tags to attract your target audience is to create original, intriguing headlines around the keywords or keyphrases. That would please the SEO and lure in the crowd as well!

Creating quality content that is original, attractive and SEO optimised is a fine craft we enjoy and specialise in!

  • Balance it

Remember to insert the words across the content in a balanced manner. Do not concentrate on any particular portion or division. Google bots scan only that content where the keywords are present. Omitting the keywords in any particular portion will give the wrong signal to the search engines that the specific portion is not relevant!

  • Use synonyms

Most often, while ensuring sufficient keyword density, the writer may get stuck around the specific keyword. Repeating the same word throughout the content to ensure optimisation could seem tacky. One smart way of escapism is to use synonyms. Though synonyms may not come directly under Google’s interpretation of keywords, the search engines do identify contexts and synonyms much better than we expect them to!

Using synonyms is not only “SEO safe” but adds quality and depth to the content and makes it look less artificial.

How Keyword Stuffing Demotes Your Web page

Avoid overloading your web page with keywords in the hope that Google bots will get hooked no matter what. Keyword stuffing is a strict NO-NO and Google can penalize your page if things go overboard!

Though keyword density is part of SEO optimisation, it isn't the sole factor that determines Google ranking. The quality of the content matters too - content that is original, precise and interesting. Stuffing it with keywords at all irrelevant junctions would drain it off its authenticity.

As per Google for SEO guidelines, "Keyword stuffing" refers to the practice of overloading a web page with keywords with an intention to influence the page’s or website’s ranking on Google search results. These keywords could appear out of context and artificial.

Stuffing a page or pages with keywords or numbers can cause negative user-experience. This could harm your website's ranking.

Hence, next time you come up with a keyword or keyphrase for a web page, make sure it stands safe between a 1-5% boundary of repetition or ‘density’ and is neither ignored nor splurged. The wise strategy is to create useful, content that is information-rich and that has keywords used in context and appropriately.

Extra tips that would help you with keyword density

  • The relation of TF- IDF with Keyword density and SEO

Tf-IDF is a statistical measure that could increase the page ranking on Google. Term frequency and inverse document frequency, popularly known as Tf-IDF, proves how a keyword is much more relevant to the document. Google takes this into consideration and adjusts its position accordingly.

Generally used for document search and information retrieval in ML (Machine Language) and NLP (Natural Language Processing), TF- IDF score can also be calculated by simply counting manually or adjusting and distributing keywords as per the length of the document so it doesn’t look stuffed.

As for IDF or inverse document frequency, it highlights how rare a word is in the content.

For instance, common words like ‘what, if, and’ etc are numbered as 0 on a scale, and rare words like ‘optimization’ that are found specifically in industry-specific documents are scaled higher.

You can just multiply the two numbers found in Tf and IDF and get the score. As you approach a higher score, the better the chances of the documents constructed with relevant words.

Even though keyword density or key phrase density affects the ranking on Google Searches, it is as well important to keep it balanced with natural content. If you are not sure of merging both without looking odd or spammy, you might need the assistance of a well-experienced and knowledgeable content provider to build your web content up. Contact ThePendits for a free consultation on keyword optimised creative content. Get to know more about Netfix, our licensed tool for SEO optimisation.

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