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Keyword Density


Keyword density is the measured frequency of relevant keywords within and/or related to a given subject. In other words, it is the number of keywords divided by the aggregate of words.

(# of Keywords / Total # of words) x 100 = % Keyword density

This empirical metric estimates the potential potency of SEO for a given page and associated site. In that regard, keyword density is a way to efficiently improve content before publishing. That said, one must be careful as to how many keywords are being used, and how many times they are repeated through a particular piece of content. A density that is too high or low can have negative effects. It is commonly recommended to maintain a keyword density between approximately 1.5% and 2.5%.

In short, the SEO performance of keywords is dictated by keyword density. 

Réalisation d'un cocon sémantique

Applied Example

Identify keywords

You want to make a website for your business. To increase your site’s SEO, you decide to write content about your business and industry. You begin by identifying words and phrases (short- and long-tail keywords) related to your products/services. This can be done by conducting basic online searches to see what people are looking for and what content is popular, or by subscribing to a professional service or software.

Tip: Check the “People Also Ask” section on the results page

Avoid low-SEO keywords

Then you begin to identify keywords and phrases that are specific to your brand. Combining generalized and site-specific content is a great way to increase visibility while providing valuable information. This is crucial because certain keywords are high on the keyword difficulty scale (KD scale). These overarching umbrella words tend to reflect an overgeneralization when it comes to SEO. You can use common sense to avoid keywords with high difficulty, or subscribe to a professional software service or software. However, it is just as important to avoid keywords that are too low on the scale. These words tend to be overly specific or generally unpopular, and thereby will do little to improve a site’s SEO. 

Tip: Complement popular keywords with site-specific keywords

Content Length

The next step is to write content, but how much should you write? Word count can often be an overlooked facet of SEO, but content length is also methodical, as the denominator, it directly coincides with keyword density. Writing too much can dilute your keywords, and writing too little can inhibit the number of and quality of keywords. To know how much to write, identify the average length of popular content pages you found while researching keywords. This will give you an idea of how much to write – aim to match the average word count.

Tip: Content length should reflect the average word count of popular content.

Calculating keyword density

Before publishing, you want to make sure that your work is calibrated for SEO. There are a number of free analysis tools online to calculate your keyword density. Generally speaking, SEO developers consider a keyword density of 1.5% to 2.5% to be ideal. 

Tip:  1.5% > Keyword density > 2.5%

If you write a page of 1000 words, it should contain between 15 and 25 keywords. How can we check? If your content included 21 keywords you have a keyword density of 2.1%. See below:

(21 keywords / 1000 words of content) x 100= 2.1%

How to alleviate density

If your calculated Keyword density is too high, it means your content is over saturated with keywords. It is important to remember that digital marketing is a way to increase a site’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERP’s) but it does not trump quality of content.

Tip: Avoid Keyword Cannibalization 

Keyword Clustering

Contemporary search engines are calibrated to comprehend semantics using context clues. So, to avoid repetitive and robotic content, integrate synonyms and contextualize concepts. 

Diversify Content

Use images, videos, graphics, and diagrams to communicate information in a varied, and interesting way. These components can act as standalone means of drawing traffic, and credibility.

Tip: Include Alt attributes (i.e. alternative text) for audio-visual content

Tip:  Do not duplicate content.

Prioritize Hotspots

While the bulk of keywords can be found occupying the body of content, keywords themselves can be methodologically placed to maximize their SEO potency. 

This process is commonly known as keyword stuffing. There are several keyword hotspots:

Interlink Concepts

When curating content, expand on concepts to drive ideas forward. In other words, include related topics and illustrate its applicability in various contexts; draw comparisons, identify differences and similarities. If you have already discussed a relevant topic in depth, use a dofollow hyperlink to direct the reader to that page (Internal linking). 

Tip: Use anchor text links to interlink one content page with another.  

Remember: Quantity does not replace Quality

Keyword density vs. TF-IDF

Term frequency and inverse document frequency, or TF-IDF, is a more comprehensive measure of keyword density. Rather than calculating the relevance of a word by its frequency, it deduces the importance of a word.

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