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Keyword Density SEO

keyword density seoquake

Keyword density seo firstly involves keyword density analysis. It is an on-page analysis of the number of times a keyword or keyphrase is repeated, usually expressed in percentage. It is one of the basic seo practice a webmaster learns early in his venture in the the online world. And every seo ‘guru’ I’ve read either tells you that this and this are the best keyword density to use in your page to help you attain higher serps, or simply orders you to repeat your keywords 2 or at most 3 times in the whole page.

To check keyword density, you can either manually count the number of times the keyword/keyphrase is repeated on the page or use keyword density tools* which abound online. I, however, only use the keword density tool that comes with the SEOQuake plugin. If you’re not a newbie and through some unexplainable mystery you haven’t heard of SEOQuake, you can enlighten yourself by going to their website: www.seoquake.com.

In my case, I opted to display the SEOQuake plugin vertically at the upper leftmost side of the browser. And the ‘Density’ link which I click to get the keyword density of a page is at the bottom of the SQ bar.

Proper Keyword Density To Use

Seemed like I’ve read from countless ‘gurus’ who preach about the proper keyword density to use in our pages. And all of them (ok, actually just most of them) would bet their lives on 3% to 5% keyword density seo, and that ‘you should never exceed it’. So, of course, I followed their advice. I have a website on which I used 4.42% keyword density. After a while it got to the first page on the serp and is modestly at number 1 to this day. Ergo, the 3% to 5% keyword density range works.

Then, I also have another website which is also at the top of the serp which registered 9.73% keyword density. I can’t recall exactly why this is so. Maybe, I forgot about limiting my keyword density (to never exceed 5%) in this site, or I probably heard some rebel guru saying 10% works for him. The site www.creditcards.com also shfreedogtraininginfoowed a 6.75% keyword density for the keyphrase ‘credit cards’. Ergo, keyword density beyond 5% and up to 10% works.

But wait, why is www.cesarsway.com at number 2 (while www.freedogtraininginfo.com/ is at number 3) for the keyword ‘dog training’ where the keyword density for ‘dog training’ in www.cesarsway.com/ is a whooping 0.48. Way way less than even 1%! On the page itself, you won’t see a single instance of the phrase ‘dog training’. But it actually has this phrase in the meta keyword tags in the source code, and also in the second level of the dropdown menu. Personally, I also have an inner page of one of my sites which lodged itself at number 2 for a keyphrase where the number 1 is the main page of the same site. The inner page’s keyword density is just 0.81%.

I got a feeling that keyword density may not really have that much weight as we used to assume it has. Apparently, its purpose is to help the search engines know what topic your page is all about, or in seo terms, which keyword you’re driving to rank at. In the case where the search engines tossed up to the top of the serp some pages which barely had any of the keywords/keyphrase on them, I can surmise a few things working behind this:

  • The search engine thinks it has figured out the topic the page is about. Although the page only lightly touched about the ‘keyphrase’, the search engine thinks that the site is an authority on the matter. I’ve had experience about this where my site also ranked for the synonym of the keywords, yet the site never mentioned the synonym word.
  • Relative to the above idea, sometimes an inner page that mentions the keyphrase even superficially, gets to appear in the top serp following its main site, as a double entry. Since the main page ranked highly for the keyword, the search engine thinks the inner page deserved to become a double entry since it probably is a page that supports or discussed further the matter contained in the main page.
  • The search engine made a mistake. I’ve seen this thing happen especially with brand new sites with domain names that contained the keyword. For a week or two, these sites appear in the top 5 or 10 in the serps for the keyword/keyphrase. And all it contained is ‘the keyword-in-domain.com is under construction’ or ‘Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod …’ or some utterly unhelpful content. Ok, maybe not really a mistake, because this usually gets fixed after a couple of weeks, but this just goes to show that search engines, google in particular, does not really care that much about keyword density. It showed that it cared more about keyword in the domain name than keyword density. Or, to put it in a more seo-correct manner, it puts more weight on one over the other.

Then again, there’s always the ‘backlinks’ factor, which I believe is even heavier than the keyword-in-the-domain factor. There are countless cases that support this premise. One proverbial case is the ‘click here’ keyphrase. Google it and you’ll see adobe.com lording it at the top. On number 3 is clickhere.com. And on number 4 is apple.com’s quicktime download page. This however is a topic best discussed another day.

Back to keyword density seo. I still would stick with the 3% to 5% ‘rule’, but as far as experience is concerned, I wouldn’t mind stretching it to as high as 9% as long as it does not come out too spammy and unreadable.

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*This Wiki page lists some relevant keyword density tools online.

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