February 7, 2023 Shankari Das

Keyword Density: A Google Ranking Factor

When you write SEO-optimized content, how many keywords are just enough? How many are too many? Who will tell you the correct figure? And what happens if Google and other search engines determine your website is “stuffed” with keywords?

Keyword density is also called keyword frequency. It is the number of times a specific keyword appears on your webpage compared to the total word count. It is often reported as a percentage or a ratio. Meaning the higher the value, the more your selected keyword appears on your page.


What is Keyword Density?

Do we have a perfect percentage of keywords that can positively affect your ranking? You should know about keyword density as it is an essential factor.

It is an essential piece to the SEO puzzle which can help you achieve a Page 1 position in Google. Why is it so highly regarded? As you know keywords are important to Google. It becomes challenging to rank content for a specific term when your words do not appear in the on-page text.

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In our article, we will dig into why it matters. They offer functional formulas, and simple tools will make sure your keyword strategies are working as intended.

Today there are several online tools available that you can use to check the keyword density of your content. There are plenty of free tools, and you can find a bunch of them online.

The only real reason for checking keyword density in your content is if you are working with freelance writers. Especially when you want to ensure that your content has not been keyword stuffed.

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What is good keyword density?

BThere are no hard and fast rules today, but keyword density but you should stuff your page with keywords. Many SEOs recommend using approximately 1-2 percent keywords for every 100 words of copy. The factor is about 1 to 2 percent keyword density.

Remember that your content might perform similarly with slightly more or slightly less. You should do a keyword research before. But general wisdom holds that Google and other search engines respond well to keyword density if your page has around 0.5 percent.

It is also worth remembering the value of keyword variants. You can use words and phrases that are similar, but not identical – to your primary keyword. Say your website sells outdoor lighting solutions. Your highest-value keyword for SERPs is “outdoor lighting”. Stuffing as many of these keywords into your web page might reduce rather than improve overall SEO.

Instead, you can consider keyword variants, phrases, and terms closer to your primary keyword but not an exact copy. It may include variants such as a deck, garden, patio, and landscape lighting, which can help your page rank higher without a problem.


What is Keyword Stuffing?

Do you know what keyword stuffing is? It is the practice of writing low-quality content having a higher-than-average frequency of the same keyword.

This practice is often called keyword stuffing. It is a black-hat SEO practice leading to penalization and even full-on removal from the SERPs.

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The purpose of keyword stuffing is to trick search engines like Google into ranking your page higher in the search engine results pages. Note that the black-hat tactic no longer works.

During the initial days of the first search engines, brands and SEO firms would write low-value content and cram it with keywords and keyword tags. They would also fill the page with links to similarly-stuffed pages on the same site. Not surprisingly, visitors would become frustrated, and search engine providers realized they needed a better approach over time.

Nowadays, keyword stuffing has the opposite effect. Search engines will penalize your page rankings of websites that will try to stuff keywords.


Best Practices for Keyword Density

Despite the latest changes in Google’s algorithms, keyword density is not a crucial ranking factor. However, experts still recommend sticking to the best practices.

Following a few of these practices will help you achieve better results.

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Here are some best practices when creating content.

Here are some best practices when creating content.

1. Never aim for specific keyword density.

You should understand there is no such thing as optimal keyword density. It is a factor that will help you to rank. It is more likely to have the opposite effect.

The reason is – Google sees artificially adding keywords to a page as keyword stuffing. With this practice, Google thinks – it is an attempt to manipulate the algorithm at the expense of user experience. We all know that Google is all about the user experience.

You need to know that keyword stuffing goes directly against Google’s Webmaster guidelines. It means you are filling pages with keywords or numbers that might result in a negative user experience. In the end, it can harm your site’s ranking. You may ask if it is a black-hat SEO tactic – which is no longer a viable option.

So what should you do instead? The answer’s simple. You should forget about keyword density and write naturally. You should mention your keywords in the text. But remember that you do not have to put in any specific effort to do so – because it happens naturally as you write.

2. Focus on topic coverage instead.

Indeed, Google may not look at keyword density, but it indeed looks at topic coverage. Instead of adding your target keyword over and over again, try to cover the topic as fully as possible. It means including subtopics that searchers might expect to see.

To find ideas for subtopics for your web page, take your cue from what is already ranking. For instance, search for your target keyword on Google, scan each page, and open up a few top-ranking pages. Also, look for standard subheadings.

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3. Include keywords in key places.

While you should not stuff keywords into your content, it might make sense to include your main keyword in a few prominent places like:

1 Title tag
2 H1
3 Meta description

Remember that in all of the above cases, you should only include your keyword only if it feels natural to do so. Do not stuff it in just for the sake of it. Also, feel free to use close keyword variations instead – as that might make more sense.

For example, you chose to target the keyword “how to get more YouTube subscribers”. In such a case, it might make more sense to include a number in the title. So you may write it as – 8 Ways to Get More YouTube Subscribers, instead.

It is not an exact-match keyword, but that is fine. Google is smart enough to know that the title is about – how to get more YouTube subscribers. It means a variation will help your rankings.


Keyword Density Tools

You can only do the math on keyword density by calculating the total word and keyword counts across every page on your website. It can quickly become time- and resource-intensive as and when your website expands and your web page volumes increase.

Note that these tools will help streamline this process.

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Some potential options include:

1 Semrush’s On-Page SEO Checker

Semrush has a powerful on-page SEO checker that includes a keyword density checker – named keyword phrase used within the tool. The tool also contains automated SEO checkups, reports, and keyword density assessments.

It can also assess titles and metadata, backlink prospecting tools, and in-depth site crawls, scans, and reports. Interestingly the tool also has features that can help you compare your keyword density with your competition’s. But it comes at a premium price.

Semrush is not a keyword density checker, but also a powerful SEO tool that helps you with all aspects of on-page SEO. You can also learn how many times competitors are using certain keywords. You can then get closer to their performance levels by adhering to some of the industry standards.

2 Copywritely Keyword Density Checker

Another tool Copywritely’s keyword density checker will show your top keywords by density, and even color code terms that come up often. This tool is a bit more limited than the others. But it is a great starter tool.

The simplicity and user-friendliness of the tool make it a good option if you are looking for a quick, at-a-glance keyword density checker. Next, you can sign up for an account if you want to check and correct errors.

3 SEO Review Tools Keyword Density Checker

This free tool is browser-based. All you need to do is to input your site URL or page text. Then complete the captcha to perform a keyword density check. The tool does not offer in-depth analytics of other options, but it is a great way to get an overview of your current keyword density.


Why Is It Important for SEO?

Your keyphrase density is essential for SEO primarily because Google tries to match a user’s search query to the best-fitting web pages. To do so, Google tries to fit your web pages with a specific query. All because Google needs to understand what your web page is about.

That is why you should use keywords and key phrases in your content.

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You should include the phase in your web page for which you want to rank in your copy. It often comes naturally. If you’d like to rank for, for instance – bake vegan pancakes – you will probably use this phrase regularly throughout your text. It is just enough.

You would agree that repeating your keyphrase very often in your copy may become unpleasant to read. That is something you should avoid. After all, you want users to enjoy and understand your document well. A copy with high keyphrase density also signals to Google that you might be stuffing keywords – also known as over-optimizing. The reason is that Google likes to show the best result to users, both in terms of readability and relevance. Hence it could negatively affect your rankings.

Why Keyword Density Matters

But remember that keywords are a critical part of your SEO strategy. With relevant content and optimized website design, ranking for the right keywords will help your website stand out from the crowd. It will also help you get closer to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).

Doing your research will help you select and rank for top-performing keywords. Finally, boosting user engagement and increasing total sales.

Why? Because keywords will drive searches. When users look for services or products, they typically use a keyword that reflects their general intent. Remember that you can not simply “stuff” as many keywords as possible into your content and expect reliable results.


Keyword density might not be one of the critical factors today. But if you ask any long-time SEO professional, you will hear lots of evidence that keyword density worked and worked quite well.

Today, though, keyword density is not worth stressing about. As long as you use the word or phrase a few times in your entire content, you will likely aim for a specific ratio – then you are good.

At the least, use the keyword in your meta description, page title, and first paragraph. Then limit the use to a few more times throughout your complete copy. Also, remember that there is no perfect percentage of keywords to use, but your page should not have keyword stuffing.

Read on similar topics like online writing, end user, SEO strategy, user experience, seo services, social media platforms, SEO company Dubai, and more.

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