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Keyword Density, Calculate the Perfect SEO Score

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Keyword Density, Calculate the Perfect SEO Score

Many years ago, when search engine technology was fairly primitive, keyword density, in the context of search engine optimization, was the measure of a web page, not any more. The proliferation of web spam has made keyword density, by itself, a poor measure of SEO relevancy.

  • Today, the overuse of keywords, a practice called keyword stuffing, will cause a web page to be penalized.

What is Keyword Density

Keyword density is the percentage of times a keyword or phrase appears on a web page compared to the total number of words on the page.

  • Keyword density = (Nkr * Nwp / Tw) * 100
  • Where, Nkr is the number of time a specific keyword is repeated, Nwp is the number of words in the keyword phrase and Tw is the total number of words in the analysed text.
  • So, for a page of text containing 800 words with a keyword phrase repeated 8 times, containing 3 words, the keyword density is (8*3/800)*100 or 3 percent.

Although the above seems to be the general way of calculating keyword density, personally I think this is incorrect. In my opinion the original concept of keyword density refers to the frequency of the keyword phrase as an entity. So a keyword phrase should be considered a single entity in itself. This would change the calculation to:

  • Keyword density = (Nkr * 1 / Tw) * 100

Sophisticated Scoring Algorithms

Search engines now incorporate highly sophisticated scoring algorithms to analyse page and link data which only similar advanced tools such as those provided by Wordtracker (Free Trial) can match.

Dr. E. Garcia explained why keyword density was a bad measure of relevancy in The keyword density of Non Sense[http://www.e-marketing-news.co.uk/Mar05/garcia.html].

  • Search engines may place significant weight on domain age, site authority, link anchor text and usage data.
  • Each search engine has it’s own weighting algorithms. These are different for every major search engine.
    • Each search engine has it’s own vocabulary system which helps them understand related words.
    • Some might place more weight on the above domain-wide & offsite factors, while others might put a bit more weight on on-page content.
    • The page title is typically weighted more than most any other text on the page.
    • The meta keywords tags, comments tags, and other somewhat hidden inputs may be given less weight than page copy. For instance, most large scale hypertext search engines put 0 weight on the meta keyword tag.
    • Page copy which is bolded, linked, or in a heading tag is likely given greater weighting than normal text.
  • Weights are relative.
    • If your whole page is in an H1 tag that looks shady, and it does not place more weight on any of the text since all the page copy is in it.
    • You probably want to avoid doing things like bolding H1 text as it is doubtful it will make a page seem any more relevant.
  • Excessive focus on density falls short on a number of fronts.
    • When people focus too much on keyword density they tend to write content which people would not be interested in reading or linking at.
    • Lots of queries are a bit random in nature. When people tweak up page copy for an arbitrarily higher keyword density they typically end up removing some of the modifier terms that were helping the page appear relevant for many 3 and 4 word search queries.
    • Semantic related algorithms may look at supporting vocabulary when determining the relevancy of a page. If you pulled the keyword phrase you were targeting out of your page copy would it still be easy for a search engine to mathematically model what that phrase was and what your page is about given the supporting text? If so, then your rankings will be far more stable AND you will likely rank for a far wider basket of related keywords.

Keyword Density is Not All Negative

Given the right strategies, keyword density tools are still quite valuable, a good keyword density analysis tool such as those provided by Wordtracker (Free Trial) can still help you uncover a lot of opportunities, including:

  • discovering the keywords used by your competitors.
  • looking at competing sites for keyword phrases and keyword modifiers to use in your page content.
  • discovering keywords you may not have envisioned.

Don’t use tools which tell you to tweak your pages to achieve silly and arbitrary exact percentages, they are a waste of your valuable time.

Calculate the Perfect SEO Score Conclusion

Many SEO experts consider the optimum keyword density to be between 1 and 3 percent as a higher keyword density could be considered keyword stuffing or search spam.

You can view my SEO tool recommendations here; recommended SEO Tools. These are the SEO keyword tools I’ve found useful. If you know of any better tools then let me know in the comment box at the end of this article.

Well, I hope you found something useful and enjoyed this article, Calculate the Perfect SEO Score. Don’t forget to let me have your thoughts in the comment box below. See you soon.


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