Keyword Density is Important – True or False?
Why Use Keywords
There are two schools of thought about keyword density and if you don’t understand what the term means, it’s simply the amount of words used in a page of text (including the title), divided by the number of times your keyword is repeated. A 500-word article that includes a keyword or keyword phrase 10 times has a 5% density.
Some people believe that keyword density is very important, while others believe keywords should only be included enough times so that search engine bots can understand what a page is about for accurate indexing.
The truth is that back in the days a certain percentage keyword density was important. Ask six different SEO “experts” and you would have gotten six different answers. The big no-no was to use it too often. This is known as keyword stuffing and sites were often penalized for this.
These days it’s not a question of keyword density, it’s keyword placement that’s important. People who have concentrated solely on keyword density in the past have produced millions of pages of text that’s pretty unreadable.
Google doesn’t want that. It wants its users to enjoy reading well-written articles that are not peppered with words and keyword phrases so often the text is unreadable.
Keywords are very important of course, but since the two major Panda upgrades Google is obviously focusing on quality reader experience, rather than some contrived (and often inaccurate) ideas about SEO. The search engine bots obviously still need to know what a page is about and this can be done very simply by using correct keyword placement.
1. Always use your main keyword in your post or page’s title, as near to the beginning as possible. It’s your title that’s going to attract the majority of your traffic, so don’t write them just for the search engine’s benefit. Some of the most attractive titles include words like “Tips on…”, “How to…” or “7 reasons why…” Twisting your title around so it’s illogical will not attract visitors!
2. Use your keyword or keyword phrase in links. This method is attractive to both readers and bots. But don’t overdo it, two or three links containing those keywords is sufficient. Any more may throw up red flags.
3. Make sure that links you leave on other sites to your page (the URL) includes your keyword.
If you use WordPress, use the Custom setting in Permalinks and enter /%PostName%/. Permalinks can be found in your WordPress Dashboard under Settings. The URL for this page will then get the extension /is-keyword-density-important, not dates, numbers or /iskeyworddensityimportant.
First and Last Sentence
4. Use your keyword phrase at the beginning and end of your content.
5. Many people use Google’s Image search, and you’ve probably been presented with hundreds of totally irrelevant images. This is because keywords have not been used for those irrelevant images. Google looks at the text around an image to get an idea of what it’s about. It can’t “see” pictures. Use your keyword in image captions and ALT text.
6. Put your keyword phrase in tags and meta-tags, but only if those phrases appear in the body of your text.
7. Some SEO plugins and software will bold, underline or italicize keywords. Do it yourself and it will help. Use the phrase in your [<h1> <h2> and <h3>] but not all if your article is only a couple of hundred words. Moderation is needed or you may be penalized for using it too often. If you’ve written a 1,000 word article, then it’s probably okay.
Nobody should be stressing about keyword density. They should be concentrating on writing and creating content that is informative, helpful and readable. That’s what Google AND humans want.
Do you pay any attention to all the different SEO “rules” about keywords and density, or do you agree that producing good content is far more important? Please share your thoughts.