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Publié le 17 April 2022

✍️ Rahma

⏰ Lecture 2 minutes

Keyword density and SEO : factors to consider

Keyword density refers to the appearance frequency of these expressions in the content. Using numerology, it equals the percentage of occurrences of a keyword compared to the total number of words in the whole text.

In the past, the density of a keyword was used to obtain a favorable standing in the search results pages and get ahead of competitors. However, this technique has become out-dated, due to the development of search engine algorithms. 

Nowadays, in order to be well ranked on the desired query, the priority is no longer given to the frequency of keywords, but rather to quality content. 

Keyword density and its importance in indexing 

Keyword density used to be the key index that indexing professionals used to determine how well their content was ranked on a given query. Although this index was very popular in the SEO practices of the 2000s, it no longer is.

SEO techniques are evolving rapidly, as are the classification criteria adopted by search engines. Particularly, Google considers that the abuse of a key phrase in a content (or keyword stuffing) is no longer recommended. 

The web giant also specifies that it no longer takes the keyword density as a criterion for indexing sites. On the contrary, the keyword stuffing becomes a “black hat” penalizing technique, which can lead to the de-indexing of the website.

The density index should be used as a way to evaluate whether the insertion of the key phrase in the text is done in a thoughtful or exaggerated way. By doing so, you can optimize its distribution in your content and build a copy that delivers a natural reading experience.

How to calculate keyword density?

The density index (DI) is the percentage of the number of times the keyword appears compared to the content’s total number of words. 

As a means of visualization, if you have written a content containing 1000 words concerning the main keyword “e-commerce”, and you have used this word 10 times, then its density equals 1%.

There is no universal rule that specifies the optimal density to respect. However, some SEO experts consider that the ideal presence rate of a keyword in a text is between 2% and 6%, meaning that it would appear two to six times in a text of 100 words.

Good and bad practices in keyword density

In order to optimize your content’s SEO, it is necessary to apply the best practices regarding keyword density, which consist of:

  • Place the keyword in strategic areas, such as the heading, titles, and subheadings (H1, H2, Hn), ALT tags of images, etc. These hot zones have better visibility by the reader and offer a better indication to the search engine regarding the keywords to be taken into account. 
  • Place the reader at the center of your concerns and adopt a user-oriented writing strategy, which aims to satisfy the reader first and foremost. 
  • Include the keywords in the page in a natural way in order to offer a seamless experience to the Internet audience. To this end, it is necessary to rely on a rich and varied lexical and semantic field, which includes synonyms and expressions derived from the main keyword. This would allow you to refrain from using unnecessary repetitions and build a high added value content.

On the other hand, you should avoid bad practices that would deteriorate the quality of the content, which mainly revolve around over-optimization. This practice consists of not missing any opportunity to fit the keyword in almost every sentence, and to use it on the whole web page. As a result, the sentences lose meaning and become incomprehensible to the reader.

What are the consequences of improper keyword density?

Improper keyword density can manifest itself in keyword stuffing or limited key phrase presence. 

The disadvantages of Keyword Stuffing

Keyword Stuffing is an old SEO strategy used to get a better ranking in the SERP. Excessive density of a key phrase is no longer popular. With the evolution of SEO rules, this practice is becoming obsolete and can provide these few disadvantages: 

  • Downgrading the website. Google can downgrade websites that it deems ineffective for Internet users, including those that amplify the density of a keyword in an absurd manner.
  • Generating content that is useless to readers. Repeating the same word several times in the same sentence produces a boring reading rhythm that leads visitors to flee. Faced with a high bounce rate, the site consecutively loses positions in the ranking.
  • An artificial writing which hinders the ability to read the text and discourages Internet users from reading it since they cannot easily understand its content. 

The disadvantages of an almost null presence of the keyword

It is impossible to well-position a web page on a key request with a low density. It would be ambiguous to the indexing robot to distinguish the main keyword to be considered. Therefore, you cannot guarantee that your article will be positioned on the considered key phrase and that your content will be visible in the first search results when typing the corresponding request.

Closing thoughts

Keyword density should be a solution for building impactful, user-centric content. Algorithms and ranking criteria are rapidly and radically evolving. In this context, excessive keyword density should no longer be used to achieve good SEO, as this practice is no longer viable. It should rather be used sparingly to remain natural and succeed in satisfying the reader through quality content.

User satisfaction becomes a motto to offer Internet surfers a better user experience and to succeed in being well positioned in the SERP.

Rektic is among the relevant tools you can use to favorably manage your keywords’ density. Our SaaS SEO assistance solution offers suggestions of relevant words, generates optimized titles, and provides complete SEO assistance to position your content on profitable requests.

Feel free to test it for free or contact us for a 15-minute demo.

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