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SEO Red Flag: “Keyword Density”

Keyword Density

It’s been a long, long time since we’ve looked at the keyword density of a page. But amazingly, there are many people out there who still think that putting a keyword in a page a certain number of times will lead to search engine ranking gold. Every now and then, I hear people ask about it, and you still see a lot of SEO tools that will look at the keyword density of a page. However, keyword density as a ranking metric is dead and gone.

The fact is, there is no such thing as the “right” amount of keyword usage for a “properly” optimized web page. With today’s algorithms, the keywords themselves play a far less significant role than they once did. Instead, algorithms lean more toward the overall topic of a page, looking not just for “keywords” but anything and everything that relates to the page’s topic.

Keywords still matter, both from a topical perspective as well as ensuring you write content that meets the needs of the searchers. But you won’t get very far looking to add each keyword X number of times for every word of content.

So, instead of talking about keyword density, what should your SEO be talking about? They should be focused on writing great content that fulfills the needs of the searcher. Not every article has to be the beginning and the end of a particular topic. In fact, every topic can be broken down into sub-topics. Each of those is an opportunity to write content that will be exactly what searchers are looking for.

Stay away from keyword density. Just write great content. How many words do you need? How ever many is needed to do the job!

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

2 Responses to SEO Red Flag: “Keyword Density”

  1. Matt A says:

    Without the second part of the equation, the first isn’t 100% true.

    You said “Stay away from keyword density. Just write great content.”

    That’s 100% true.

    But “stay away from keyword density” – I’ve seen sites with MASSIVE drops from over-optimised text. They didn’t follow the second half of your idea – write great content. You CAN still write horribly over-optimised content in 2015. I will absolutely be the first to say I know why you (and others) say “keyword density is dead” but generally speaking spam is spam and Google will hammer it. The only good use of KWD is to make sure you don’t overdo the content but we’ve fixed HUNDREDS of clients who were way-over-optimised and had great results from that.

    So I just want people to see the second half, too: WRITE GOOD CONTENT. 🙂

  2. Stoney G deGeyter
    Stoney G deGeyter says:

    Thanks for the comment Matt. I’m not sure I agree. I think it’s 100% true, 100% of the time that one should not focus on keyword density. Period. End of story. But to address the point about writing great content, I don’t see how one can write great content if they are concerned about keyword density in the first place. All told, each of these statements are completely, totally, and independently true.