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Calculate Ideal Keyword Density Percentage for SEO

What Should My Keyword Density Be?

There is no single optimal or universal keyword density percentage. Each search query is unique & search engines compare (or normalize) documents against other top documents to determine some of their specific thresholds. Some keywords like "credit cards" naturally appear as a two word phrase, whereas other terms may be more spread out. Further, some highly trusted websites with great awareness, strong usage data & robust link profiles can likely get away with more repetition than smaller, less trusted sites can.

As a general rule-of-thumb, when it comes to keyword frequency...

Google On-page Classifiers

When Google rolled out the first Penguin update in April of 2012, they also rolled out some on-page classifiers which penalized some pages that had excessive word repetition.

Lazy & uninformed cheap outsourced writing tends to be fairly repetitive - in part because people paid by the word to churn out cheap content have an incentive to bloat the word count, no incentive to trim the fat, and no incentive to do deep research. Google's leaked remote rater guidelines tells raters to rate low-information repetitive content poorly.

In this day and age the primary use of these types of analysis tools is not to keep dialing up the keyword density, but rather to lower the focus on the core terms while including alternate word forms, accronyms, synonyms & other supporting vocabulary.

The video to the right discusses optimizing your on-page SEO strategy both for conversions & to include keyword variations in the content.

Good vs Optimal vs Overdoing Keyword Density

Due to web spam, density by itself is a fairly poor measure of relevancy (see slides 17 through 20 in this 2004 PDF from Google's Amit Singhal).

Early / primitive search technology was not very sophisticated due to hardward & software limitations. Those limitations forced early search engines like Infoseek to rely heavily on page titles and other on-page document scoring for relevancy scoring. Over the past 15 years search engines have grown far more powerful due to Moore's law. That has allowed them to incorporate additional data into their relevancy scoring algorithms. Google's big advantage over earlier competitors was analyzing link data.

Dr. E. Garcia explained why density was a bad measure of relevancy in The Keyword Density of Non Sense.

Should I Even Use Density Analysis Software?

These types of tools are still quite valuable when used with the right strategies. The above points were referenced trying to fix old issues from outdated tips & was really just mentioning how 'optimizing' for some arbitrary exact density often misses the mark.

Using analysis tools can still help you uncover a lot of opportunities, including:

When I first got in the SEO game I remember some tools trying to tell me to tweak into these stupid arbitrary exact percentages & realizing (after the fact) how futile that was only fuled my rage toward such software. So we created this free tool to serve the legitimate functions of keyword density tools AND warn against some of the futile (& even counter-productive) uses as well. ;)

Usage Notes on How to Calculate Keyword Density

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