Dana WilsonDeciding on the proper number of keywords – the keyword density – to use in a post is always a popular topic among both successful and newbie bloggers. If you are not familiar with the term, follow along as I describe the key ins and outs of keyword density.

What is keyword density?

Keyword density is the number of specified keywords that appear inside an article. It is represented as a percentage. For example, if you have an article of 100 words, and your keyword is placed twice into the article, the keyword density of that article would be two per cent.

What is an ideal keyword density?

This is a tough question. Google couldn’t even give you a straight answer. An ideal keyword density for an article could be anywhere between two per cent and four per cent (as suggested by many expert sources). But this is not always true, as there are articles that rank well for highly searched keywords even though they have a very low percentage of keywords in them – sometimes about 0.5 per cent too!

Do search engines care about keyword density?

A short answer to this is – YES! Search engines use keywords in an article to identify what the article is about. But there are millions of webmasters who take the opposite view, assuming the higher the keyword density in an article the better chances it has of ranking well on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). But this is completely incorrect, because if the number is too high above the normal (which has no numeric value), search engines consider that article to be one which lacks quality and has no potential of providing value to the readers.

Should there be more than one keyword in the same article?

Having more than one specific keyword in an article should be somewhat challenging if the writer/author is not really “good”, because naturally placing both keywords inside the content cam be a difficult, and requires some extra attention to the content of the article.

I’d advise that, if you are planning to rank the same article higher for more than one keyword, you need to focus on placing the keywords in such a way that they look ‘natural’, and not forcefully added to the article.

How do short-tail and long-tail keywords matter in keyword density?

First, what are short-tail and long tail keywords?

Short-tail keywords are the words that are shorter in size. These are usually one or two words and in some cases, three words. For example – keyword density, internet marketing etc. Short-tail keywords don’t often work well for ranking articles higher on SERPs as they’re often taken by homepages. But the other option we have is great for ranking articles well on SERPs.

Long-tail keywords are phrases or even sentences. Some examples for these are – free keyword density checker, best internet marketing services etc. because the searches are specific to what an article is about. On the other hand, the short-tail keywords are not at all specific about the requirement of the user. As mentioned above, long-tail keywords are best for ranking single posts/articles well.

Keyword density strategy to rank single posts well

Though there are many factors that determine the ranking of posts on SERPs, keyword density is one of them. If you follow our tips, you’ll probably notice some change in the rankings of your articles on SERPs:

1) ALWAYS choose a long-tail keyword. This is because short-tail keywords don’t help getting posts ranked well.

2) Use keywords in headers inside the post, but a limited number.

3) Don’t worry about the ideal keyword density. Just go with what suits the post. Just make sure you place enough number of keywords so that search engine bots can recognise what the article is about.

4) Try to focus on a single keyword (long-tail, of course) rather than going for more. This helps you, the writer, as well as the search engine bots to focus on the purpose of the article.

Finally . . .

To keep your quality content worthy, don’t stuff it with too many keywords. The keywords should define what your article is about, and not be the article itself. Your content should always be written for readers and not for search engines; otherwise you can get too caught up in the keywords and lose the message of your article.

Keyword density is not something that should be overly important. Instead, a website should focus on where these keywords appear. Putting keywords in the Meta descriptions, title, and tags will give Google more than enough clues about the topic of the content.

Dana Wilson is a freelance writer.

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