Keyword Density: Beneficial or Harmful to SEO?

Keyword density, how important is it still? The field of enterprise search engine optimization is continually changing.

Ranking on search engines that were formerly fundamental has become more ambiguous as time has passed.

The best practice for search engine optimization is to ensure that keyword usage is efficient from the start. So is there anything new we need to know about SEO keyword density?

So, what should the optimal keyword density be? Before delving into that, here are a few key points to keep in mind.

Points to remember :

  • The keyword density tells you how often your term occurs in your text and its importance to your SEO strategy. One can use an online keyword density checker to calculate the keyword density.
  • Data mining, user modeling, and information retrieval all employ the TF-IDF weighted keyword density algorithm.
  • SEO strategists learned earlier on that they could game the system with keyword stuffing (placing your target keyword more times than you should). Google uses keyword density as an objective statistic to assess the relevance of a page.
  • The keyword density theory may or may not be alive and well in Google’s search algorithm. Naturally, inserting keyword phrases does seem to boost relevancy and can lift your ranking on search engine results pages, though.
  •, Yoast, and Moz are all tools that may assist you in determining the proper keyword density for your site, blog, or webpage.
  • The creation of high-quality content and a positive user experience should always come first, not keyword density.

What does keyword density mean?

What is keyword density

Keyword density is the number of times a keyword appears on a given webpage or within a piece of content as a ratio or percentage of the overall word count. One can calculate keyword density using a keyword density checker.

What is the history of keyword density and SEO?

Keyword density in SEO was an important part of SEO’s early days.

Early web crawlers were little more than sophisticated versions of library card catalogs.

As a result, they utilized the metadata from each site to create a “file tab” in their catalog that users could access.

While algorithms have evolved, one thing has remained constant: a site’s on-page content should match its meta tags exactly.

Google, in particular, needed a mechanism to let content take precedence over meta tags even if sites didn’t update them.

This is where keyword density comes in. It gave Google a measured, objective technique to determine the subject matter of each page in its database.

Can you choke texts with keywords?

SEO web admins soon learned that stuffing as many keywords as possible into a piece of content (a.k.a keyword stuffing) was a way to cheat the system. And while this is not something we recommend, it is a reality.

One using a white backdrop can hide keyword-rich material from readers. Search engines, on the other hand, could read it.

Stuffing keywords worked so effectively that it spilled over into off-page SEO, resulting in backlinks replete with anchor text precisely the same as the target keyword.

Google was quick to catch on.

The SEO team at Google was quick to notice and respond to keyword stuffing. Google punished pages with sparse content or an extremely high keyword density with its Panda update.

In addition, it hunted down sites that used obvious manipulation techniques like veiled text.

However, the term density metric was not wholly omitted from the equation. They improved detection methods for when the measure was being manipulated inappropriately.

As a result, they started looking into trust signals off-site to balance out the effects of the on-site characteristics.

Thus, the Google we know and love today was created.

Several new trust and usability cues and more profound knowledge of search behavior are now used to assess the relevancy of a page for a specific keyword, allowing Google to provide users with the best possible service and the highest possible quality content.

Keyword density is still a part of Google’s search algorithm, although only to a limited extent. It’s become a lot more complicated.


Some information systems use a more sophisticated metric called TF-IDF to determine keyword density.

For “term frequency and inverse document frequency,” the abbreviation is TFIDF. The keyword frequency in a given text is calculated using a simple formula by the algorithm.

Next, an inverted document frequency number is used to offset the original document frequency number. As a result, less frequently used terms are given precedence, and unique keywords get more weight.

Data mining, user modeling, and information retrieval have all benefited from the formula’s success.

Does keyword density have an impact on your Google rankings?

Impact of keywords on Google ranking

Let’s be real. Stuffing keywords isn’t going to help you rank well in Google’s search results. You will be penalized by Google when it notices you are keyword stuffing.

You could lose both your website ranking and traffic.

Can you have several different keyword variants?

Every day, Google processes approximately 5 billion queries, 15% of those searches being brand new. What you say? Completely new refers to the first time such terms have been searched for in human history.

What makes it possible?

The way people search has evolved.

Voice search and artificial intelligence (AI) have transformed how people use search engines.

Long-tail keywords have gained importance, whereas emphasis keywords have shifted to insignificance.

Relevance is no longer only determined by how many times a keyword appears in a piece of content.

Keywords with a demonstrably high search volume are still worth optimizing, and you should do it without fail. Just be aware that you’re not focusing your efforts just on those keywords.

In addition to optimizing for the primary keyword, you’re also targeting hundreds of related keywords and queries.

Why does everything revolve around the user’s experience?

Let’s go back to the 15% of all searches that are brand new this time. As Google’s RankBrain system improves, these queries have pushed them to begin indexing more meaningfully.

Google utilizes personal information like a user’s Google search history and location to evaluate accurately and give the best content.

In addition, Google has methods for figuring out whether or not your web page and website is related to a specific keyword.

How much keyword density should you use in SEO?

Optimal amount of keyword density for SEO

Keyword density should be used as a guidepost for your content. Is there even the best keyword density?

Below are key guidelines for optimizing keyword density:

  • The keyword density advised by Google is not fixed.
  • The keyword density for your chosen key phrase should be compared to the top-ranking material on Google.
  • Additionally, you can calculate keyword density of your high-ranking content on related subjects.
  • It would help if you did what seems natural and gives the most incredible user experience rather than following keyword density guidelines established by tools like Yoast.
  • Create a few keywords that are contextually or semantically similar to your goal term (synonyms, keyword variants, related themes, etc.) and include them in your content as you fill-up the thematic emphasis of each page. To find out what phrases and keywords the top-performing sites are using, utilize tools like, which scans competitor material.

Always, always put the needs of your users first by creating high-quality content.

Any page you create needs to have a strong focus on the user experience.

Are there keyword density tools I can use?

To determine the optimal keyword density, you may make use of several various SEO tools. The following is something we appreciate:

1. Yoast

In terms of SEO, the Yoast SEO plugin is much more than a simple keyword density checker.

However, it’s a valuable tool for quickly gauging your content’s emphasis keyword density when creating new pages or content.

It’s enough to know that the purpose of Yoast’s objective metrics is to make the SEO process as simple as possible.

As a result, its suggestions may not always make sense on an individual basis. Using Yoast’s Premium plugin, diverse word forms are recognized as a single keyword.

Also, if you use your term more than once in a single phrase, it will still qualify as a “mention.” To make matters worse, the technology ignores keywords that are spread out across numerous words.

Synonyms are also a problem, as it has no idea how effectively your material supports the primary term in context.

While Yoast’s tool is better than nothing, it falls short compared to Google’s semantic indexing approach. However, it’s a convenient method to maintain tabs on any personal objectives you make due to your SERP analysis.

And if you go above Yoast’s top limit, you’ll probably have to make some changes to your content and provide more variation.

2. Moz

For a more comprehensive view of keyword density, use Moz’s On-Page Grader. The program will ask for a website address and a keyword to concentrate on.

Moz will evaluate the page’s overall quality based on various other characteristics. The program will also look for keywords linked to the focus term used by your rivals.

This provides you with ideas for expanding your material and establishing your authority in a specific area.

As a result of the competition analysis based on SERPs, this is an excellent tool to use at the beginning and conclusion of your keyword research.

Final thoughts

Keyword density is more complicated than it seems. The key is to focus your effort on great user experience.

Talk to our experts

If you’re ready to know that your keyword density for your website is on point, check out SEO services and make sure your keywords are working for you… and not against you. 

Have questions about keyword density or how the changing SEO landscape will impact your business? Don’t hesitate to reach out and speak to one of our digital specialists.

With years of experience planning thousands of successful SEO campaigns for clients across the globe, our talented team of experts at First Page will help you make sure your keyword density is what it should be. 

Get in touch to learn how we’ll help your brand and business stay on top the ever-changing SEO landscape.

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