So youve built your website, you know what keywords you want to target (i.e. what words your customers are searching for), and youre ready to write your copy. Youve been told that you should use your keywords frequently so that you appear in search results for those words. But what does frequently mean?
How many times should you use your primary keyword? This case study helps answer that question.
Some background on Keyword Density
In order to understand optimum keyword usage, we first need to have some way of measuring keyword frequency. In Search Engine Optimization (SEO) world, frequency is actually referred to as density. Keyword density is a measure of number of times your keyword appears on a page expressed as a percentage of total wordcount of that page. For example, if your page has 100 words, and your keyword phrase appears 5 times, its density is 5%. So when you hear someone say keyword density, thats normally what theyre talking about. (TIP: You can automatically check keyword density of your page at LiveKeywordAnalysis.com.)
However, there is another, more complex measure of keyword density which takes into account text components in HTML of page (i.e. meta tags: Title, Keywords, Alt Text, Description, and Comments). When using this measure, you dont just count words your visitor sees; you also count words in your meta tags. For example, if you have 100 words on your home page, 10 words in your Title tag, 20 words in your Description tag, 70 words in your Alt tags, and 10 words in your Comments tag, your total wordcount for page is 100 + 10 + 20 + 70 + 10 = 210. Similarly, when counting keywords, you dont just add up number of times a visitor will see your keyword, you also count number of times that keyword appears in your meta tags. For example, if your keyword appears 5 times in home page copy, 3 times in Title tag, 5 times in Description tag, 30 times in your Alt tags, and twice in your Comments tag, your total keyword count is 5 + 3 + 5 + 30 + 2 = 45. So with a total wordcount of 210 and a keyword count of 45, your keyword density is 45/210 x 100 = 21%. It is argued that this measure of keyword density is more relevant as search engines measure density in this fashion. (TIP: You can automatically check keyword density of your page using this more complex measure at GoRank.com.)
As you can see, you need to be very aware of which measure youre talking about when youre talking keyword density. But let me reiterate; mostly when people talk about keyword density, theyre talking simple measure.
What is optimum keyword density
And now down to business
What keyword density (of either kind) should you be targeting on your website?
Theres a lot of debate surrounding this issue because search engine companies dont disclose details of their algorithms (as that would allow people to abuse system). Instead, people working in SEO world are left to figure it out based on their experience.