While creating SEO-optimized content for your own website or any other website, you must have heard the terms, keyword density, keyword stuffing, the ratio of the keywords, etc.
Every marketer or content writer often thinks about how many keywords are enough and how much would be too many? What will happen if search engines determine that the content on your website is stuffed with keywords?
Well, to be very honest, researching the right keywords and digging out the LSI keywords is not all a researcher should do. You will need to put these keywords in the right place in the content with the correct ratio.
This article deals with describing all the above questions, and we will also discuss the correct strategy to place keywords in the content.
What Is Keyword Density?
Also known as keyword frequency, it is basically a number that shows the count of a specific keyword within a webpage as compared to the total number of words. It is normally taken as a percentage or ratio between the specific keyword and the whole content. More the value, the selected keyword appears more on the webpage.
The Formula For Keyword Density
Calculating the keyword density for a specific keyword is not so difficult. It has a straightforward formula. All you need is to divide the number of a specific keyword by the total length of the content on a particular page.
For instance, your page has 2000 words, and your keyword is used 20 times in the content.
20/2000 - 0.01
Multiply this by 100, and you will get the keyword density of this keyword.
0.01 x 100 = 1%.
So the keyword density of the keyword for this page is 1 percent.
The Importance Of Keyword Density
We all know how important the keywords in an SEO campaign are. Including mobile-friendly web designs and relevant content, placing the right keywords at the right place in your content can help you stand tall among your competitors. It also helps you improve your rankings on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
So without any doubt, it is evident that marketers believe in SEO keywords. Conducting thorough research in the right direction can help you select and rank for some good keywords within the selected niche. Once you are able to rank, you will generate more traffic and better conversions.
However, there are many ranking factors that play a crucial role while lifting your website in the SERPs. You cannot just simply put high-searched keywords in your content and get the results. You will need to create quality content, develop well-optimized web pages for different devices, and consider UX and UI, page speed and many other things. You can perform a web audit to analyze these factors on your web page.
Along with these SEO factors that help you rank, keyword density is also an important factor which helps search engines understand the quality of your content and analyze if you have used the keywords naturally or not.
If search engines find the keywords are placed in an unnatural way just to get the ranking, they mark it as keyword stuffing, and it is a black-hat SEO practice that can even lead to penalization of your website, and it can be removed from the SERPs completely. If you have any such content placed on your website, keep analyzing it with SERP checker.
Understanding Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing, as described by its term, is a practice when you write low-quality content and use a more-than-average ratio of your focused keyword. It is usually used to trick search engines so that they can rank your content against your desired keyword in the SERPs. This is a black-hat SEO tactic which is no longer applicable as search engines, especially Google have become smart, and it can easily identify the quality of your content and keyword stuffing technique.
During the old days, when search engines were not too smart, various brands and marketers would create low-quality content and add a high ratio of their focused keywords with similar internal links to the same site.
Ranking such keywords attained frustration from the users, and search engines realized that they needed to change their algorithms for ranking the pages. Hence, this technique is now of no use.
If you still use this same technique to boost your page ranking, you will face the opposite reaction from the search engines resulting in penalization of your webpage or the whole site.
What IS TF-IDF?
Before we dig into TF-IDF, we need to understand the keyword cannibalization. Keyword cannibalization occurs when various pages of your website have the potential to rank against the same keyword. In this situation, the search engine is unable to decide which page to rank for the specific keyword or query, and it sometimes de-ranks both of your pages. So, it is important to look for the ranking of your web pages continuously through Rank Tracker.
Now, TF-IDF (term frequency-inverse document frequency) is used to counter keyword cannibalization.
In this process, you need to access the frequency of a keyword on a particular webpage of your site, i.e. TF, in comparison to the number of times this same keyword appears across various pages of your website (IDF). With this, you can analyze the power of your focused keyword for a particular page.
Calculating TF is really simple. It is just like calculating the keyword density of a particular keyword on a single page.
TF = number of a particular word on a page / total number of words on a page
However, calculating IDF is a bit tricky, and it uses the mathematical term log.
IDF = Log (number of pages on the website / number of pages containing the specific keyword)
Once you get both TF and IDF, you can simply calculate TF-IDF by multiplying each other.
TF-IDF = TF x IDF
It is basically calculated in order to measure the rarity of your specific keyword so that you can avoid keyword cannibalization. TF-IDF results are always between 0 to 1. If the value is approaching 0, it means the keyword appears on more than a single page, and there is a chance of keyword cannibalization. And if the result approaches 1, it means the keyword is specified for a single page, and this is a good sign.
If you apply this formula to very common words, like 'the' or 'and', you will observe that the result is approaching 0. And when applied to a specific keyword, it will approach towards 1, and if not, then you need to reconsider your keyword strategy.
Good Keyword Density
Although there is no such rule defined by any search engine regarding the ratio of a keyword in your content. All you need to take care of is the unnatural insertion of keywords too many times in the content.
Most marketers think that the good keyword density is around 1 to 2 percent. So, you need to add your focus keyword 1 to 2 times every 100 words.
Well, I personally observed during the marketing campaign for Crowd Writer UK that keeping the keyword density around 1 percent is more likely to work well.
Density Of LSI Keywords
Other than your focus keyword, there are some more keywords that add value to your content which are known as similar keywords or Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords. These keywords help search engines understand your content and rank them high in the search results.
You can easily find LSI keywords by using various tools like Keyword Finder, Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, Ahrefs, or Google search itself.
For example, if you are targeting a page to rank against the keyword 'conclude a literature review'. Then the possible LSI keywords for this focused keyword would be how to conclude a literature review, concluding a literature review, tips to conclude a literature review, conclusion for a literature review, ending a literature review, concluding a literature review example, etc.
Now, what should be the density of LSI keywords?
It is very simple. Keep it to 0.1 to 0.2 percent. So, you should use the LSI keywords 1 to 2 times in your content of 1000 words.
Now, since we have understood the keyword density for the focus keyword and LSI keywords, we should also know how to add them to the content so that we can end up creating quality content.
Where To Use Your Focus Keywords
Well, the key is to use your keywords where they naturally occur. But in order to avoid keyword stuffing, you can divide your focus keyword into the key areas of your webpage.
These key areas include:
- Opening paragraph
- Closing paragraph
- Meta Description
- Meta Title
- Image Alt Tags
Now, for example, in the content of 1000 words, you can include your focus keyword 10 to 12 times or up to 20 times maximum, depending upon the need.
You will include your focus keyword in the URL to make it descriptive and help search engines understand what your content is about. Make sure that your H1 contains your focus keyword as well. Then include it in the title. For the title tag, it is good practice to include the keyword in the beginning.
Also, you need to include your focused keyword at least once in your meta description wherever it falls naturally. Furthermore, add the particular keyword in the starting paragraph and the ending paragraph as well.
This helps users and search engines to clearly understand your content once they start reading it. You can also use your focus keyword 1 or 2 times in the subheadings, but make sure that it sounds natural.
So, this way, you will end up adding your focus keyword seven to eight times already. Complete the remaining count by spreading focus keywords throughout your content. Make sure that your focus keywords appear in your content at least every 300 words.
Where To Use Your LSI Keywords
For LSI keywords, you can use them in the content as per the need and make sure they are not added too close to each other. You should add some of your LSI keywords in the subheadings as well.
Keyword Density Tools
There are so many keyword density tools available on the internet.
- SEO Review Tools Keyword Density Checker
- SEOBook Keyword Density Analyzer
- Copywritely Keyword Density Checker
- Semrush's On-Page SEO Checker
- Yoast SEO
You can use any of them. However, the one I use personally is WordCounter.io. All you need is to simply copy your content and paste it into the interface. It will let you know all the details of your one-wordy, two-wordy and three-wordy keywords.
Keyword Density Best Practices
Keeping in mind all the information we have discussed above, let's have a quick review of some of the best keyword density practices.
1. Never Aim For The Specific Keyword Density
Most of the time, beginners keep in mind the specific keyword density and create their content around it. However, this is a totally wrong practice. This is the reason marketers do not restrict to a specific ratio, and we can go in between 1 to 2 percent.
All you need is to make sure that the keyword density should not go beyond 2 percent by any means. Otherwise, it will result in keyword stuffing which is a black-hat SEO technique and will result in penalization of your site.
The key is to write the content naturally and not make extra efforts to put in your keywords in the content.
2. Always Go For Quality Content
Focus on creating quality content that values your users. If you focus only on the search engines, you will end up creating nothing more than messy content. Search for quality LSI keywords and include them naturally in your content so that you will end up creating content that particularly revolves around your main topic.
3. Remember The Key Places
Always add your focus keywords in the key areas of your content.
- Meta title
- Meta description
- Opening and closing paragraph
I wish you the best of luck with your content creation. Remember the points discussed in this guide to avoid keyword stuffing and rightfully leverage keyword density.