SEO Glossary / Keyword Density

Keyword Density

What is Keyword Density?

Keyword density is a metric that tells us how frequently a keyword is used within a piece of content in relation to the overall word count. It’s usually expressed as a percentage. To calculate it, divide the number of keywords on the page by the total number of words on the page, then multiply that number by 100.

For example, if you use your target keyword 10 times in a 1000-word blog post, you’ll have a keyword density of 1%. If you use it 20 times, you’ll have a keyword density of 2%.

Is Keyword Density Important for SEO?

Keyword density isn’t as important for SEO as it used to be, as it’s no longer a primary ranking factor. Modern search engine algorithms are sophisticated enough to understand what a page is about and how well it matches search intent in other ways.

Google has confirmed this and has tried to dissuade SEOs from focusing too much on keyword density:

“I would love it if people could stop obsessing about keyword density. … There’s not a hard and fast rule.” – Matt Cutts

“Keyword density, in general, is something I wouldn’t focus on. Make sure your content is written in a natural way.” – John Mueller

Best Practices for Keyword Density

Although keyword density is no longer a ranking factor, here are some best practices to follow when creating content:

1. Never Aim for Specific Keyword Density

There’s no optimal keyword density, and aiming for one can do more harm than good. Artificially adding keywords to a page, known as “keyword stuffing,” is viewed negatively by Google and can harm your rankings.

Instead, write naturally and ensure that your content flows well. Mention your keywords where they naturally fit, without forcing them into the text.

2. Focus on Topic Coverage

Rather than focusing on keyword density, concentrate on covering the topic thoroughly. Include subtopics that searchers expect to see. For example, if you are writing about "link building," cover related aspects like "what is link building," "why link building is important," and "strategies for link building."

3. Include Keywords in Key Places

While you shouldn’t stuff keywords into your content, include your main keyword in a few strategic places:

  • Title tag
  • H1 tag
  • URL
  • Meta description

Ensure that the inclusion of keywords feels natural and fits the context of your content.


How Should I Check Keyword Density?

You can check the keyword density of your content using an online keyword density checker. There are many free tools available online; just search for “keyword density checker.”

How to Calculate Keyword Density?

Use the following formula to calculate keyword density manually: [ \text{Keyword Density} = \left( \frac{\text{Number of Keywords}}{\text{Total Number of Words}} \right) \times 100 ]

However, it’s usually quicker to use an online tool.

What is the Ideal Keyword Density for SEO?

There is no ideal keyword density for SEO as it’s not a primary ranking factor. Focus on natural writing and comprehensive topic coverage instead.

What Percentage of Keyword Density is Too High?

There’s no specific percentage that is considered too high. However, if your keyword density is over 2%, review your content to ensure it reads naturally and isn’t stuffed with keywords.

For more detailed guides on SEO best practices, visit Ranktracker's SEO Guide.