Keyword Density: The SEO Myth that Never Dies
As a freelance copywriter, the majority of the work I do is SEO content writing. In doing so, I deal with a lot of clients who have specific demands for their copy. One request that keeps popping up is to maintain an optimal keyword density. My question is this: does keyword density really matter anymore? Itâ€™s almost 2009, and some people are still stuck on a concept from over 10 years ago.
A Quick Overview of Keyword Density
I doubt any of you donâ€™t know what keyword density is, but letâ€™s do a brief overview just in case. Keyword density is the measurement of how many times a keyword appears in relation to the total number of words in the document. If your keyword shows up 3 times every 100 words, your keyword density would be 3%. Simple enough, right?
Now, some believe there is a magical keyword density range that helps you achieve higher search engine rankings. The general consensus of this group is you want to aim for anywhere between a 3%-5% keyword density in your copy. Supposedly, landing in this sweet spot drastically increases your chances of ranking well in the search engines.
So, is this true? Should you be optimizing your pages to hit the â€œmagicâ€ keyword density range? The simple answerâ€”no.
From the search engineâ€™s perspective, there is no sweet spot for keyword density. The variance in keyword density in the SERPs is proof enough of that. Pages with a wide range of keyword density rank well for certain terms. Itâ€™s just not a great measurement of a pageâ€™s relevance for a keyword, and itâ€™s far too easy for humans to manipulate it.
The simple truth is search engines are far too advanced to be tricked by something as basic as an optimal keyword density.
Side Effects of Keyword Density
Beyond the obvious fact keyword density isnâ€™t too important to search engines, there are other nasty side effects that come from chasing this myth. Most importantly, it creates robotic copy thatâ€™s a nightmare to read for human visitors. You canâ€™t write naturally if youâ€™re constantly trying to hit this tiny keyword density range. It makes your copy feel forced, and itâ€™s obvious that itâ€™s tailored for search engines instead of humans.
Secondly, it diverts your focus from conversion to keyword density. Even if keyword density was the most important search ranking factor (which it isnâ€™t), what would be the point of ranking well if your copy didnâ€™t convert any visitors?
Thatâ€™s why I say to stop worrying about keyword density. The search engines donâ€™t care about it; itâ€™s a poor measurement of a pageâ€™s relevancy; it breeds poorly written content; and it distracts you from the most important thingâ€”conversion. Instead of trying to find ways to manipulate the search engines, focus on converting your visitors into customers. Write natural copy that connects with them and addresses their needs.
Also, beware of any SEO company that tells you they know the â€œmagicalâ€ keyword density to get you top rankings. Theyâ€™re selling snake oil, and frankly, they have no clue what theyâ€™re talking about.
What are your thoughts on keyword density? Do you care about it anymore?