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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Keyword Density: How Much is Too Much?

    Posted by Jasmine Henry

    Keyword Density 101

    Do you remember what trying to find information on Google was like a few years ago? It was really  hard to find anything that actually mattered on Google. Article spinners, really excessive SEO techniques and poor writing weren't effectively penalized by major search engine algorithms. It's a fact that Google has gotten smarter through a series of improvements which place a heavy emphasis on inbound links. Search is less focused on keyword density and more focused on identifying writers who work hard to deliver quality content. When it comes to the latest search engine algorithms, what is the optimal keyword density for SEO and quality content? The first pillar of inbound marketing is getting found, so here are some tricks for delivering content that matters to both readers and search engines.

    1. Find your Sweet Spot

    Many SEO professionals recommend striving for between 2.5% - 3.5% as an optimal keyword density for SEO and quality content. It's true that optimal keyword density can actually vary by industry and content. When optimizing really specific key phrases, less is definitely more. When your content starts to sound choppy and repetitive, you've exceeded optimal keyword density for SEO and quality content. Matt Cutts of Google agrees and recommends that writers prioritize readability above high keyword density: "My recommendation is to either read (your copy) aloud or have someone else read it and sort of say 'do you spot anything that is artificial or stilted or that doesn't read quite right?' " The optimal keyword density for SEO and quality content is always below the point where your writing ceases to make sense.

    2. Don't Stop at Just One

    One great way to maximize keyword density for SEO and quality content is to always strive to identify at least 2 keywords to optimize in each piece of blog content. One of these keywords should be actually be a longtail key phrase, defined as at least 3 words that will be relatively easy to rank for on search engines. When it comes to keywords, specific is always better than general. If you're in the business of chocolate, it will be a lot easier to rank high and drive traffic by writing about "organic, dairy-free truffles" than just producing content centered around the keyword "truffles." Optimizing multiple longtail phrases can add variety and depth to your copy in a way that writing around a single phrase can't.

    3. Don't Just Use the Content Body

    Smart inbound marketing professionals know that achieving a high keyword density without sacrificing quality requires savvy usage of every text area. Your keywords, ALT text associated with the file, page title, URL and body titles are all ways to reach optimal keyword density for SEO and quality content without making the text too choppy to read or earn inbound links. Always include at least one keyword in the title, photo description, tags and URL to achieve optimal keyword density for SEO and quality content.

    4. Remember the Law of Diminishing Returns

    Remember your college economics classes where you learned about the law of diminishing returns? The law essentially states that if you increase a single factor, while holding all other factors constant, at some point your benefit will diminish. The law holds a lot of truth when looking at optimal keyword density for SEO and quality content. When it comes to extremely high keyword density, your business can actually suffer from negative SEO associated with Google recognizing that the content isn't readable or has spam-like qualities. When identifying optimal keyword density for SEO and quality content, keep in mind that more isn't always more.

    When it comes to business blog content, there really aren't any hard laws about the optimal keyword density for SEO and quality content. Remember that search engines are smart, and businesses working hard to write blog content that matters to their market will always be rewarded.


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    Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles

    Topics: SEO