Keyword Density: Like All Areas of Life, Moderation Works Best

How many times have you been reading articles on the internet, when you suddenly notice within the first two to three sentences the copy sounds very awkward and almost completely nonsensical? What you’ve probably found is spammy, SEO-manipulated keyword copy.

Why do I use the term “SEO-manipulated?” The answer is because Google simply doesn’t like that awkward-sounding, keyword-laden copy anymore. Sure, ten years ago during the infancy of internet marketing, you could repeat a certain keyword on your page many times and then stick it in the page’s title, and voila! you were suddenly at the top of the search engine rankings!

But, that kind of copy doesn’t work anymore.

Why Doesn’t Keyword-Stuffed Copy Work Anymore?

The truth is that you don’t even have to perform tests to know this is true, although you can if you would really like. A simple analysis of various statements Google has made will show you exactly why this is true. Take a look at a few of the guidelines I’ve located below to help demonstrate this point:

1. “Webmasters who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic principles will provide a much better user experience and subsequently enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit.” If this doesn’t make it clear that spammy, keyword-filled copy would be pushed lower in the rankings, I don’t know what does. You can find the statement in this article.
2. If you need direct and explicit confirmation this is true, take a look at this directive: “Filling pages with keywords results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site’s ranking.” You can find that phrasing on this page. If you had any questions regarding keyword-stuffed copy, they should be answered now.
3. “We want people doing white hat search engine optimization (or even no search engine optimization at all) to be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling web sites.” Matt Cutts made this statement at the Google Webmaster Central Blog, and you can find the original article here. Google doesn’t seem to be at the point where it ranks sites that don’t have any SEO well, but based on these statements, and the Penguin, Fresh, and Panda updates in the past 18 months, it is clear this is where the company is heading.

What’s the Future of Keyword Density?

As you can see in point number three, Google’s focus is on ranking valuable content well. In an ideal world, this would probably mean the targeted keyword is used once or twice, and a number of semantically related terms help Google understand how to rank the article. So, to future-proof yourself, you would be best off writing valuable content, and if you really need the numbers, a .5% keyword density maximum.

If you would like a quick keyword density check of your web page to make sure you don’t stuff too many in, check out this tool.

About the Author:
Dan Stelter: Dans SEO Copy Writing

About Steve Baik is a pioneer in the free search engine submission industry and has been providing valuable web tools and resources for small business owners since 1996. Sign up for our free newsletter to receive the latest info on SEO and Internet Marketing.
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