Keyword density is the measurement in percentage, the number of times a keyword or phrase appears compared to the total number of words in a page.

That’s the wikipedia’s definition of keyword density. The total number of times a particular keyword repeats in the whole copy.
Let’s pick an example.

SEO India is a keyword that many people think is getting lot of traffic on the search engines. As a matter of fact, the keyword SEO India is not a high traffic keyword. Also, keywords like Indian SEOs or SEO consultant India and even SEO firm India are ot high volume traffic keywords.
Interestingly, if you’d check the Google trends graph, you’ll see that the term SEO India is being repeatedly searched from India the most. So I’m under the impression that more than the clients who are likely to search for this keyword, it’s probably the SEOs in India who are searching it themselves.

Do you get an idea there?

In this example, out of the almost 100 words used, the keyword SEO India is being repeated 7 times and in it’s variants. So theoretically, the keyword density is 7%.

According to old school SEO, a keyword density of 6-8% is pretty healthy. This can change according to the competition on that keyword.
Having said that it doesn’t suggest you that as you increase your keyword density, the more the chances to rank. No. Beyond a healthy level, the keyword density would be assumed to be spam.

Now, the 6-7% keyword density is the old school SEO. It’s no longer valid or you just can’t depend on it.


Come web 2.0 and a lot has changed on the web. The way pages are created, the way content is sourced and displayed and the way people find information. I’m going to give you an idea of the basic keyword concepts one should follow, while developing dynamic or web 2.0 content on their websites.

  1. Keyword authority sculpting
    Keyword authority sculpting is nothing but making sure that the entire copy looks natural to search engines (and humans) by evenly placing keywords at the most important places or nodes in the whole copy text, enabling the webmaster to help the search engines determine their importance and authority.
    For example, your keyword is “red flowers”. First the webmaster have to identify the nodes in the whole copy text, to determine their importance and relevance. This could be elements like H1 tags or STRONG tags. Based on their importance, relevance and priority, place the keywords maintaining individual keyword densities at the nodes. Take a look at the screen shot.Here, you can see that the keyword (Atlanta real estate and it’s variants) is being populated in the whole ad copy in a very high ratio. In fact, the competition for this keyword is really high which is why the keyword density is too high.
    Now, it’s easy for the search engines to make out whether this is spam or not. But where this copy wins is, in the fact that, the keyword is being sprinkled evenly utilizing the importance of other elements on the page. Therefore, the keyword using all it’s variants is being sculpted deliberately to generate an authority to itself which is being passed on to google.
  2. Keyword combat
    Earlier you were taught about keyword research - remember ? In order to get maximum traffic to a site, first you need to find out what are the keywords and it’s synonyms that are being searched on the engines by real humans. Pick them up and make copies on it. Simple right?
    But, things have moved on from there. Today, you need to do a bit more research. Research on the types of keywords that are being optimized by competition. How do they rank? What are your scopes of intruding into that territory?
    It’s easier than it sounds like believe me. Many a times, you can get your set of keywords by analyzing the first few competition itself ;)
    Essentially, get the set of keywords that are worth your time, study the patterns on the competitor’s website, see the opportunities and than bang ! Make sure that it does not end with just finding that one “traffic generating keyword”.
  3. Keyword variation
    Imagine if your keyword was XXXX and you kept repeating that word every single line to maintain a good keyword density?
    In fact, many “SEO gurus” are doing it. And that’s only what they can do - nothing beyond :D
    My advice is to find the variations of your primary keyword, find the best combinations with other synonyms as the most searched related keywords of it and make a formula that will work for you.
  4. Keyword channels
    Keyword optimization does not end with keyword density checks on a single page or a set of pages. On the older sites, it used to work but not anymore. Search engines know that you’d place the keywords deliberately in your copy and optimize for them. So they look for other options.
    Another way to let know the search engines of your keywords and it’s relevance is by following a pattern in your site structure. Sounds weird? Glad it did.
    Different pages on your website have different authority and importance (Not just Page Rank). As a webmaster, you’ll need to find out as to which are the ones that’s up on the priority list and which are down. Then, doing a keyword study on each page would reveal you as to where are the places you have left untouched and where have you placed the wrong keywords. Find it, and work towards channelizing the keyword importance. Decide for yourself creating a combination of the most important keywords and authority pages. The right mix will give you the best results.
  5. Keyword neighborhoods
    The idea about keyword neighborhoods is that while selecting keywords for your website, it’s easy for you to just go about selecting the most traffic generating keywords with the help of a keyword selection tool. True. But what you’ve got to notice here is that, the same keywords that were shown to you might have been taken (or is being researched on) by another webmaster. You don’t want to waste your time optimizing on that keyword. Meanwhile, smart work would be to research on the keywords that are already being optimized, find out as to what the theme of those sites are. How do they relate to your primary keyword. An are those sites in the “bad neighborhood” or not?
    If they are, you might want to skip that keyword and move to another fresh one. (Real smart guys would find an opportunity here too.) This point may not help you to really help you move up the SERPs but, it will help you stay out of bad company and not waste your efforts.

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  1. Wow!!!
    Good article.
    Thanks Mani

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. Nice Article!
    Here more example bout keyword density if your article is composed of 200 words and you want to achieve a keyword density of 5% then you have to put your desired keyword exactly 10 times in your article.
    Fact: no matter what keyword density you choose it is important to place your keyword at the beginning and end of your article.

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. While searching on net I found your blog very interesting. The blog is having good and simple content related to keywords, thats a good information for SEO beginners.

    [Reply to this comment]

  4. Hey,
    Thanks for the nice information out here.

    May I request clarification on fairly trivial qs for SEO gurus (but not for me).

    (a) What is the difference between category and tag in wordpress?
    (b) How do we use it effectively for SEO?
    Can you please point me to any
    example URI’s.

    Thanks in advance for your help.


    [Reply to this comment]

  5. [...] of “Nofollow No follow tags are not just for advertisements. You can use them wisely to design your page rank. Check all your external links (use a spider simulator or google webmasters) and filter out all [...]

  6. This is something i didn’t know and thanks for the nice informative post…

    [Reply to this comment]

  7. [...] written about the 6-7% formula way earlier, I agree. But things have changed a lot since then. Google obviously has become more clever and does not give the importance it used to [...]