Contrary to popular belief, the ideal keyword density for a single keyword is 1-2% – not 3 or 4% as some hastily thrown together guides will insist upon. If you have felt the wrath of the P:enguin update you know that this is true. A keyword used once or twice for every 100 words of text is the gold standard of SEO. When using longer keyword phrases, extend the parameters a little if that is what is needed to achieve your goals, but be careful about it and make sure that it does not become a habit.
Using secondary keywords is the best way to improve your overall density as everything is not focused on just one, This can bring your keyword density up to 5-10% – which, if you have a talented copywriter, is still coherent and readable.
There are plenty of free and paid keyword analyzer tools that attempt to calculate keyword density the same way search engines do. They make a nice effort but often fall short. Put plainly, they do not take into account most words that are three characters or less which is a problem. Then you have to be aware that they also omit stop words which creates an even more inaccurate view of actual density. In case you are unaware of how this works frequently used words such as ‘a’, ‘and’, ‘the’, ‘at’, ‘but’, etc., are considered as stop words.
There is a standard list of stop words that each search engine has which they omit while indexing the web pages. Take this into account when formulating keyword phrases and when creating content. If you don’t pay attention to this you can inadvertently create content with a density that is high enough your content will actually be flagged for keyword spamming which is a mess you do not want to expend energy and resources trying to clean up. Knowing this alone can make all the difference in the world when creating readable yet keyword dense copy. If necessary, manually count the words in your content and use a calculator to make sure you are staying on target.
Some webmasters calculate keyword density using a formula which removes all stop words and words less than 3 characters long from their main text. They then calculate density
based on the remainder. Most use a simpler method of simply going by the number of times a keyword is used per hundred words. Therefore some webmasters 20% density might only be a 2-3% density according to another. This is something you need to get straight with a copywriter, in particular, if you are basing a fee in part on keyword density.
If you really want a professional looking website that is taken seriously, your content has to be professionally developed as well. There is no shortcut or gamification around this one simple fact. Many webmasters are told by ‘gurus’ that they can compromise on the quality of website’s content and that the right keyword density is more important than quality. Those gurus are wrong, and if you look at them seem to change their mind regarding what does and does not work more often than you could possibly fathom. These gurus are snake oil salesmen that will say anything to get you to part with your money. There is no shortcut to success. Quality counts! Period.
Your entire site should be compelling enough for visitors to trust your services and products. Raw visitor numbers only prove you can get people to click a link – targeted traffic that stays because you have a quality product is different and more valuable. Targeted traffic is actually all that really matters – the rest is just for posturing. If your landing page reads poorly then you cannot expect conversions because there is no need to act upon ineffectual content. This is where you find the difference between a professional SEO and an amateur. A professional understands how to deliver relevance.
The search engines suggest that websites be made for the users and not for the search engines alone! Search engines never bought your product or service after all. SEO is just an aid to make a website visible. Even if you do not succeed in attracting organic traffic, there are number of other ways of driving traffic to your website if you get a little creative. Finding the balance between SEO and ‘UO‘ (user optimization) is tricky, but well worth the extra investment. If you don’t cater to the customer first, don’t plan to stay in business long. Experienced SEO copywriters will create that fine blend of keyword density and quality content for your website. The cost may be high for the best, but is well worth it! SEO isn’t a game – it is the business of optimizing your business!