StatCounter Insights

Free Insights & Training in SEO, Web & Social Media

Keyword Density

When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), content is king. In other words, keywords and the content created around them lies at the heart of any solid SEO strategy. Moreover, search engines like Google have updated, and continued to update, their search algorithms to encourage websites to publish high-quality, original content as a means to better satisfy the web user and meet their search request. In this, the keyword density of a piece of content is immensely important. Use the keyword too much, and your site may be penalized for practicing spammy SEO strategies. Use it too little and search engines won’t know which keyword you are trying to rank for.

At StatCounter, we give website owners the ability to track website traffic, and we even allow you to view which keywords account for the most organic traffic (traffic that visits your site via search engine result pages). This can give you an idea of the keywords that are most important to your website so you can utilize them properly. In utilizing such terms properly, however, you must be sure to reach an optimal keyword density. Having said that, let us explain what optimal keyword density is and why it’s essential to SEO.

Suggested Reading

If you’d like to move on to further reading in regards to SEO and how to improve your website, you can find great info on the pages provided below:

Reaching Optimal Keyword Density

Keyword density, in short, is the number of times a keyword is used in a piece of content in comparison to full word count. In the early days of SEO, a website could use a keyword unconditionally in order to get better rankings. As you can imagine, this practice could easily be manipulated to rank higher in search results and has since been deemed a black hat tactic, and could result in your website being penalized by search engines.

Regardless, keyword density is one of the most important ranking factors for a website. High-quality content is incredibly important to a website’s online visibility, especially on search engines. But reaching the preferred keyword density is difficult as you have to walk a tight line. As we’ve mentioned previously, using a keyword too much will ultimately result in poor rankings, as search engines will simply view your actions as manipulative and omit the page from search results. On the other hand, if you don’t use a specific keyword enough, search engines won’t be able to understand what your piece of content is actually about, or your page won’t seem relevant and authoritative for the given search request. As a result, a page with little keyword usage will have little to no chance of ranking. So, what’s a common middle ground?

Keyword Density: Rule of Thumb

Common practice for search engine optimizers is to aim for a keyword density between 0.5% and 2.5%. This may seem low, but this is enough to allow you to get your point across to your website visitors without sounding spammy or like a robot wrote the content. This is just a benchmark, however, and some pieces of content may call for the keyword to be used more than this. Be sure to review your content before publishing it to determine if it flows properly and is easy to understand from a visitor’s point of view.

Pro Tips

While you need to be cautious in your keyword usage, that’s not to say you can’t use other, relevant keywords in your content. In fact, you should always include variants of your keywords for any given web page. For instance, a page on “SEO best practices” could also include instances of keywords like “common SEO practices” or “effective SEO strategies” and so on.

Onsite Keyword Usage

It is imperative that you use your keywords in your on site content. Not only should static web pages and blog posts be written around a given keyword, but there are a number of other areas on your website in which you will want to include your keywords.

Header Tags

Header tags, also known as htags, help break up your content into readable and easily understandable sections. This can be helpful for a visitor to your site as they will be able to understand the flow of your content. Header tags are also a ranking factor, and using a keyword in these header tags can help improve your search result rankings.

Image Alt Text

You should also be sure to include keywords in the alt text for any given image on your site. Image alt text is served if the image has trouble loading, and search engines use this to determine the subject matter of the image in question. Using a keyword here will signal search engines about the image and can help contribute to improved keyword rankings.

Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Title tags and meta descriptions are another place where it is good practice to use keywords. Not only will this help improve search result rankings, but it will also help the search user understand what your web page is about, and if it is relevant to their search. If it is, they are more likely to click through to your site.

In short, there is a plethora of areas for you to use keywords to help improve your search engine results rankings. Be sure to follow the guidelines for keyword density and use a number of keyword research tools to help you develop a sound SEO strategy for your website. Keep in mind, the keywords you target and the content you build around them are two of the most important aspects of SEO, and these practices will heavily impact your rankings, which directly affects traffic to site.For further information on keywords and how to use them, check out the pages below:

Track Your Traffic with StatCounter

As you work to add keyword-based content to your site, it’s important to monitor your efforts to ensure they’re paying off. With StatCounter and our free web tracker, you can track a range of metrics to help you better understand your website and how users navigate through it. You can then take this information and make educated decisions as to where to go next with your site.

If you have any comment or questions, please contact StatCounter member support by completing the form below.

Share this article

Understand your visitors with Statcounter

See why over 1,500,000 bloggers, web designers, marketing and SEO professionals and small business owners around the world use Statcounter to grow their business.

Learn More