As blogging evolves with every algorithmic change from Google, what clogs our mind is the only question that How important is keyword density in 2016. Does it matter anymore?
If the answer is yes, then what is the best keyword density percentage for your content. I am coming to the question that stares countless bloggers, marketers, SEOs in the eye. But before that, let me say that if keyword density matter at all.
Matt Cutts has maintained that density of keyword in no way influences your ranking in the SERPs of Google. It is obviously helpful when it is mentioned for the first time or repeated for the second time. But using it repeatedly in your content over and over again will not contribute to your rankings.
Rather, as per Matts’s version, You are likely to sound more like stuffing. And your search engine on discovering them will not spare any opportunities of penalising you.
Then why the heck all in the blogging fraternity are under the perception that one needs to maintain a certain percentage of keyword density to ensure top ranking.
Then what is that ideal keyword density level for your content. Matts while delving this question, asked is it 0.7, 0.77 or 7.7%?. His answer was – There is no set of percentage that will help you rank. Google don’t work that way.
He literally shattered the myth that keyword density is essential for ranking, as widely shared amongst the webmasters.
Matt Cutts wants us to understand that we can influence ranking with mentioning a keyword once or twice. From my personal experience, I have seen some of my posts ranking for the keywords I have never targeted. They were used once or twice in the post without any intention of ranking. And that gives credence to what Matt has to say with regards to repeatedly using specific keywords for manipulating ranking.
Why then experts advise us to place keywords in the title, URL, H1, H2, body content, in the first 100 words and at the end. These are keyword placements. Don’t mix up between placement and density.
KEYWORD PLACEMENT VS KEYWORD DENSITY
When I am talking about keyword placement, don’t misinterpret it with keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is interpreted as more than required keyword frequency. Keyword placement is the placing of a keyword in different locations of your content (as shown below) which are frequented by Google bots. This will send proper signals to Google as to keyword you want to rank for.
Any authority or guru will suggest you to go for these keywords placements:-
(i) Target keyword must be in the title (H1 Tag)preferably in the beginning.
(ii) It must be in the URL.
(iii) You should scatter the keyword in the body content with more weightage in the first 100 words.
(iv) You can include them in H2, H3(not mandatory).
(v) You should include them in the last paragraph preferably in the last sentence.
(vi) You need to keep yourself at a certain keyword density percentage which aligns with the natural requirement. Don’t go beyond that.
(vii) You should also use them in the Alt Text for images.
Keyword placements do contribute to keyword density. Of all the above locations mentioned here, it is the body content that contributes most towards the density.
But over usage of keywords beyond the natural requirement is a mistake on the part of the webmasters and must be strictly avoided. Keyword density or frequency has nothing to do with ranking.
Gone are those days of 1990s or early 2000 when you could get away by tricking Google with a heap of specific keywords. This is because Google has changed its algorithm from time to time to fight against these black hat SEO methods.
HOW IMPORTANT IS KEYWORD DENSITY IN TODAY’S CONTEXT?
While following the above keyword density tips, you should keep the density level at a certain percentage.
But, remember you are following the above suggestions not for ensuring your rank in the SERPS. Strategic placements of keywords together with some LSI keywords(Synonyms) will make google understand precisely what your content relates to. For example, if you are writing a post on “plum cake recipes”.
You cannot write the content without mentioning the word “plum cake recipes”. You have to include this keyword a few times and maintain a healthy mixture of synonyms in your content. Google bots on parsing the content will realise the subject matter. And while responding to search queries, it will accordingly respond to them through its result pages.
WHAT IS THE BEST KEYWORD DENSITY?
Keyword research is the foundation of content writing. Without ascertaining the demand of keywords, you cannot write a content. An optimum density of keyword will work great for your content.
Opinions on the best keyword density practice vary as there is no such Official guidelines from Googles and other search engine majors. Most versions presented usually originate from personal experiences. Or what users feel is the best for them.
Even Matts has agreed to this point.
However, I will quote practices that are usually recommended across the blogosphere:-
(i) Authority site Yoast.com prefers a keyword density percentage of 0.6 to 2.5%.
(ii) Some consider a maximum keyword density percentage of 1.5% along with some LSI keywords.
(iii) However, Jayson DeMers while writing for Forbes says in his post that he prefers using the keyword only once in the body content. He suggests his readers use them in the beginning and at the end of your content along with some good combination of LSI keywords. Now, that totally takes the percentage of keyword density well below 0.6%.
Post Google algorithmic updates, Keyword Density has lost its relevance.
GOOGLE HAS EVOLVED. IT HAS LONG CHANGED ITS WAYS OF PARSING QUERIES. ALGORITHMIC CHANGES BROUGHT ABOUT OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS HAVE CHANGED THE WAYS OF content writing.
Now Google no longer parses the search queries word by word. It parses the whole search phrases instead. This has increased the demand of long tail keywords. The most important point relating to using long tail keywords in your content is that you can’t use them frequently like short tail keywords. A little bit of over doing will sound like keyword stuffing.
So that sort of density which results in stuffing does not matter at all to webmasters.
Parsing of the whole search phrase :- Google is using its meaning technology to understand the content. Therefore, it is advisable to use LSI keywords also instead of targeting any specific keyword throughout your post.
We can deduce from the above why and how important is keyword density today? Your inclination should be towards writing quality content without keeping keyword density in mind. Keyword is important but keyword density is not. We often find people saying write for your audience and not for the search engines. Writing for the search engines is synonymous with sticking to a certain keyword density limit. But Search Engines have matured over time and no longer work that way.
Do you have something to include? I guess I have not missed anything important. Please share to make this piece of article valuable.