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    The Optimal Keyword Density Rate for Inbound Marketing SEO

    Keyword density rate, sometimes referred to as keyword saturation rate, is the percentage of the number of times a specific word or phrase appears within a piece of online content divided by the aggregate number of words on the page. As an example, if your piece of content is 200 words and you use the target keyword two times, the keyword saturation rate is 2%. While there isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach, there are key ways to optimize your keyword density rate for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.

    The Ideal Keyword Saturation Rate

    Keyword saturation rate is important as it communicates to Google and other search engines the frequency at which specific target keywords and phrases are used within content. If the target keyword is used too frequently, Google will penalize the content for oversaturation. However, if it’s used infrequently, it will be difficult for the search engine to pick up on the content and rank it accordingly.

    In general, the optimal keyword frequency is between 0.5% and 1.5%.  However, if you search the web, you will find some supposed SEO experts arguing the optimal rate is upwards of 2.5%. Before publishing any piece of content, run it through a web-based keyword density calculator to gauge its keyword saturation rate. As long as the rate is between 0.5% and 2.5% you can proceed with publishing it, feeling completely comfortable that the search engines will recognize your content and rank it highly. This way, when people search for the keywords or key phrases you are targeting, they will find your content in the first couple pages of the search engines and click through to those pages as well as other pages on your website.

    When in Doubt, Insert Keywords Where They Fit Naturally

    The last thing you want is for your online content not to be ranked by search engines or ranked way down, well beyond the initial page or two of the search engine results pages (SERPs). If your content has a keyword saturation rate less than 0.5%, there is a chance Google will not recognize its importance and utility. Frequency is one of the more important signals search engines rely on when determining site rankings. While you don’t want your content to have a low saturation rate, it is important to ensure that you have a purposeful strategy behind your keyword usage. To do so, make sure that you aren’t trying to force keywords where they don’t fit naturally in a sentence. For optimal utilization, include your target keywords in your headlines and sub-headlines to emphasize their importance to Google.

    Gather Information and Background Through Research

    To gain a better understanding of how you can optimize your content, search your targeted keywords to see what your competitors are doing to rank higher. For example, are they placing certain keywords in titles? What are they including in their meta descriptions? You might also observe similar words and phrases they’ve used within their webpage’s body copy to see if there’s anything else you may want to leverage on the topic. It’s also important to understand what’s ranking in the SERPs, while paying close attention to the density and volume of each word or long-tail phrase.

    Keyword Density Tools

    You can check your content’s keyword density rate with several check tools.  As an example, the ADDMe tool makes it easy to create a keyword saturation report. You can even save the resulting report as a .csv file if desired. Some prefer SEO plugins used with WordPress. As an example, Yoast SEO displays the keyword and key phrase density rate within the section for post editing. This tool details whether the density of the targeted keyword is optimal or used in excess. The tool even considers the aggregate number of words on the page and suggests alterations based on the word count.

    Resist the Temptation to Keyword Stuff

    Keyword stuffing is the overuse of keywords and key phrases with the goal of ranking as highly as possible in the SERPS for the words/phrases in question. In short, it is a mistake to publish content to the web with a keyword saturation rate in excess of 3%. Such an elevated keyword density rate will result in Google and other search engines penalizing your content for keyword stuffing, causing it to be removed from the rankings or not ranked at all. Not only do you want to negatively affect your ranking, but you also want to ensure that your content isn’t suffering from overly used keywords. Ultimately, you have to keep in mind that while keywords can help drive people to your site, quality content is what will keep them coming back for more. That’s why it’s crucial to provide your audience with messaging that feels natural and offers true value.

    Test Your Results and Adjust Accordingly

    Lastly, you’ll want to make sure you test your results and continue to adjust your content as needed. Check your keyword rankings and your targeted keywords to see how you might be able to further optimize your page. However, it is important to remember that while keyword density is an important factor in ranking, it isn’t the only factor in ranking. If you’re interested in learning more about a holistic approach to fully optimizing your web pages, reach out to us and we’ll walk you through your options in achieving your SEO goals!

    About The Author

    Elton Mayfield

    Elton's career spans media, production, digital and building industry expertise. His diverse experience makes him nimble, innovative, and curious – always pushing the envelope to create extraordinary work that delivers real results for our clients.

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