Keyword Density De-Mystified

Question: Jere – I have the stable datum that keyword density should be around 3-4% of the page content for best optimization. More is bad apparently for Google and less isn’t as effective. Any thoughts?

Answer: Good question. That’s not a bad stable datum, but in practice I’ve seen keyword density on a high-ranking page at Google range from 0.01% to 10%.

This page on my site about optin email listsusually ranks at #1 for “optin email lists” at Google.

I have no idea what the keyword density is on that page (I’ve never checked), but I can tell you it’s probably pretty high, despite having many thousands of words of text on that page. I use “optin email lists” and
variants of that phrase everywhere I can on the page, wherever they make sense. However, it doesn’t read as “spammy” and it isn’t “keyword stuffed”.

Basically, I never put any attention on keyword density. I just make sure that the keyword phrase on which I want to focus any given page is listed in these places:

1. Title tag of the page
2. Meta keywords tag of the page (99.99999% useless but I do it anyway)
3. Meta description tag on the page (not quite as useless but heading that way)
4. H2 heading tag on the page (still useful)
5. At least twice in the text on the page, once as an underlined link to another page, which links back to this page using the same underlined text (for double listings at Google). And make sure you have at least 250 words of text, other than menus, sitewide footers, headers, etc.
6. As the underlined link text from the human sitemap to this page.
7. In the title attribute of the links that point to this page.
8. In the alt text of any image that acts as a link to this page.
9. As underlined link text from other websites pointing to this page.

That’s fairly sure to get enough attention from Google concerning what this page is about to get a good ranking, without getting hosed for spamming, spamdexing, keyword stuffing, etc.

Good luck!

Jeré Matlock
Website Design & Marketing / SEO

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